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College of Idaho receives $100,000 gift to establish Joe Golden Scholarship

December 14, 2018

George and Sondra Juetten have been proponents of the arts and higher education for decades. The pair has taken the passion they have for both students and the performing arts and generously gifted $100,000 to The College of Idaho to establish the Joe Golden Scholarship for students in theatre and music.

The Juettens have served on various boards throughout the Boise Valley, including Sondra on the board of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and George on the C of I Board of Trustees from 2005-2013. While Sondra served on the Shakespeare Festival board, they became aware of a popular cast-member who performed at the Greenshows prior to each night’s main performance, who was also a professor of theatre at The College of Idaho, Joe Golden.

George is a retired financial services executive who spent a good portion of his career at Washington Group International, now AECOM, and worked with current C of I Co-President Doug Brigham at WGI. Through the connections with Golden and Brigham, the Juettens discovered an avenue to make a direct impact on C of I students and the performing arts and generously decided to fund the Joe Golden Scholarship.

“We have always enjoyed Joe Golden’s performances at the Shakespeare Festival and in particular his work with Tom Willmorth as the Fool Squad,” the Juettens said, “so we wanted to put together a scholarship at The College of Idaho to honor Joe and his tremendous contributions to not only the College, but also the community.”

Golden has been a theatre professor in Caldwell since 1996 and teaches courses in acting, directing, stage combat and film studies. He says he is humbled to have a scholarship named for him and is also grateful for the assistance it will give his hard-working students.

“At the risk of overusing a popular phrase, this is a game-changer for these students who strive so hard and, in addition to their studies and rehearsals, often have to work outside the College in order to make their dreams happen,” he said. “It also helps to recognize the importance of the arts and culture and how it’s intertwined in everything that we do. It shows us the importance of being human.”

College of Idaho freshman Raydel Perez-Gonzalez plans to major in music and met the Juettens to thank them for their substantial gift to the College and his program. “I think they are great people,” Perez-Gonzalez said after spending time with them. Originally from Cuba, he shared about the differences between his former country and the U.S. “It was really fun telling them about my life, about where I’m from, and about how things are back there. They are going to help future students make their dreams come true. It’s just a great opportunity to be here.”

Sophomore C of I theatre student Lily Kennedy also met the Juettens during their recent campus visit. “I’m so grateful to the Juettens,” she said. “Their goodwill and sympathy toward those of us that can’t quite pull everything together on our own is so important, and I thank them every day for their willingness to help.”

“I’ve been involved with theatre for 10 years and art for even longer,” she added, “and they’re important to me not only because it’s what I love, but the joy it brings people. I think it’s important to spread joy with what you do, even if it’s just for the duration of a 90-minute play.”

For Golden, the scholarship is a celebration of a couple who know how the arts enrich humanity. “To have someone who recognizes the necessity and importance of the arts in our society, in our education systems, is just invaluable.”

The College of Idaho has a 127-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit