Stories of People Like You
You’re part of the Vandal family. And now, meet people like you who have given a gift in their will, trust, or other accounts, creating their legacy of learning to sustain U of I for generations to come.
Click on the first letter of the donor’s last name to locate a specific story.
Howard Ahlskog Jr. ’68
Vandal Fan Makes a Million Dollar Impact
Howard Ahlskog Jr. ’68 loved the University of Idaho. He was a dedicated fan and supporter of Vandal Athletics throughout his life.
HOWARD AHLSKOG JR. ’68 — Vandal Fan Makes a Million Dollar Impact
Howard Ahlskog Jr. ’68 loved the University of Idaho. He was a dedicated fan and supporter of Vandal Athletics throughout his life and, in a final act of generosity, left the majority of his estate in a $1.2M bequest gift to the University of Idaho Foundation.
Howard Jr. grew up in a household that supported Vandal Athletics. Howard’s parents, Howard Sr. ’38 and Lillian ’30, attended the U of I where Howard Sr. played football for the Vandals. After graduating, Howard Sr. went on to become the president of the Vandal Boosters Club in Boise. As a boy, Howard Jr. often sat in the stands, cheering for the Vandals with his father. After Howard Sr. passed away.
After Howard Jr. graduated from the University, he and Sally moved to New England where he maintained strong ties to the university. In fact, it would be hard to find a more enthusiastic Vandal fan. He watched the Vandals play football on ESPN whenever possible. He even loved receiving phone calls from Vandal Connect student callers — visiting and hearing about student life. If he didn’t hear from a Vandal Connect caller, he would contact the university and request that a student call him so he could make his annual donation. He felt that athletics were particularly important to the university, and that U of I should be competitive in all sports — not just football and basketball. “Winning programs help attract quality students,” he once said, “who, in turn, will excel not only in athletics but also academics.”
As demonstrated by the Ahlskogs’ careers and choices in philanthropy, serving and investing in others were priorities. Howard Jr. devoted his career to education, teaching English and reading to high school students and Sally enjoyed a long career as a registered nurse. Howard Jr. and his stepmother, Mildred, established a memorial scholarship in Forestry in his honor. Howard also established a scholarship at Greenfield Community College in Massachusetts in his memory of his late wife, Sally.
Consistent with their priorities, Howard established a lasting legacy to invest in student-athletes at the U of I. The university is honored to include Howard E. and Sally J. Ahlskog, Jr. in the 1889 Society with their names preserved on the recognition wall in the historic Administration Building.
Howard Jr., like his parents, was a true Vandal fan who made it his lifelong goal to “invest in the Vandals and the future.” Sally and Howard Ahlskog Jr. were remarkable individuals, whose caring for others and belief in Vandal education will continue to impact and enrich the lives of our student-athletes for generations to come.
Annie Averitt ’00
Why I Chose to Give
Being immersed in a supportive campus community, Annie Averitt received much more from her experience at the U of I than she ever thought possible.
ANNIE AVERITT ’00 — It’s About Passion, Not About Age
There are many wonderful causes in the world—deserving and important causes. But when I think back to my own college experience at the University of Idaho, I get excited about the opportunity to support another Vandal’s education in ways that are most meaningful to me.
Perhaps like many of you, when I came to Moscow to attend U of I I was a little shy, a bit scared, and very excited for new beginnings. What I received at U of I was much more than I ever thought possible. I will never forget the feeling of being supported by the whole community. The relationships I forged through my experience in student government, as a Tri-Delt and when I was able to study for a semester in Chile are among the most important in my life today.
So many of us U of I graduates can instantly recall a professor, staff member or classmate who helped shape us into the people we are today.
In recognition and gratitude for those who influenced me, I have included the U of I in my estate plans, knowing that it’s an investment in solving issues and transforming the lives of others in the future.
The process is easy, and not reserved for those who are close to retirement. You can make a significant contribution today without giving right now. For example, by listing the University of Idaho as a beneficiary for either a set amount or a percentage of your estate in your will or living trust, or on a retirement account or life insurance policy, you have made a life-changing gift to the department or program of your choice.
For more information on this and other ways to give, please contact Sharon Morgan at (866) 671-7041 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
With Vandal Pride,
Annie Averitt, ’00, Public Communication
PS: Working with the University, you decide what is important for your support and can specify that program, department, scholarship fund, or any other purpose in your estate plan. It may not cost you a penny and it is easier than you may think.
Larry Baxter ’66
Remembering Others With a Gift to U of I
Larry Baxter is giving back to U of I with gifts that honor two special individuals in his life: his father and a former classmate.
LARRY BAXTER ’66 — Remembering Others With a Gift to U of I
The 50 years that have passed since my University of Idaho experience have shown me the value of my time there over and over again. I was able to acquire an education and a direction for my future life while expanding my horizons and gaining lifelong relationships. How does one repay the benefits provided by the University and the citizens of the state of Idaho? While pondering this question I was able to meet and discuss with staff of the University possible ways to pay back some of the benefits given to me many years ago.
Shortly after returning from my overseas service in the early 1970s, I invested in some property near Cascade. As fate would have it, I was not able to take advantage of the land, but my wife and I kept it as our own little piece of Idaho. After our discussions with the University I decided that by making it a gift I could repay my school for the benefits it gave me and at the same time honor two very special individuals—my own late father, Lawrence H. Baxter, and First Lieutenant Kay Kimura, USMC, a close friend and classmate from Nampa Senior High School who lost his life in Viet Nam. Both of these Idaho citizens contributed their hopes and efforts to the state and in their own ways made possible my University of Idaho experience. If my gift to the University can keep alive their memories and provide assistance to coming generations of students who seek their own University of Idaho experiences, I will have repaid some small portion of the U of I’s gift to me.
To learn more about making a gift of real estate, or making a gift in honor or memory of someone, contact Clark Hyvonen, at (866) 671-7041 or email@example.com.
Mindy Belt ’85
Inspired to Give Back
Communications alumna Mindy Belt ’85 believes that a well-rounded education is the key to a successful career.
MINDY BELT ’85 — Inspired to Give Back
Communications alumna Mindy Belt ’85 believes that a well-rounded education is the key to a successful career. She attributes her success to a number of factors, including internships, college scholarships and support from University of Idaho faculty and staff she received while on campus.
“Throughout my years at Idaho, the instructors and campus employees always made the students feel welcome, respected and cared about,” Mindy says. “They were accessible and willing to help the students meet their goals. I think there are instructors like that everywhere; but at the U of I, they were the norm, rather than the exception.”
Mindy’s college career would not have been complete if it weren’t for her Kappa Alpha Theta sorority sisters. Her involvement in U of I’s Greek system provided her with a campus community, but also options to explore a wide range of interests and creative pursuits that have served her well throughout her working years.
“My career took a very interesting path, from Public TV to Cable TV, to office management, while pursuing writing, layout and photography on the side,” Mindy says. “I essentially ‘fell’ into healthcare marketing when I moved to the Philadelphia area, and was fortunate to be able to grow and build on my post-graduate technical writing and design education.”
The College of Letters Arts and Social sciences provided Mindy with internship opportunities that led to her successful career in television, by providing her with an authentic working experience that developed her diverse set of skills. She also became a paid staff member with KUID TV.
“As communication students, we were able to work side-by-side with our classmates on live and post-produced TV shows, including Vandal sports events, theatre and dance productions,” she says. “That experience allowed us to ‘dip our toes’ in the real working world, and gain the kind of experience that made U of I graduates stand out in the job market.
Mindy has chosen give back to U of I because of the many opportunities, through scholarships and other programs, she earned in order to complete her degree and attain a successful career. Through a beneficiary designation on her retirement plan, she will contribute to financial aid for U of I women who need additional support in order to attend college.
“I am so fortunate to be in a position now where I could help others in some small way to live the ‘Idaho experience’ and gain a rich education in the process,” she says.
Tom and Carrie Bitterwolf ’98
Leaving a Legacy at University of Idaho
When I came to the University of Idaho 26 years ago, I had no inkling of the extent to which this university, my colleagues and my students would change me.
TOM AND CARRIE BITTERWOLF ’98 — Leaving a Legacy at University of Idaho
By: Tom and Carrie Bitterwolf
When I came to the University of Idaho 26 years ago, I had no inkling of the extent to which this university, my colleagues and my students would change me. My personal roots have sunk deep into this campus, just as the roots of the red oak tree students planted for me are burrowing deep into the Idaho soil. My wife, Carrie, and I realized we had joined a family at U of I, united by how much we care about our students.
We also realized that to achieve their dreams, students often need our help. Everyday, we see examples of students struggling to earn enough money to attend college. Many of our students are first-generation college students. These students, and others, need our support.
The Difference a Gift Can Make
Every gift benefitting the University of Idaho counts toward helping the people and programs of our university. Consider joining us and more than 500 other members in the Heritage Society.
By including the University of Idaho in your estate plans, you join a group of cherished friends and supporters of the University of Idaho helping to expand opportunities to students and staff.
Carrie and I feel passionately about many U of I programs, including theater, the arboretum and my beloved honors program. These programs enrich students and the community alike.
Investing a Legacy
When our daughters were young, Carrie and I saw to it that our modest estate would ensure their education and provide a small nest egg for their future. Now, we’ve shifted the emphasis of our estate planning toward the education of our grandchildren, as well as the children of others-deserving people we will never meet.
Our estate plans include real estate and any residual funds in retirement or other pre-tax savings. If you have talked with an estate planner, you are aware of the enormous bite taxes can take out of your savings. We would rather see the dollars we worked hard to save show up in support of campus programs we cherish.
How to Make a Plan
Whether you are in your 20s or 80s, estate planning is important to protect your loved ones and to make provisions for causes and programs you cherish.
Carrie and I have a wonderful relationship with the university’s Office of Estate, Trust and Gift Planning. We urge you to contact Sharon Morgan at (866) 671-7041 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The office will not push you into making a decision, but will walk you through the process, suggest strategies, and ensure that your wishes are clearly defined.
Very best wishes from the both of us,
Tom and Carrie Bitterwolf
PS: When working with the university, you decide what is important for you to support and can specify the program, department, scholarship fund, or any other purpose in your estate plan. It may not cost you a penny and it is easier than you may think. Visit the Office of Estate, Trust and Gift Planning online for more information on planned giving.
Roy Bowman ’63
A Charitable Gift Annuity to U of I
For Roy Bowman, 1963 was a good year. After spending five years working in a lumber camp and two years at Boise Junior College, Roy came to the University of Idaho to finish his education.
ROY BOWMAN ’63 — A Charitable Gift Annuity to U of I
For Roy Bowman, 1963 was a good year. After spending five years working in a lumber camp and two years at Boise Junior College, Roy came to the University of Idaho to finish his education. He had a great run — joined Kappa Sigma fraternity, ran for ASUI vice president, sang and toured with the renowned Vandaleers and received the Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. In ’63 he earned his degree in elementary education. He went on to teach school in California for the next 28 years, and was named Teacher of the Year while at a Sunnyvale school.
Roy was encouraged to attend U of I by two constituents: Chief Forester Gordon Greenway (B.S. forest products, ’38) and associate professor of education Herbert J. Vent. As Roy says, “Both indicated the U of I’s program would go far beyond a mere complex ‘rehash’ of junior college methods courses.” Roy feels unquestionably that was so.
In selecting a school, Roy says, “I basically had three choices: BSU, U of I and Stanford [where he earned a master’s degree]. After visiting all of them, the University of Idaho seemed like going back home. Easy decision.”
A frugal and savvy investor, Roy acquired rental properties over his working years, mostly in the Boise, Idaho, area — near his boyhood home of Emmett, Idaho. By the time he retired and returned to Emmett, most of these properties were paid off. Roy parlayed his holdings into ever better investments and ultimately started selling them. From the proceeds he created and funded the Roy A. Bowman Jr. Charitable Gift Annuity.
The charitable gift annuity gave Roy a sizable income tax deduction, plus it provides him a quarterly payment and lets him make a meaningful gift to his alma mater. Upon his passing, the annuity’s remainder will fund a scholarship endowment.
On Roy Bowman’s career path, helping young people succeed was more important than making lots of money.
“I think of my own experiences into the new world of professional adventure,” he says. “I did it — now I can help others do it.”
John Burlison ’76
The Vernon Burlison Memorial Fund Impacts Diversity at U of I
John Burlison ’76 established the Vernon Burlison Memorial Fund in 1997 in memory of his late father, Vernon Burlison ’43, a professor emeritus in the College of Natural Resources.
JOHN BURLISON ’76 — The Vernon Burlison Memorial Fund Impacts Diversity at U of I
Human and social justice issues — diversity, empowerment, access to education, peace — matter to John Burlison ’76, just as they mattered to his late father, Vernon Burlison ’43.
John established the Vernon Burlison Memorial Fund in 1997 in memory of his father, a professor emeritus in the College of Natural Resources. Through scholarships and educational programming, this fund gives critical support to underrepresented communities at the University of Idaho, including ethnic, racial, gender, religious and sexuality minorities.
“These resources are dedicated to making a difference in education and broaden understanding by bringing diverse and controversial ideas to the campus community,” John said.
For 2017, John decided to more than double his annual contribution, as well as give a substantial “current use gift” this year, which significantly increases his funds available to support key resources.
“John’s vision and support make a permanent difference for the LGBTQA community,” said Julie Keleher, coordinator for U of I’s LGBTQA Office.
John received his bachelor’s degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Media in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, and had a successful career with Hewlett-Packard and IBM.
John often returns to campus to speak at LGBTQA graduation ceremonies in order to provide guidance, confidence and education to the graduating class.
“I always wanted to help educate and build bridges for the next generation,” he said.
Support from funds like the Vernon Burlison Memorial also help cover costs for LGBTQA programming, scholarships and leadership conferences.
“LGBTQA opportunities would be limited if not for John’s support,” Keleher said.
Bob Costi ’73
Bob Costi ’73 never takes a vacation from recruiting future Vandals. In fact, Costi recruits while on vacation.
Bob Costi ’73 never takes a vacation from recruiting future Vandals. In fact, Costi recruits while on vacation. Whether he’s touring vineyards in Spain or driving along the Oregon coastline, he always takes the time to stop at high schools and businesses to encourage students to visit the University of Idaho campus.
A Ph.D. recipient, Costi has “been in love with the U of I since high school.” During a time when few colleges offered international business degrees, the faculty went out of its way to provide a unique doctoral international business program for him that blended history, political science and business courses.
“U of I is like a utopia,” he said. “Other schools I visited were cold and unfriendly, but U of I was welcoming and beautiful.”
Now a retired director of business administration and international business professor from Eastern Oregon University and a former president of Oregon Coast Community College, Costi joined colleagues Brian Hill and Karleen Mays as U of I recruiting volunteers in his hometown of Portland, Ore. The three of them divided the Portland region into three areas and identified high schools and community colleges to visit. For about five years it was an active, organized student recruiting system primarily developed for volunteers. The system generated a tremendous amount of student interest.
“The kids from the bigger city don’t know much about the University of Idaho,” he said. “When I show them photos of our beautiful campus and tell them about our great colleges and programs, their faces light up.”
With a beach home in Rockaway Beach, Ore., Costi and his wife, Betsy, are regular coastal visitors.
“Many of the students whom I meet live in small rural communities,” he said. “When we visit the coast, I like to schedule appointments with nearby high schools and community colleges.”
After telling students about the rural program opportunities, land management and animal science programs, these students become very interested. With few universities visiting them, they “were all ears” when Costi spoke.
Costi’s friends call him the “bridge recruiter” because, as president of Oregon Coast Community College, he sometimes recruited homeless students camped under bridges in Oregon coastal communities.
In starting a new community college in Lincoln County, Ore., Costi said it was critical he identify potential students. Two unique groups he became aware of were high school dropouts and runaways. They would oftentimes congregate under highway bridges.
Costi said just taking the time to speak with these young people and show them that higher education is possible was enough to turn their lives around. As enrollment grew, these college offerings became some of the institution’s mainstays.
As a U of I volunteer recruiter, he applied that same determination to encouraged students to make a trip to Moscow. Once here, he said, he knew many of them would be “sold on it” like he was.
“If you just talk to these kids, they will listen,” he said. “I love hearing their stories and sharing mine. I show them that U of I offers more than just green grass; it creates this indescribable passion to pursue an education and better your life.”
Today, the prospective student interest in the Portland metropolitan area has increased substantially, requiring greater exposure for U of I. Now, in addition to Bob and the other volunteers, full-time Vandal recruiters visit the high schools and community colleges.
In addition to his volunteer work and regular gifts to U of I, the Costis’ will provides for the creation of the Robert and Betsy Costi Scholarship Endowment to attract students from Oregon and Washington to attend Idaho’s oldest public university.
“The University of Idaho still excites me today as much as it did in the late 1960s,” Costi said. “I am grateful to the university for opening doors for me and am blessed to give back. Higher education is extraordinary, and no one should take it for granted.”
Mary Jean Craig
CALS, Retired 4-H Extension Educator
Mary Jean Craig worked as an extension educator for the University of Idaho 4-H Cooperative Extension System for 23 years.
MARY JEAN CRAIG — CALS, Retired 4-H Extension Educator
Mary Jean Craig worked as an extension educator for the University of Idaho 4-H Cooperative Extension System for 23 years. It was her personal involvement with the 4-H program as a youth that sparked her interest in pursuing a career with the extension system.
Like many faculty and staff at U of I, Mary Jean sees first-hand the opportunities, and inspiration received by both student and teacher in academics.
“I have seen lives changed through 4-H, one of the programs supported by the Cooperative Extension System,” she said.
A longtime donor to the 4-H Endowment Fund, Mary Jean decided to also include the fund in her estate plans.
“I would like to see opportunities for young people to gain a quality education, such as my son and daughter-in-law received at U of I,” she said.
Matt ’80 and Lori Espe ’81
Leading A Legacy
Supporting University of Idaho students, faculty, programs and facilities through private gifts is a solid investment in the investor’s philanthropic efforts, as well as the futures of those impacted, say alumni Matt and Lori Espe.
MATT ’80 AND LORI ESPE ’81 — Leading a Legacy
Supporting University of Idaho students, faculty, programs and facilities through private gifts is a solid investment in the investor’s philanthropic efforts, as well as the futures of those impacted, say alumni Matt and Lori Espe.
In addition to their annual gifts to their named faculty fellowship in the College of Business and Economics, the New Town Square, Penn. couple has included the University in their estate plan.
One of several reasons the alumni couple supports the U of I, and encourages others to do so, is to help students experience the transformative academic life the University offers.
“We donate to the College of Business and Economics, (CBE) because I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my experiences at CBE,” Matt said. “Years before I got there, people made investments from which I benefited. So as alums, it’s only right for us to make a similar investment in the future and to create opportunities for the young men and women coming after us.”
“Higher education is such a transformative time in one’s life-it’s when a child goes from being a child to being an adult when you are maturing and learning responsibilities. It’s very, very important that everyone has a good opportunity to have this experience.”
Matt Espe, ’80, graduated from the CBE with a degree in marketing. In July 2010, he was appointed president and CEO of Armstrong World Industries, a leader in interior and flooring products. Previously, Matt held leadership positions for General Electric for 22 years and has lived all over the world with his wife, the former Lori Limbaugh, ’81, a CBE accounting alumna, and their four children.
“I credit the University of Idaho with everything I am today. I was a late bloomer and whatever development occurred for me, occurred for me at Idaho. I learned the value of teamwork, trust and accountability. It was a defining period in my life, and I would not be where I am today without my experience at the University of Idaho-which is why I give my time and resources to the school.
Lori is a member of the board of directors of the University of Idaho Foundation, Inc., where she serves on the finance committee.
A native of Fruitland, Idaho, Lori currently serves as Board Chair for Summer Search Philadelphia, a nonprofit organization helping lowincome youth finish high school and college.
She says it concerns her that the percentage of Idaho high school students who continue toward higher education is relatively low.
“I’m hoping that the number of students attending college in Idaho will go up-that we, and others, through our support, can give that opportunity to more high school kids in Idaho, and they can transform their lives,” Lori said.
Jim and Dawn Fazio ’76
35 Years of Giving: A Legacy of Loyalty
It was October 1976 when Jim and Dawn Fazio made their first gift of $25 to the University of Idaho. Jim was a relatively new assistant professor in the College of Natural Resources (CNR) at the University of Idaho.
JIM AND DAWN FAZIO ’76 — 35 Years of Giving: A Legacy of Loyalty
It was October 1976 when Jim and Dawn Fazio made their first gift of $25 to the University of Idaho. Jim was a relatively new assistant professor in the College of Natural Resources (CNR) at the University of Idaho. Dawn was pursuing a teaching certificate to complement her Master’s degree and interest in environmental education. They had just purchased a home, were excited to explore and take advantage of the outdoor opportunities in the northwest, and recognized that Moscow was a great place to raise kids.
Now, almost 41 years (and 35 years of cumulative giving) later, Jim and Dawn continue their loyal support of the U of I, Vandal students, and Idaho education. Jim is now a professor emeritus in the College of Natural Resources and freelance writer for Arbor Day Foundation. Dawn is a local business owner and long-time chair of the Moscow school district’s Board of Trustees. Why do they give? “A person ought to be supportive of the institution that supported him and so many students over the years. Education is the foundation of a strong nation. A good education provides many good things,” Jim says. “But it’s also important to get a good education while keeping borrowing at an absolute minimum.” This sentiment motivates them to continue to champion a wide variety of university initiatives that support the student experience and defray cost—from the Douglas L. Gilbert Scholarship that supports conservation communication, to the Library Dean’s Excellence Renovation Fund that resulted in a group study room dedication in their name. They have also made an additional gift in their will to the Gilbert Scholarship, which makes them members of the Heritage Society.
Lynn Baird, dean of U of I libraries, states, “The Library deeply appreciates Jim and Dawn Fazio for their gift to our students, which greatly improved one of our popular group study rooms. This gift is just one example of the many ways the Fazios give back to their community. They model grateful citizenship in many ways and we can all learn from their leadership.” Jim has always felt a connection to the U of I library, a critical hub for academic and professional growth, throughout his 35-year tenure as faculty. “Before the days of internet, the library never let me down. As I wrote three books, hundreds of articles, and sent countless students there for their own research, the library staff was always so helpful.”
Jim and Dawn are guided by and taught their own children the importance of integrity. It translates into their passion and commitment for education and the environment. “I have had the opportunity to know Jim and Dawn Fazio for over 40 years,” says William (Bill) McLaughlin, professor emeritus and retired dean of CNR. Bill and Jim were graduate school peers at Colorado State University then colleagues at University of Idaho. “They are two of the most dedicated individuals to education and nature conservation I have had the privilege to know. Dawn has kept a focus on promoting quality primary and secondary education. Jim has proven himself in every aspect of higher education. He created a world-recognized program in Resource Recreation Management. Under his innovative leadership, the program blended the history and philosophy of conservation with the practical capacities of resource management. Jim and Dawn offer all of us a model of how to bridge the town and gown divide. As a couple, they operate several successful small businesses, and remain committed to making the university and our community a better place. In life, there are those special people who are constantly making a difference. Jim and Dawn do this in their quiet and unassuming way, which always involves thinking about the needs of others.”
Through their years of community service, work, travel, and family, Jim and Dawn always made the conscious choice of supporting the University of Idaho. Jim says, “It is a school that is small enough for faculty and staff to get to know the students, but large enough to have important amenities. It is a strong blend of small and large.”
“Jim and Dawn have contributed to bettering the lives of so many students and faculty in their 43-year association with the U of I,” says Nick Sanyal, colleague and professor in CNR. The University of Idaho is proud to honor their dedication and 35 years of cumulative giving through the Loyal Donor Program.
Bud Ford ’79
Inspiring the Future
Longtime supporters of the Vandal Athletics programs, Bud and June Ford, are inspired to help the University and its future.
David Giese — Faculty
Master Sculptor and Collagist
David Giese, retiring art professor with the College of Art and Architecture, is known for his unique artistry in sculpting and collaging and for helping to bring the Mardi Gras celebration to downtown Moscow.
DAVID GIESE — Faculty — Master Sculptor and Collagist
David Giese, retiring art professor with the College of Art and Architecture, is known for his unique artistry in sculpting and collaging and for helping to bring the Mardi Gras celebration to downtown Moscow. Now after 36 years of teaching at the University of Idaho, Giese and alumni are creating a named endowed fellowship in honor of his time here and his retirement.
A master sculptor and collagist, whose style is internationally-famous and chronicled in the work and catalog, “Plunder of the Past, Excavations from La Villa Bitricci,” Giese says his experience at the University of Idaho also has benefited his craft.
“When you’re in an educational situation, you’re here to help students develop their own voice,” says Giese. “Education, especially in the studio, is a process in which you learn by doing.” Giese came to the University of Idaho in 1977 as the then-department of art and architecture’s professor for foundation design.
“A lot of students felt their experience with me, especially when I was teaching foundations, was very valuable and that it wasn’t a course; it was design boot camp, and it was hard,” says Giese. “They came away with a real great skill set. The ability to think about something in relations to content-versus just technique-is extremely important.”
Giese incorporates the need for critical thinking and problem-solving skills in his curriculum through an interdisciplinary approach to prepare students for today’s workplace.
“The foundation of the College of Art and Architecture is based on the fact that regardless of a students’ major in the college, be it fine art, landscape design, interior design or architecture, they will learn to solve problems visually,” says Giese.
“The reality of the workplace is interdisciplinary and students, if they hope to succeed, regardless of what they do, are going to have to deal with the dialogue of people from different backgrounds-especially in the fields represented by the College of Art and Architecture.”
As a retirement gift to the university, Giese has created an endowed fellowship that will carry his legacy of interdisciplinary study within the college. The fellowship will support the costs to bring visiting artists or designers to campus for several weeks at a time to work with a class or teach a workshop. The only criteria for use of these endowed funds are that each visiting artist’s or designer’s work must be interdisciplinary by nature.
“The fellowship will be a vehicle to aid students and faculty to have a pulse on what is really happening,” says Giese. “And through the evolution of this fellowship, it will be tapping resources of not just historical but very contemporary issues.” View more stories or visit the College of Art and Architecture’s website.
Tim and Joan Gutzwiller ’91
Is the University of Idaho in YOUR Family?
Students find their way to the University of Idaho by various routes. My first stint at U of I was via the National Student Exchange from Illinois State University.
TIM AND JOAN GUTZWILLER ’91 — Is the University of Idaho in YOUR Family?
By: Tim Gutzwiller ’91
Students find their way to the University of Idaho by various routes. My first stint at U of I was via the National Student Exchange from Illinois State University. I fell in love with the down-to-earth beauty of the Palouse, the unique character of the campus and the academic opportunities.
After receiving my undergraduate degree and working a full-time job in restaurant management, I returned to U of I more mature, in my early 30s, married, and with a small child.
When I graduated in 1961, we moved to Portland, Oregon, where I worked for a German-owned manufacturer of silicon wafers. Today we live in Boise, where I work in production planning for an international dairy firm. Life has been good for our family, and we feel the education I received at U of I opened many doors for us.
When asked if we are both Vandals, my wife Joan says that she is, by virtue of working to put me through school. Our son, Mark, also considers himself to be a Vandal, having lived on campus as a toddler, and attending Vandal programs and athletic events after we moved from Moscow.
One way that I have chosen to pay forward the educational opportunity that I was fortunate to have was to volunteer on the College of Business and Economics Advisory Board. Also, like many other Vandals, Joan and I have included the University of Idaho in our will.
Pay it Forward
Including the University of Idaho in your estate plans is easy to do. Contact Sharon Morgan at (866) 671-7041 or email@example.com. Her team will walk you through the process, suggest strategies and ensure that your wishes are clearly defined. Giving to U of I through your estate plan is easier than you may think.
Hard Work: An Engineer’s Story
Titus Hansen isn’t afraid to work hard.
TITUS HANSEN — Hard Work: An Engineer’s Story
Titus Hansen isn’t afraid to work hard. He arrives at school at 6 a.m., takes careful notes in his classes, eats a quick dinner and then starts his on-campus janitor shift at 5 p.m. For the next eight hours, he shampoos carpets in the Bruce M. Pitman Center, sweeps floors, takes out the trash and drives home to Lewiston at 1 a.m. — sometimes during a snowstorm.
“Taking my little, beat-up car 35 miles an hour down the highway in the winter can be scary,” he said. “But having the opportunity to study at the University of Idaho is worth it.”
Hansen, a senior mechanical engineering student, has struggled to fund his education. Since moving out of the house at age 16, he has always balanced an education with a full-time job. He wanted to get out of a downward financial spiral, but didn’t know how — until he took an engineering class at Lewis-Clark State College.
“I was tired of boring jobs; I knew I wanted to be an engineer,” Hansen said. “I realized the only way to accomplish that was to get a bachelor’s degree at U of I.”
With little money, Hansen transferred to U of I in 2016 and took on a full-time custodial position. Working nearly nine hours every night, he was still struggling to afford his education. His luck changed when an engineering professor bumped into him during his nightly janitor shift and encouraged him to apply for a newly established scholarship, the Schellenger Scholarship in Engineering.
”We were just two average kids from homes of modest incomes who met and fell in love while attending the university,” Rick Schellenger said. “We both worked multiple jobs all four years and were able to complete our degrees without borrowing.”
Thanks to the scholarship, Hansen had some extra money to take a robotics class. That led him to join a team of students working to develop technology to assist stroke victims. With help from College of Engineering faculty members, their work will be published in an international engineering journal. The student team was also invited to present their findings at an assistive technology conference in Italy, an accomplishment Hansen credits to the Schellengers.
Hansen was the first recipient of the $10,000 per year scholarship, created for students who, due to financial need, might not be able to finish a bachelor’s degree without assistance. He immediately sent a thank you letter and was excited to learn that both Linda and Rick Schellenger worked hard to afford college, just as he was doing.
“Without this scholarship, I wouldn’t be in school today,” he said. “The Schellengers’ contribution let me join clubs and extracurriculars I didn’t think of participating in before. Because of them, I was able to spend more time on my research. Because of them, I can go to Italy.”
Hansen keeps in contact with the Schellengers and plans to invite them to his graduation. He is excited to make networking connections abroad and further his research to help those with disabilities. After graduation, Hansen would like to meet the next Schellenger Scholarship recipient and one day create a scholarship of his own.
Although the Schellengers have made provision in their will for the Schellenger Scholarship and for future teachers at U of I, Rick Schellenger is quick to say, “We think it important that people not underestimate the value of giving what they can, when they can, and while they are still alive. A legacy doesn’t necessarily have to start at one’s death.”
Lucille Pederson Hardgrove, 95
1941 Alumna Keeps Physically and Fiscally Fit
Dr. Lucille Pederson Hardgrove, 95, goes to the gym every day to keep physically fit. And—to keep fiscally fit—she uses appreciated stock to make her annual gift to the University of Idaho.
LUCILLE PEDERSON HARDGROVE, 95 — 1941 Alumna Keeps Physically and Fiscally Fit
Dr. Lucille Pederson Hardgrove, 95, goes to the gym every day to keep physically fit. And—to keep fiscally fit—she uses appreciated stock to make her annual gift to the University of Idaho.
A resident of Michigan, Lucille makes every effort to exercise regularly. On a visit to her brother in Roanoke, Virginia, last summer, Lucille was caught on camera at the gym.
Lucille also makes wise choices when it comes to keeping fiscally fit. She makes her annual gift to U of I with appreciated stock. Her gift to U of I allows her to take an income tax deduction for the full value of the stock and eliminate any tax she might owe on the capital gain.
This year, Lucille’s gift went to the Jerard M. Pederson Scholarship Endowment in the College of Engineering in memory of her late husband, Jerry (’42 Civil Engineering). Because Jerry was a GE retiree, Lucille’s gift is matched by the GE Foundation, thereby doubling the impact for engineering students at the University.
Another wise fiscal move!
Improve Your Fiscal Fitness With by Supporting U of I
If you would like to plan a gift that creates more opportunities for students and improves your fiscal fitness, contact Sharon Morgan at (866) 671-7041 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to answer your questions and help you find a gift that matches your goals.
Brian Hill ’65 and Gayle Hill
Undergraduate Research Leads Alumni to Success and Gratitude
Whether it’s a special professor or an academic course or degree, we all have touch points that map our path.
BRIAN HILL ’65 AND GAYLE HILL — Undergraduate Research Leads Alumni to Success and Gratitude
Many factors can influence a college student’s career path. Whether it’s a special professor or an academic course or degree, we all have touch points that map our path.
One significant touch point on the career path for Brian Hill ’65 was the undergraduate research he performed as a student in the University of Idaho’s College of Science under the mentorship of Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Jean’ne Shreeve. Shreeve has designed rocket fuels, experimented with most reactive element on Earth and taught hundreds of students during her 58 years with the University of Idaho Department of Chemistry.
“For my undergraduate research thesis project, I combined known compounds with unknown compounds to form new compounds,” Hill said. “These new compounds had the potential to be used in rocket fuels and other high energy needs. Some of this work was supported in part by a National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research grant, and it took several years to complete. By the time I had finished the project, I had the confidence to continue on to graduate school.”
After receiving his Ph.D. at Montana State University, Hill went on to work for 3M Company in its Central Research Laboratory Inorganic and Physics Group.
“Because I wanted to do new and interesting things, I spent the next 20 or so years working on and managing new product development and product commercialization,” he said. In his last role with 3M, Hill had the technical responsibly for Scotch® Tape and Post-it® products, as well as new product development for the commercial office market.
Hill’s experience with U of I undergraduate research not only enabled him to earn a Ph.D. that prepared him for his desired career, but it also influenced the way he gives back.
“As I began to realize how important undergraduate research experience was to the success my wife Gayle and I have had,” Hill said, “we decided that we would start a giving program to support undergraduate research.”
The result was the Brian and Gayle Hill Undergraduate Research Fellowship, which provides financial assistance to students in the College of Science to support their research projects.
“Gayle and I have increased our investment, which has expanded the fellowship from four to eight students,” Hill said. Hill Fellows receive support for 18 months and must choose a professor to work with. Every spring, Hill Fellows present their research findings to the Hills and the university community. “It’s the highlight of our year. Their enthusiasm and plans for further education is inspiring,” Hill said.
The Hills are also active participants in the U of I alumni community. Brian helped establish an active alumni chapter in Portland, Ore. He also started an alumni group in Minnesota, which led to his role on the U of I Alumni Association board of directors as vice president in 2003 and president from 2004 to 2005, where he worked on programs specific to student recruiting.
Gayle studied zoology at U of I for three years before completing her bachelor’s degree at Montana State University. Utilizing her undergraduate research experience and after she had completed her bachelor’s degree, she worked as a laboratory assistant at Montana State University while Brian attended graduate school.
Given their affinity for U of I, it made sense to the Hills to make a gift to the university in their wills, also. By giving back in this way, they will continue to provide financial support to students engaging in undergraduate research long after they are gone.
“This is our way to continue supporting a very important experience,” Hill said. “It’s my wish that all U of I students will have the option to perform undergraduate research.”
As it did for the Hills, undergraduate research can provide touch points that influence a student’s path to success — whether that’s graduate school or entering the workforce.
“We believe that the knowledge one learns in class is necessary to do research, but that having the confidence and thrill to apply the knowledge to new situations can only be learned by doing research,” Hill said. “Gayle and I support undergraduate research to give students the opportunity to try new things and to be successful in those endeavors.”
Joy Irving ’64
The Joy of Giving
No one experiences the joy of giving back to her alma mater quite like Joy Irving ’64. A native of Moscow, Idaho, and a first generation college student, Joy received much love and support from her parents.
JOY IRVING ’64 — The Joy of Giving
No one experiences the joy of giving back to her alma mater quite like Joy Irving ’64. A native of Moscow, Idaho, and a first generation college student, Joy received much love and support from her parents. They encouraged her to attend the University of Idaho and earn a bachelor’s degree in home economics, what is now called family and consumer sciences. She is now passing on that support by donating to U of I scholarships to aid students on their journey through higher education.
“While attending U of I, I learned how to plan my time and how to organize my days,” Joy says. “The lessons I learned in class taught me to organize a kitchen and prepare employees—I can’t tell you how many times that knowledge helped me down the road.”
Joy and her late husband George started giving back to U of I because George felt strongly about supporting students in chemical engineering. He wanted to help others by providing them scholarship support, as he too was once a chemical engineering student on scholarship.
“The education that my husband earned at the University of Idaho enabled him to have a very successful career,” she says. “I want to help other young people receive an education that will continue to launch successful careers.”
Joy has committed to an additional $20,000 to cover the funding for graduate students in chemical engineering for 2016. Beyond the gifts Joy makes each year, she has provided for a gift in her will to continue her support for graduate and undergraduate scholarships in chemical engineering, graduate scholarships in food and nutrition, and internships in U of I Extension. In this way, Joy will continue to help U of I students forever while maintaining her financial security now.
“It is becoming ever more important for U of I alumni to assist in scholarship aid, and for the university to encourage students to apply for grants that can help provide the kind of quality education my husband and I received here.”
Leave Your Lasting Legacy at U of I
Larry ’55 and Kaye Knight ’55
Their Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT)
Like so many U of I graduates, Dr. Lawrence L. “Larry” Knight and Kathryn A. “Kaye” Laven met their future spouse while students here.
LARRY ’55 AND KAYE KNIGHT ’55 — Their Charitable Remainder Trust
Like so many University of Idaho graduates, Dr. Lawrence L. “Larry” Knight and Kathryn A. “Kaye” Laven met their future spouse while students here. The 1955 graduates still have fond memories of U of I icons like Boyd Martin, Donald Gustafson, J. Irving Jolley and Ruben Thielke.
Larry’s undergraduate experiences reinforced his intention to go to medical school. Kaye put her education degree to work teaching while Larry attended the University of Washington Medical School. After Larry’s specialty training in Colorado and Oklahoma, the pair settled in Boise, where Larry was in practice for 47 years. Even though he attended other schools, “we had no doubt about pledging our loyalty to our ‘real’ alma mater, the University of Idaho,” Larry says.
In keeping with that pledge, in 1992 the couple created the Kathryn and Lawrence Knight Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT). Such a trust has several unique features that make it an ideal combination of life income plan and charitable gift:
- It’s a form of investment, in that the Knights will receive an income from the trust for as long as either is living;
- The payout rate was negotiated at the outset (at least 5 percent, per IRS code), and is based on the annual valuation of the underlying investment;
- The Knights got an income tax deduction when the trust was set up;
- They can add to it, which the Knights have done over the years;
- When Larry and Kaye are both gone, the remainder will go to the programs they’ve designated at U of I.
The gift has also helped teach and instill a sense of philanthropy in the Knights’ five children.
In addition to the CRT, Larry and Kaye have established and generously funded the Kathryn and Lawrence Knight STEM Faculty Fellowship, and this endowment will be the beneficiary of the trust remainder.
As for the future of the University and the state itself, the Knights say, “We want to see U of I capitalize on its long-term reputation – that of a university with solid academic, research and outreach functions. The ‘living and learning’ aspects of the University should be emphasized, along with its extensive satellite outreach activities.”
Gene Luntey ’43
It All Started at U of I
I could not have had a better career or personal life, and it all started at the University of Idaho, Gene Luntey ‘43 said.
GENE LUNTEY ’43 — It All Started at U of I
Gene Luntey ’43 chemical engineering, and his wife, Beverly Weber Luntey ’45, journalism, experienced understandable culture shock when they moved to Brooklyn, New York, population 2.5 million, in 1947. A long way from Buhl, Idaho, population 2,500, where he was born and raised, Gene had accepted a position as a junior engineer at the Brooklyn Union Gas Company in New York City, never dreaming that he would one day command the huge company as president and chairman. Beverly was personal secretary to Mrs. William S. Paley and wrote for the Spokane, Washington, newspaper about life in New York. They raised one son. “I could not have had a better career or personal life, and it all started at the University of Idaho,” Gene said. In 2018, Gene honored Beverly and the U of I by making a gift in his will for the College of Engineering and the School of Journalism and Mass Media.
For more information about making a gift in your will to the University of Idaho, contact Sharon Morgan, email@example.com or toll-free at 866-671- 7041. Read more about Gene’s incredible life story.
Linda Marler ’75
Sowing More Than Wheat
Growing up in Caldwell, Idaho, Linda Marler ’75 was encouraged by her family to pursue a college degree.
LINDA MARLER ’75 — Supporting Future Idaho Leaders
Growing up in Caldwell, Idaho, Linda Marler ’75 was encouraged by her family to pursue a college degree. Now retired from her career in education, Linda, who lives in Colfax, Washington, with her husband, Martin, is working to give back to the University of Idaho with a focus on current and future Idaho college students who need financial support.
“We hope to enable capable students to attend U of I and graduate with little to no debt,” Linda says. “My wish is that students experience learning, make lifelong friendships and retain practical experiences.”
Linda had to work throughout college to pay for her education. She understands how her U of I degree in home economics education, now family and consumer sciences, gave her the opportunities to have a successful career. She attributes her success in part to her time at the university and the work ethic instilled in her from a young age.
“My parents were a great inspiration for my education and taught us proper work ethics and habits,” she says. “My great-aunt, Cornelia Holmes, was a teacher and a librarian. She was a great inspiration to all of her nephews and great-nieces and nephews. My husband and daughter also inspire me to continue to be productive and active in retirement.”
The Marlers’ philanthropic efforts during retirement are important to Idaho students and to the state. Linda often shares with others about how opportunities to fund a charitable gift annuity at U of I are an investment in student lives and futures.
“The income we get back from the annuity gives us security toward our retirement,” she says. “But we also want to honor my parents, and we know how much more expensive college is now, so the solution is to endow scholarships in our parents’ honor with these gifts, hence making it that much more affordable for others to study at U of I.” Linda and Martin also have made a gift to U of I in their wills.
The Marlers would like to see U of I expand enrollment and offer more opportunities to Idaho residents and students from other states and countries. Through their encouragement and support, they are able to give in hopes of a better tomorrow.
“The size of the gift does not matter,” Linda says. “Small gifts from many gather to make larger gifts.”
Give a Gift That Pays You Back
Learn how you can follow in Linda and Martin’s footsteps and give a gift that provides you—and future U of I students—a more secure tomorrow. Contact Sharon Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (866) 671-7041 to learn more.
Dayal Meshri ’68
Living Examples of Idaho Inspiration
When he was 11, Dayal Meshri and his family were among the 25 million people displaced when British India broke into the separate countries of India and Pakistan in 1947.
DAYAL MESHRI ’68 — Living Examples of Idaho Inspiration
When he was 11, Dayal Meshri and his family were among the 25 million people displaced when British India broke into the separate countries of India and Pakistan in 1947.
Resettling along religious lines, the family, like countless others, left behind everything they owned. They arrived in India with just the clothes on their backs. To help keep the family afloat, he and his brother made up individual packets of laundry soap, which they sold door-to-door by bicycle.
Today, Meshri is president and CEO of one of the world’s largest specialty chemical production companies, which he founded in 1987 in Catoosa, OK. He credits his success to the University of Idaho, where he earned a doctorate in chemistry thanks to a scholarship.
“If I didn’t have that scholarship, maybe I would have been a hawker selling things on the streets of India,” he says.
Fortunately, his scholarship to Idaho helped launch his career as one of the world’s foremost fluorine chemists.
“A scholarship can be the first brick in the foundation of someone’s life,” says Meshri, affectionately called “Doc” by his employees and friends.
“Scholarship funding is essential. A university builds your character and your future. Education is thinking power. And thinking brings creativity. Creativity brings new technologies. Scholarships provide a better life to the younger generation and as donors, we also enjoy knowing that we played a part in that,” he says.
A long-time supporter of the university and College of Science, Meshri has also established a scholarship endowment, with preference given to a female student, in honor of his late, beloved wife, Indurani, a geochemist.
In his early years, his donations were modest – as was his income, he says, but adds that small gifts by many add up to new futures when pooled.
“We inspire others as living examples.” he says.
Dr. Jo Anne O’Donnell ’61
The Vandal Fight Song Legacy
She doesn’t remember exactly how old her father was when his song became the official University of Idaho fight song.
DR. JO ANNE O’DONNELL — The Vandal Fight Song Legacy
Moscow, Idaho native and retired Arizona State University Dean of Students, Jo Anne O’Donnell ’61 said that she doesn’t remember exactly how old her father was when his song became the official University of Idaho fight song. But as a musician with a love for music, J. M. “Morey” O’Donnell ’36 wrote the fight song for a contest during his freshman year and it became the favorite among Vandals.
“I don’t know who got him to do it, but I do know that Bing Crosby introduced another song at some point,” O’Donnell said. “Dad and I liked Bing Crosby, but out of all the possible songs about U of I, the people preferred to stick with ‘Go Vandals, Go!'”
As a child, O’Donnell attended jazz concerts at the Memorial Gymnasium with her father. As a student, she was a member of the Delta Gamma sorority where she made many lifelong friends. She even participated in sporting events as a cheerleader and cheered to the tune of her father’s song.
“When I was a freshman in college, the university invited Dad to play the fight song during a basketball game at half time, which he did, but he played it on the piano,” she said. “It was always something special to me, particularly because as a cheerleader I was able to do my little dance routine to my dad’s song.”
O’Donnell decided to give her estate gift to the University of Idaho Foundation, where she designated 75 percent of her total gift to be applied to the J. Morey and Virginia “Sammy” O’Donnell Family Scholarship Endowment, a scholarship that directly benefits students in the Lionel Hampton School of Music. The remaining 25 percent of her estate gift will be applied to the Vandaleer Endowment Fund, which funds the operations of the choir, the purchase of music and support for an annual tour.
“I debated on whether to give to the Law school, because Dad actually graduated from law school at Idaho, or give to music,” she said. “Since Dad’s legacy is really tied more to his music and the fact that he played so many times for so many different U of I events—that’s really his lasting legacy. It just made sense to choose the School of Music.”
O’Donnell made a portion of her estate gift to the Vandaleers because her father had friends who were Vandaleers with whom he recorded the fight song and because she herself was a Vandaleer.
“I just think U of I is a wise investment,” she said. “If someone had a good experience at U of I, they should definitely consider how they could make that experience possible for other students who are coming up. Idaho is a choice. I think it’s worth it, but students need all the help they can get to stay in school and graduate.”
Rich ’71 and Marion ’78 Patterson
The Vandal Family That Gives
When Rich Patterson ’71 got on a plane from Newark, New Jersey, with a final destination in Moscow, Idaho, to study fishery biology, he had no idea what he was in for.
RICH AND MARION PATTERSON — The Vandal Family That Gives
When Rich Patterson ’71 got on a plane from Newark, New Jersey, with a final destination in Moscow, Idaho, to study fishery biology, he had no idea what he was in for. Now, 46 years later, Rich and his wife, Marion, ’78 have raised their two children Nancy Patterson ’06, ’09, and Daniel Patterson, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, while staying connected to the university, making annual gifts and putting U of I in their estate plan.
“Our means are modest,” Rich and Marion said. We would love to give the university millions of dollars, but we can’t. We have a favorite quote by Edward Everett Hall, ‘I am only one, but I am one. I can’t do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.‘ The endowed fund we created at the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation is what we can do. It will generate an annual cash stream to help Idaho students forever, and we’re proud of that.”
“We are strong believers in education,” they continued. “Helping future students who may be struggling financially warms our hearts.”
As the executive director for a privately-funded nature center for 39 years, Rich understands the need for alumni who give back to their alma mater.
“Generous donors supported my salary, family and organization,” Rich said. I believe strongly in giving back.”
Rich and Marion have fond memories of their time at U of I and have a strong desire to see U of I students succeed.
“I learned so much,” Rich said. “It was in the late 60’s and I was in the ROTC and that was always a stressful time, but I always learned both in traditional and non-traditional ways.”
“I attended U of I as a graduate student in the College of Education and it was comfortable right away,” Marion said. “U of I had engaging faculty and the Moscow campus is truly beautiful. Dr. James Fazio told me that I piloted environmental education at U of I by combining classes in physical education and natural resources. I was on campus just one semester and then wrote my thesis from Kansas. U of I proved to be flexible; Dr. Cal Latham was outstanding in this!”
The Pattersons agree that their time at U of I was transformational and their transition from East Coast living to the Pacific Northwest was seamless. Rich recalls, “I had never been to Idaho, never met anyone from Idaho and didn’t know anything about the U of I. But within a couple of days I met people who continue to be lifelong friends.”
“It’s somewhat of a cliché, but our experience at Idaho was inspiring and motivating,” Rich and Marion agree. “We hope this never stops happening for current students.”
Ron Perez ’56
Transformative Experience for ’50s Alumnus
For Ron Perez, attending the University of Idaho in the ’50s proved to be a transformational experience in his life.
RON PEREZ ’56 — Transformative Experience for ’50s Alumnus
For Ron Perez, attending the University of Idaho in the ’50s proved to be a transformational experience in his life. It was at U of I that top-flight professors mentored him; he bonded with classmates and his fraternity brothers; and, through the network of the Vandal family, landed a job with a company he would stay with for his entire career.
The 1956 forest, rangeland and fire science graduate came to U of I following a few semesters at a university in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio. The curriculum offered at U of I, as well as the Pacific Northwest location, was appealing to the Midwesterner.
Upon arriving in Moscow, he knew immediately he had made the right decision.
“I could see the mountains, hear the whitewater and smell the forests,” he said of his bus ride to Moscow. “When I walked through the front door of the SAE house, I found total acceptance and friendship.”
While working as a forest ranger fighting a fire in the Clearwater Natural Forest, Perez suffered a traumatic injury that changed his academic decisions. No longer interested in a career as a ranger, and through the guidance of professors, he changed his area of emphasis to wood technology. It was this change that eventually led him to a job with Weyerhaeuser Company, where he worked in the forest products industry for 41 years.
His career path took the young alumnus away from Idaho, but a fondness for his alma mater remained. Ron and his wife, Catherine attended his 40th class reunion in Moscow in 1996, and Ron has served as the New York City representative for the alumni association’s chapter.
“I have enormous gratitude to the University of Idaho for the hands-on teaching, training and support I received during my undergraduate time in Moscow,” he said.
His gratitude for U of I is reflected not only in his service to the university, but also through the financial support he has committed to its future. Ron and Catherine are members of the university’s Heritage Society; donors who have made a commitment to the university in their estate plan. Sadly, Ron Perez has passed away, but his kindness will live on through the students who will be helped by the Perezes’ legacy gift.
Including the University of Idaho in your estate plans is easy to do. Contact Sharon Morgan at (866) 671-7041 or email@example.com. You can also visit https://myuidaholegacy.org/. Her team will walk you through the process, suggest strategies and ensure that your wishes are clearly defined. Giving to U of I through your estate plan is easier than you may think.
Nick ’62 and Sharon Purdy
The Purdy family legacy predates Idaho’s statehood. Leonard N. “Bud” Purdy’s grandparents, who raised Bud and his siblings, homesteaded in what is now Picabo, Idaho, in 1883, six years before Idaho became the Union’s 43rd state.
NICK ’62 AND SHARON PURDY — Land Donors
The Purdy family legacy predates Idaho’s statehood. Leonard N. “Bud” Purdy’s grandparents, who raised Bud and his siblings, homesteaded in what is now Picabo, Idaho, in 1883, six years before Idaho became the Union’s 43rd state. Bud, 95 years old in January 2013, still works the ranch every day. Nick Purdy, Bud’s son and his wife, Sharon, oversee myriad family enterprises, including a cattle and farming operation on some 42,000 acres of deeded, leased and BLM land, real-estate development projects, and several retail, manufacturing and machinery enterprises in their hometown and in Boise.
Nick has used his 1962 agricultural engineering degree from the University of Idaho throughout his career in designing and building projects, and all three of the couple’s sons are involved in the various Purdy enterprises. Of his U of I education, Nick says, “My engineering courses in hydraulics and fluids and structures led me to start a business in sprinkler irrigation that is still operating, and also led me to start IBM computer stores in Sun Valley and Boise that I later sold.” He also met and married Sharon and started their family while a U of I student.
In 2000, the Purdys created and began funding the Nick and Sharon Purdy Agricultural Engineering Endowment at U of I, and have continued adding to it over the years. The endowment provides scholarships to deserving ag engineering students. In 2008, the Purdys’ family- owned corporation, Picabo Livestock Co. Inc., gave the University some valuable building sites and received a charitable income tax deduction.
The Purdys are confident that the U of I Foundation will hold the land to maximize the value of the gift for the University. That’s always the Foundation’s goal; while a quick turnover may be ideal, a “fire sale” to liquidate an asset is not always the best course.
Although the Purdys have been generous to U of I in a variety of ways, Nick quips, “We are land rich and cash poor, as are many people in ranching and farming.” They see this gift as a way to extend their philanthropy.
Ginger Rankin ’06
A Theater of Opportunity
Ginger Rankin ’06 provides opportunities for minority college students through an estate plan that supports the Ginger Minor Rankin Scholarship Endowment.
GINGER RANKIN ’06 — A Theater of Opportunity
While earning her Master of Fine Arts degree in theatre arts, Ginger Rankin ’06 was inspired to provide opportunities for Native American students to attend the University of Idaho. Now she and her husband, Dave Rankin ’06, are putting that inspiration into action with a scholarship endowment benefitting Native Americans and other minority students.
“While working on my MFA, a group of theatre students and I decided to bring Native American middle school and high school students from Coeur d’Alene to Moscow for a U of I campus tour,” Rankin said. “This was the inspiration for my starting the scholarship, to provide encouragement for Native Americans and other minorities to attend U of I.”
The Rankins met at Westminster College in Pennsylvania and were married in 1959. Two weeks later, the couple moved to Moscow; Dave had received a scholarship to study political science at U of I. Ginger taught fifth grade in what is now the 1912 Center. The Rankins left U of I in 1962, pursuing opportunities throughout the U.S., Grenada and New Zealand. They retired in Moscow in 1999. In her early 60s at the time, Ginger entered the MFA program in the Department of Theatre Arts in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences.
“I had been a teacher for many years, and suddenly I found myself writing plays and seeing some of them performed,” she said. “My work in the theatre department opened up the opportunity for me to work in the Coeur d’Alene and Nez Perce communities, where I conducted playwriting workshops for young people.”
In 2013, the Rankins included U of I in their estate plan, which will benefit the Ginger Minor Rankin Scholarship Endowment. This perpetual endowment fund provides scholarships for Native American students who might not otherwise be able to attend the university.
“Between the two of us, Dave and I have attended seven universities as full-time students. We both wanted to include U of I as part of our legacy,” she said. “We understand that education is a human right. No one should be denied the joy and the advantages that higher education brings.
“Our hope is to let the young people know that we believe in them.”
Article by Joshua Nishimoto, University Advancement
Bob and Marcia Ross, ’71
Rooted in Vandal Country, Growing the Future
“My education from U of I taught me to solve problems. I wouldn’t trade that education for anything.”
BOB AND MARCIA ROSS, 71 — Rooted in Vandal Country, Growing the Future
There are many benefits of being in the Vandal family. For many, it’s the relationships forged on campus that last a lifetime. For others, it’s the support and encouragement of a global community. Still others enjoy the many opportunities to explore and discover their passions. For Bob ’71 and Marcia ’71 Ross, it’s all of those — and more.
Bob’s connection with the University of Idaho started early on. His parents,
Richard H. Ross, Extension Dairy Specialist Emeritus, and Mary Jean moved to Moscow in the 1950s and were active in student affairs. They co-founded the Idaho Chapter of the Farmhouse Fraternity, opening their doors to homesick agricultural students.
“I remember some of the Farmhouse kids living in our basement and watching Bonanza with them,” Bob said. “And although Mom wasn’t their designated cook, she was probably the first housemother for the Farmhouse Fraternity. She had a degree in home economics from West Virginia University and we all took advantage of that.”
Also a fixture in the Ross house were family friends, many of whom were professors at the university. “Dad’s tenure at the university became part of our lives,” Bob said. “That’s the leading reason as to why I have such strong ties with U of I and why I chose to accept my full ride scholarship to play U of I basketball as a student-athlete.”
Bob played basketball under Varsity Coach Wayne Anderson for three years. Playing ball for U of I in Memorial Gymnasium was especially meaningful since he had dreamed of playing college basketball there since he was young boy.
“Although I loved playing basketball at the Memorial Gym, for the memories and the architecture of the building itself, I’m very excited about this new arena,” he said. So excited, in fact, that Bob and Marcia recently made a gift to the ICCU Arena from their Individual Retirement Account (IRA). “Being a contractor, I’m interested in architectural aspects of the building and I’m anxious to see it when it’s completed.”
Marcia and Bob met when she moved to Moscow from St. Maries in 1961. They both attended the Moscow Junior High School and had a lot of classes together. “Bob used to be the Moscow Junior High Spelling Bee Champion and in the finals of our eighth grade match, I beat the crap out of him,” Marcia said.
It was five years after that fateful spelling bee match that Bob and Marcia started dating during their senior year of high school. They married during their senior year at U of I.
Originally, Marcia started out as a pre-medical major, but switched her major to history after a year until she discovered a love for Latin, which she pursued wholeheartedly.
Like Marcia, Bob discovered his true passion after starting as an architecture major. He found he enjoyed the required math for his engineering classes so much that he changed his major to engineering.
Bob and Marcia both value the education they received at U of I, which helped them establish two successful careers. Marcia taught Latin in the Boise School District and spent several years in the banking industry before returning to the classroom to teach high school Latin in Boise. After graduation, Bob worked for Morrison Knudsen and went on to cofound the Falash and Ross Construction Company.
“My education from U of I taught me to solve problems, no matter what the problems were,” Bob said. “I wouldn’t trade that education for anything.”
Bob and Marcia also participated in U of I’s Greek system. Bob was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and Marcia was a member of the Tri Delta sorority.
“Our experience with the U of I Greek system was strong,” Bob said. “Marcia and I made life-long friends with good people, who are still doing well to this day. U of I Greek life is a unique experience that one can’t find anywhere else in Idaho.”
Driven by their eagerness to help other students attain the U of I education and experience they both cherish, Bob and Marcia have also included U of I in their estate plans, which will provide significant scholarship support to students with high financial need and give future Vandals all the benefits of the Vandal family.
“We love the idea of helping students in need,” Marcia said. “With our support, we hope to empower more students to attend U of I without their feeling the need to take out student loans.”
“We want to give students financial support,” Bob said, “especially those who might not pursue a university education without it.”
J.D. Rowell Scholarship Supports Global Agribusiness
The University of Idaho is proud to partner with loyal donors like J.D. Rowell to ensure a globally-based agricultural education is available to U of I students, both in the state of Idaho and abroad.
J.D. ROWELL — J.D. Rowell Scholarship Supports Global Agribusiness
The University of Idaho is proud to partner with loyal donors like J.D. Rowell to ensure a globally-based agricultural education is available to U of I students, both in the state of Idaho and abroad. Rowell attended U of I in the 1940s before transferring to Oregon State University to finish his undergraduate studies.
“I’m connected to the U of I through many persons.” Rowell said. “My father, mother, brother, sister, aunts, uncles and myself are among the many U of I alumni.”
Rowell has many fond memories of the university, but his fondest and most distinct memory was of U of I’s Hello Walk and Administration Building.
“People actually use the Hello Walk,” Rowell said. “I also remember the Administration Building, with its resemblance to the iconic Hampton Court Palace in England, as a unique feature of the U of I campus.”
When reflecting on his college experience, and his youth, he’s reminiscent about his father’s work ethic, the impact that had on Rowell and how it translated into his career, as well as philanthropic desires.
“My father was involved in agricultural marketing his entire life,” he said. “He was fortunate, at first, to be a partner in an apple packing business, and then had other jobs with Idaho and Oregon Departments of Agriculture. I was always interested in his work and figured he always found something interesting to do in his field, so I maybe would too.”
Rowell’s agricultural marketing career began with the Department of Agricultural at the Economics at the University of Arizona, Tucson. He helped with research and writing of publications to improve marketing of Arizona agricultural products. He received his second job with the U. S. ICA (International Cooperation Administration), in Brazil, but soon all ICA programs were eliminated and USAID (United States Agency for International Development) programs had begun. In light of the short one-year contracts USAID provided, Rowell returned to his job in Sacramento with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and worked primarily with California marketing orders.
“While seeing the potential for growth in my own job in Brazil, I looked around and noticed there were many other opportunities,” he said. “Everything is going more global these days; you have to keep up with it and get ahead of it by leading the industry.”
So, when Rowell found he could, he decided to support the J. D. Rowell Scholarship for International Studies with Agricultural Economics at U of I, for students eager to learn, and be a part of, the globalization of agricultural marketing.
The J.D. Rowell Scholarship for International Studies with Agricultural Economics, established with a gift from Rowell in 2013, supports University of Idaho students in the Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology Department. Rowell also has funded two charitable remainder trusts with the University of Idaho Foundation, Inc. that provide him income for life and then will augment his scholarship endowment.
Jack Hermann, an agribusiness major in the department, and the first recipient of the J.D. Rowell Scholarship, says his degree provides a global context to his field.
“The most fascinating part of agriculture is how quickly it is evolving,” Hermann said. “As a world we are becoming more concerned with sustainability and more environmentally conscious, both of which have helped steer agriculture in a new and cleaner direction. I would love to help develop that aspect of farming even faster.”
Thanks to the generosity of donors like Rowell, U of I students are having transformative educational experiences and preparing to be leaders in their respective fields in a global capacity.
Gary ’66 and Carolyn Strong
Why We Chose to Invest in U of I’s Future
Graduating from the University of Idaho in 1966, graduate school and my career path took me away from Idaho.
GARY ’66 AND CAROLYN STRONG — Why We Chose to Invest in U of I’s Future
Graduating from the University of Idaho in 1966, graduate school and my career path took me away from Idaho. But the experience at this university grounded me, and my roots grew deep over the years.
Carolyn and I returned to Moscow every summer, and in the 1980s, we bought a place where we’d eventually retire, in July of last year. On those summer trips, a drive through campus was always a must, along with stories to our children of my time there. In addition to my classes, I worked in the university library, which provided me the foundation for my career. They were good years.
As Carolyn and I reflected on where we might invest in the future, the university was always a part of that plan. Of course, we made provisions for our children and grandchildren, but I recalled the scholarship support and the work at the library and how it provided me the means to finish my degree. I wanted to invest in that future for others.
Coming from the small town of Potlatch, Idaho, I remember the challenge of being able to go on to college. So we made provisions in our estate to support a scholarship in perpetuity, as well as provide an endowment for the library to continue to develop its collections and services. I was glad that we didn’t have to invest in just one of our interests.
But we didn’t stop with a bequest. We have made an annual commitment in the spirit of our bequests for both scholarships and for the university library. While we are living, we want to see where our investment will be going. I am pleased with how each of our interests is being handled. The university’s attention to our interests has been rewarding.
We have worked hard to save for our retirement and count on our good health as we age, so including the University of Idaho in our plans seemed natural. Now that we are back, we have enjoyed becoming more involved with the life of the campus. It is our small way to inspire the future.
For more information on this and other ways to give, please contact Sharon Morgan at (866) 671-7041 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Very best wishes from both of us,
Gary and Carolyn Strong
P.S. Working with the university, you decide what is important for your support and can specify that program, department, scholarship fund or any other purpose in your estate plan. It may not cost you a penny and it is easier than you may think.
Dennis ’70 and Debra ’73 Ujiiye
Reaping From the Past to Sow For the Future
Dennis Ujiiye ’70 and Debra Murata ’73 met at the University of Idaho in the fall of l969. Dennis was raised on a farm in Nampa, Idaho.
DENNIS ’70 AND DEBRA ’73 UJIIYE — Reaping From the Past to Sow For the Future
Dennis Ujiiye ‘70 and Debra Murata ’73 met at the University of Idaho in the fall of l969. Dennis was raised on a farm in Nampa, Idaho. Deb’s parents were sent to an internment camp during World War II. After the war, they farmed near Fruitland, Idaho. Dennis and Deb’s parents valued education, encouraging them to pursue a college degree.
Today Dennis farms the Murata land. Deb is retired from a career in special education. They raised a daughter and have a granddaughter. In 2014 they committed a portion of their estate to U of I to benefit the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Education.
The alumni couple, like so many, have fond memories of not only meeting their spouses while at college, but also of the opportunities their education provided them in their respective careers.
As a passionate educator, Deb spent 33 years in education helping students overcome learning obstacles.
“I learned as much from them as I probably taught… unconditional acceptance, perseverance, kindness that knows no barriers, the blessings of humor; teaching and learning that was always mutually beneficial,” she said.
Dennis was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and Alpha Zeta, while earning his degree in ag economics and business administration. As a student, he was a scholarship recipient who says financial support helped assist his academic goals while easing the burden of costs.
“Like making sure that our daughter and granddaughter are provided for, we view our support of U of I students, faculty, programs and facilities through our estate gift an investment — an investment that will pay great dividends twofold. Students will have the opportunity to learn, grow, and become better leaders who will subsequently use their knowledge, skills and talents to positively impact their communities, states, country and world,” Dennis said.
Shirley Wentz ’71
Longtime Treasure Valley Teacher Leaves Legacy at U of I With Scholarship Endowment to Support Future Educators
1,500 unsharpened standard No. 2 pencils laid end to end stretches just about 938 feet, or just over two and a half football fields.
SHIRLEY WENTZ ’71 — Longtime Treasure Valley Teacher Leaves Legacy at U of I With Scholarship Endowment to Support Future Educators
1,500 unsharpened standard No. 2 pencils laid end to end stretches just about 938 feet, or just over two and a half football fields.
1,500 pounds of tater tots – a standard of elementary school lunches every where – is about 70,200 tots, enough to feed more than 7,500 elementary school children.
1,500 one-inch three-ring binders (that’s 4,500 rings) can hold 262,500 sheets of homework, note paper and classtime doodles.
At the University of Idaho Foundation, 1,500 goes a bit further – that’s the number of fully funded endowments now supporting students, faculty, research and programs at Idaho’s land-grant institution.
That 1,500 amounts to more than $10.2 million in scholarship and program support distributed each year – and $165 million distributed since 1959. Like Shirley, many loyal Vandals choose to leave a gift to U of I in their will. As a result, an impressive 34% of endowment gifts come from estates.
The credit for that milestone number goes to the late Shirley A. (Williamson) Wentz – a lifelong Vandal supporter and dedicated educator – whose gift to the College of Education created the 1,500th endowment for U of I’s charitable giving organization.
Originally from Caldwell, Wentz earned her bachelor’s degree in education from U of I in 1971 and dedicated her career to educating young minds in the Mountain Home and Boise school districts as an elementary and kindergarten teacher.
“To have a teacher pay it forward to the next generation of teachers is very special,” said Joy Fisher, director of finance for the Foundation. “It’s gratifying to see that this alumna, who helped so many students during her career, will be remembered and continue to touch lives through education.”
Wentz’s devotion to her students went beyond their time in her classroom; parents and former students often kept in touch with her over the years. She had a reputation for teaching with energy, love and excitement, and encouraged many student teachers in her classroom.
Wentz passed away in Caldwell in May 2015 at age 66.
“Shirley had a smile that was contagious, and the most incredible blue eyes, which would sparkle whenever she spoke of her children, family, friends and students,” her family wrote in her obituary. Wentz was married to Bill Wentz for 21 years and the couple had two children, Brian and Amy, and seven grandchildren.
Wentz created a permanent legacy of her devotion to education with a $25,000 gift to the U of I Foundation to create the Shirley A. Wentz Education Scholarship Endowment. Her legacy supports future elementary education teachers from Ada and Canyon counties in Idaho. Her wish was to help future educators so they too might enjoy the rewards she received from introducing young readers to the power of books and reading.
“It is quite fitting that the 1,500th endowed scholarship would come from Shirley Wentz, lifelong educator and die-hard Vandal,” said Ali Carr-Chellman, dean of U of I’s College of Education. “We are so grateful for the help that Shirley’s endowed scholarship provides to our students in the College of Education.”
Wentz’s pride in U of I and love of the Vandals didn’t waver throughout her life, said her sister-in-law Susan Williamson. Shortly before she passed away, Wentz’s doctor asked her to say something to test her breathing, Williamson said. In pain and barely able to speak, she looked at the doctor and said “Go Vandals!”
Endowments like the one left by Wentz are invested over the long term to support students, faculty, research and university programs, Fisher said. With $300 million in total assets, the U of I Foundation is the largest of its kind in the state, and a top performer nationally in portfolio management for educational institutions
University of Idaho Students
Students Thank You Video
University of Idaho students thank those who support, inspire and make their futures possible through philanthropic gifts to scholarships and programs.
The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes include federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results.