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Late professor's legacy lives on through scholarship

May 30, 2019

The College of Idaho is built on the legacies of dedicated faculty and generous alumni who help fund scholarships. The late professor Franklin Specht taught history for over 30 years at The College of Idaho and his legacy is supporting many students.

“He was in many ways a bigger-than-life figure,” history professor Mee-Ae Kim recalled. “He was boisterous and brilliant. He was witty with a sharp sense of humor. Most of all, he loved teaching. For Frank, students came first. The history faculty works to model his commitment to students and teaching.”

A scholarship for history majors was established in his honor following his retirement in 1989. For years, the scholarship delivered two modest awards to history majors. Today, through the generous gift from his estate and continuing support from alumni, the Franklin Specht Scholarship is endowed at over $1 million. In 2018, the history department awarded over $30,000 to 18 students. This year, $60,000 was awarded to 26 history majors.

Declared history majors who have a minimum Grade Point Average of 3.0 can apply for the award. Successful applicants are expected to demonstrate intellectual breadth and curiosity, demonstrate resilience, and constructive self-reflection.

The Franklin Specht Scholarship has enhanced students’ academic experience at The College of Idaho. The scholarship is awarded on top of existing awards and students can apply the funds to both tuition and housing. For current student Jaden Dawson, the scholarship has allowed him to double major in history and exercise science.

Lindo Zondo was fortunate enough to be able to fund a summer off-campus course to Mexico with assistance from the Specht Scholarship.

“I am extremely excited for this trip as I have never been to Mexico before and am looking forward to the educational experience that I will receive there,” Zondo said.

Caroline Yannelli, a double major in history and health sciences, was also able to fund her trip to Mexico and feels more motivated and passionate toward her studies in history. For Kelton Deal, the scholarship has been dedicated toward paying for tuition and easing the financial burden from his family’s shoulders.

Many of this year’s recipients are planning to pursue postgraduate degrees and are planning careers ranging from academia and law, to business and public education.

The history department hopes to award a minimum of 20 scholarships every year.

The Franklin Specht Scholarship award winners for the 2019-20 academic year are: Jose Bayuga, Lydia Brown, Logan Buckley, KC Catey, Abigail Craig, Johnathon Crines, Jayden Dawson, Kelton Deal, Colten Ellson, Ian Jackson, Tim King, Ian Locke, Seth Machakos, Danner McGrath, Jared Moore, Brad Motyer, Hailey Palmer, Julia Phelps, Anupa Poudyal, Charles Rehdorf, Kenzie Sanchez, Benjamin Schamber, Lucas Schlake, Kaitlyn Verdin, Caroline Yannelli, and Lindo Zondo.

The College of Idaho has a 128-year-old legacy of excellence. The College 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 

Story submitted by Tallon Howie, C of I Marketing and Communications Intern