Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

Idaho State University

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit

$49 million

Total enrollment
15,553 (2009)

Arthur C. Vailas

1901, 116 years ago

Benny the Bengal

+1 208-282-0211

Black, Orange

Idaho State University

Former names
Idaho State College (1947–1963) UI—Southern Branch (1927–1947) Idaho Technical Institute (1915–1927) Academy of Idaho (1901–1915)

Latin: Veritas Vos Liberabit

Motto in English
"The truth will set you free"

921 S 8th Ave, Pocatello, ID 83209, USA

Undergraduate tuition and fees
Local tuition: 6,566 USD (2015), Domestic tuition: 19,326 USD (2015)

Notable alumni
Marvin Lewis, Jared Allen, Dirk Koetter, Merril Hoge, William Petersen

Boise State University, University of Idaho, Brigham Young University–Idaho, College of Southern Idaho, Lewis–Clark State College


The time of your life idaho state university

Idaho State University (ISU) is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research and teaching institution in the western United States, located in Pocatello, Idaho.


A public university founded 116 years ago in 1901 as the Academy of Idaho, ISU offers access to education in more than 280 programs at its main campus and at locations in Meridian, Idaho Falls, and Twin Falls. It is the state's designated lead institution in health professions and medical education.

There are 48 U.S. states and 59 countries represented at ISU and 285 programs, including Master's and Doctorate programs. The student-teacher ratio is 17:1, gender of students is 44 percent male, 56 percent female, and ISU has more than 160 clubs and organizations. Enrollment for the fall semester in 2012 stood at 14,209, including 12,143 undergraduate students and 2,066 graduate students.

Discover opportunity idaho state university


On March 11, 1901, Governor Frank W. Hunt signed Senate Bill 53, to establish the Academy of Idaho, contingent upon private land donations being made for its site. Theodore F. Turner, mayor of Pocatello, settled the issue (Battle of the Blocks) of the placement of the academy. The Academy of Idaho was officially opened in Pocatello on May 1, 19012. Theodore Swanson, a member of the board of trustees, secured the services of John W. Faris as the first administrator, with the title of principal. Classes officially began in September 1902. By 1910, enrollment had reached nearly 300 students, and the academy had purchased four additional city blocks in Pocatello to help meet its growing needs.

In 1915, the Academy of Idaho was renamed Idaho Technical Institute. The end of World War I brought an influx of students to the school, and enrollment surged to over 1,000. The early 1920s saw the beginning of competition in intercollegiate athletics. At this time the institute adopted the Bengal as the school mascot; head football coach Ralph Hutchinson (1920–27) was an alumnus of Princeton, a school with orange and black theme colors and a tiger mascot.

It was renamed again in 1927, this time as the University of Idaho—Southern Branch, and continued as a two-year school, overseen by an executive dean, John R. Nichols. During World War II, Idaho was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, which offered students a path to a Navy commission.

Nichols decided to leave the college, and named Carl McIntosh, an associate professor of speech, as acting executive dean in January 1947. That March, the school was elevated to four-year status and became Idaho State College. Nichols was so impressed with McIntosh's public speaking skills that he successfully persuaded the Board of Regents to appoint McIntosh the first president of the new college. At 32 years of age, he was one of the youngest college presidents in the United States. Although McIntosh was not originally interested in being an administrator, once the school became an independent college he decided he wanted to remain president and see it through its early growing pains. The college was accredited as a four-year degree granting institution in December 1948. Enrollment reached 2,000 in 1949. McIntosh left ISC in 1959 to become president of Long Beach State College, and was cucceeded by Donald E. Walker.

In 1963, ISC was renamed for the fifth and final time to Idaho State University, reflecting its new status as a full four-year public university. In the ensuing years, ISU continuously expanded both its enrollment and the programs it offered. The presidency of Richard Bowen, from 1985–2005, is particularly regarded as an era of growth: as of 2006, ISU had colleges in arts and sciences, business, education, engineering, health, pharmacy, and technology. However, Bowen resigned after a vote of no confidence from the faculty, who were angered by generous pay raises for administration members in the midst of calls for fiscal austerity.

Arthur Vailas, former vice chancellor of the University of Houston System and vice president of the University of Houston in Texas, became president of ISU on July 1, 2006. He succeeded Michael Gallagher, who had served as interim president since Bowen's retirement in 2005. In February 2011, the ISU faculty voted no confidence in Vailas and called for his resignation. This was also followed by a vote of no confidence by the students. Although Vailas faced mounting criticism and pressure from faculty and students to step down, he refused to resign and campus tension intensified, as the Idaho State Board of Education decided to suspend the university's faculty senate. As a result, in June 2011, the American Association of University Professors censured the ISU.

Points of interest

ISU, along with the Idaho National Laboratory and other Idaho universities, worked to establish the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in 2007. Renovation of the ESTEC building began in summer 2007, after the team of ISU's College of Technology, Idaho National Laboratory and Partners for Prosperity received grant funding totaling more than $2.5 million.

On January 18, 2011, The Carnegie Foundation announced its rankings of U.S. colleges and universities and ISU propelled to Research University-High standing. ISU is one of 98 institutions in the country belonging to this group. This classification is second only to the highest category Research University-Very High, with 108 universities holding this elite designation. Combined, these two research categories represent less than 5 percent of the nation's 4,663 institutions of higher education.

In fiscal year 2011, ISU underwent a reorganization designed to allow for better interdisciplinary research and collaboration. The School of Performing Arts allows students to collaborate, learn and perform at the next level. The Division of Health Sciences, which includes the College of Pharmacy, has reorganized to provide interdisciplinary education while serving the community today in ISU's clinics.

In 2011, ISU purchased the $3.6 million former Ballard Medical facility and The ISU Research and Innovation in Science and Engineering Complex (RISE) was created. Research includes a Crystal Growth Laboratory (it can grow giant crystals to support nuclear science and engineering programs), High Power Laser/Optics Laboratory, Imaging Laboratory and a Human Interactive Environment Simulation Laboratory.

In 2012 ISU Energy Systems Technology and Education Center (ESTEC) received top ranking for nuclear training and was labeled as a Regional Center of Excellence. ISU College of Technology's Energy Systems Technology and Education Center has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to provide scholarships for people to become nuclear operation technicians.

For four consecutive years ISU has been named one of the country's "Military Friendly Schools." The list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America's military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus. In 2012 ISU was again ranked one of the safest campuses in the nation, this time by Collegesafe website, which lists ISU as the fifth safest campus in the nation.

Programs of note

Established in 2011, the Career Path Internship (CPI) program provides students an opportunity to gain professional experience while in school. All CPI internships are paid positions that are aligned with the student's major or career goals. In 2016 the CPI program provided professional experience in approximately 1,000 internships both on and off campus. The CPI program has seen exceptional growth in past years with a 2016 budget estimated at $2.3 million.

ISU offers two doctoral level nursing programs after the Idaho State Board of Education approved a doctoral degree in advanced nursing practice, which will now give ISU two doctoral-level nursing programs. The first offered is a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in nursing beginning summer 2013 and the only one in the state.

ISU received top designation for nuclear training and was tagged Regional Center of Excellence. The Energy Systems Technology and Education Center (ESTEC) at the ISU College of Technology will soon be coordinating the nuclear energy education and training for technicians in a nine-state region. The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) has designated ESTEC as the Northwest Regional Center of Excellence for Nuclear Education and Training. The top designation includes the states of Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon, South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah, and Nebraska. ESTEC is one of five regional NEI-designated centers in the country.

ISU's new doctoral experimental psychology program, the only program of its type in Idaho, accepted its first three students fall 2011. The new experimental psychology doctoral program complements ISU's doctoral clinical psychology program, created in the early 1990s. Eventually, the experimental psychology program plans to accept six students annually. A new Idaho State University geosciences doctoral program is approved to begin in August 2013.

The Center for Sports Concussion at ISU, opened in 2009, is housed within the Department of Sport Science and Physical Education. The purpose of the Center for Sports Concussion is to offer educational outreach on concussion identification and management practices to athletic administrators, coaches, and parent groups throughout Idaho in accordance with Idaho law and demonstrated need, and to facilitate baseline and post-concussion neurocognitive testing to athletes participating in sports programs throughout eastern Idaho.

Economic developments

ISU had an increase of net assets of $14.7 million for fiscal year 2010 – its best financial record in the last six years – despite the national and local economic downturn that necessitated holdbacks from the state of Idaho the last two years. In April 2011, ISU released its economic impact study. The indirect and induced economic output from ISU operations, employee, student and visitor spending was about $312 million annually.

In 2012, Moody's assigned an A1 rating to ISU's $28.7 million of Series 2012 General Revenue Refunding Bonds and affirmed an A1 rating on outstanding revenue bonds. The A1 rating reflects the university's consistent operating performance, healthy balance sheet with expendable financial resources. In 2012 ISU saved $3.2 million by issuing tax-exempt bonds. Similar to a homeowner refinancing their home loan ISU refinanced some of its debt and has issued $27.5 million in Tax-Exempt, General Revenue Refunding Bonds in July 2013, a move that will save the university millions of dollars. The Series 2012 Bonds will result in a net present value savings to the university of approximately $3.2 million.


Idaho State University is ranked as a Research University-High institution by the Carnegie Foundation. ISU is one of 98 institutions in the nation belonging to this group and ISU now is amongst a set of universities that represent less than five percent of the nation's 4,663 institutions of higher education.

At the CORE, ISU faculty and students are performing research and scholarship that is leading to the mechanistic understanding of autism, the relationship between sleep and addictive behaviors, and incorporating research into evidence-based practice. In 2010 ISU obtained a new biochemistry laboratory and was finished in time for the fall 2011 semester.

In 2011, Idaho State University has moved up in an important ranking system school moved from Doctoral Research University to the category of Research University-High in rankings made by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

In 2012 ISU researchers in the Bearden Vascular Health Laboratory found clues on how to block the effects of a chemical in the brain that contributes to dementia and strokes. The fight against dementia is gaining ground at Idaho State University thanks to ongoing research that could one day change the way the disease is prevented.

In 2013 A team of Idaho State University researchers discovered that fish show autism-like gene expression after exposure to water containing psychoactive pharmaceuticals. This study was published in June in the open access journal PLoS ONE and was widely publicized nationally and internationally.


The ISU's Division of Health Sciences (DHS) houses the majority of health-related professional programs in Idaho. The DHS Family Medicine Residency Program is the only medical education program sponsored by an Idaho university.

Each year, the ISU Health Center receives about 10,000 visits from students. The center treats patients for all types of medical issues and consultation costs are lower in comparison to mainstream health services across the country.

In 2009 ISU opened a new campus in Meridian, Idaho that delivers health professional programs as an addition to Idaho's Project 60 economic development initiative. In 2011 the Delta Dental Clinic was opened at the ISU-Meridian Health Science Center to serve low-income patients and provide advanced training for dentists. The 52,000 square feet (4,800 m2) clinic consists of 17 clinical treatment rooms.

The ISU Meridian Health Science Center plans to open a new anatomy and physiology lab in 2014. The new lab, consisting of "state of the art" virtual applications, will allow students to work directly with the human body and its functions.


In 1998, Idaho State University received a gift of $10 million from Thelma E. Stephens. It was seed funding for the $34 million center that would bear the Stephens' names. Construction began June 10, 2002. The center's design and construction was funded primarily through the support of hundreds of private donors as part of the university's $152.5 million capital campaign to fund a variety of needs. In fall 2013, ISU began to offer a bachelor's degree in dance. The new major is the only one of its kind offered within Idaho's university system. With the new Bachelor of Arts degree in choreography and performance, ISU's School of Performing Arts now consists of majors in music, theatre and dance.

Student life

Student government is administered by the Associated Students of Idaho State University (ASISU). Each year a president and vice-president are elected by the student body to administer and oversee a variety of activities either partially or fully funded by tuition-based fees. The ASISU Senate is the association's legislative body. Made up of 20 student members elected by the students of each individual college (allocation of seats being based on enrollment of each college), the ASISU Senate is primarily responsible for allocating the ASISU budget.

The Student Activities Board, formerly the ASISU Program Board, oversees most of the student activity programming on campus. The board plans concerts, movie showings, homecoming activities, athletic-related events and other activities generally associated with student life.

Reed Gym features recreational facilities, including a climbing wall, swimming pool, tennis courts, and more. The Pond Student Union operates a movie theater, billiard room, and bowling alley, and hosts many student club activities. Fine arts events are regularly featured at the performing arts theater.

ISU has more than 140 registered professional, academic, cultural, service and social student organizations. The cultural organizations host some of the largest events on campus with their "Cultural Nights" celebrations. There are currently four fraternity and sorority chapters that are recognized by the university.

Students at ISU are represented by the Associated Students of Idaho State University (ASISU). Every year the students elect a president, vice-president, and 20 senators. ASISU has administrative oversight of the 140 student organizations and provides funding to various groups that provide student involvement, leadership and service opportunities and events.

Student media on campus includes The Bengal, a weekly student-run newspaper and KISU-FM (91.1). KISU-FM broadcasts from the first floor of the Pond Student Union, serving the university and surrounding communities with alternative music, NPR programming, and live coverage of ISU women athletics. In 2010, KISU-FM and the university developed a monthly public affairs talk show FIRST MONDAY: Idaho State University Forum. The show provides insight into the university's programs, accomplishments and local interests.

The Pond Student Union, or SUB, serves as the community center for the university. The SUB consists of three floors that house among other things the campus bookstore, student government and organization offices, Outdoor Adventure Center, craft shop, ISU Credit Union, offices of the Vice President for Student Affairs, bowling alley, movie theater, Veterans Sanctuary, LEAD Center and numerous conference/banquet rooms used for meeting and large scale campus events. The SUB is also home for Campus Connection, a one stop shop for event tickets, photo ID and campus information (282-INFO).

The 255,000 square foot, five-level Rendezvous Complex built in 2007 is centrally located on the Idaho State University campus. The complex houses 50 classrooms, ranging from 15-seat seminar rooms to a 250-seat lecture hall. Other facilities in the Rendezvous include a large computer center and a large meeting room with partitions for conversion into three small meeting rooms, 80 student apartments with 301 beds and the Mind's Eye Art Gallery.

The Cooperative Wilderness Handicapped Outdoor Group, otherwise known as CW HOG, is a regional self-help group that was formed in 1981 to provide recreational opportunities for people of all abilities. CW HOG is kept going through dedicated volunteers.

In August 2010, Reed Gym announced the opening of a new addition, the Student Recreation Center, giving Reed nearly 100,000 square feet of recreational opportunities. Additions include added weight and endurance facilities, additional classrooms and teaching facilities, as well as open and window viewing areas to the four indoor tennis courts. Other amenities include racquetball courts, an auxiliary gym, a track, climbing wall, swimming pool, and spinning/multi-purpose rooms.

Student housing

Idaho State University operates several residence halls and apartment complexes for its students.

Residence halls include Rendezvous Hall, Turner Hall, Nichols Hall, Owen Hall, and Redfield Hall. On-campus apartments include Bengal Studios, McIntosh Manor (Building #57), Pulling Courts (Building #53), Ridge Crest Townhomes (Building #54), Schubert Heights, University Courts, and West Campus Apartments.

Students with dependent children may live in McIntosh Manor, Pulling Courts, and Ridge Crest Townhouses. Residents are within the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District. Zoned schools include Washington Elementary School, Franklin Middle School, and Century High School.


The Idaho State University Bengals compete as a member school of the Big Sky Conference in the NCAA Division I FCS. ISU won the NCAA Division I-AA national championship in football in 1981. It also won NCAA national championships in boxing as Idaho State College in 1953 and 1957.

In more recent years ISU has been competitive in track and field, winning the Big Sky Conference Indoor title in 2005 and 2006. The women's track and field team won their first outdoors women's Big Sky conference in 2007 with a score of 140.5 over Weber State. Dave Nielson was named the Big Sky Coach of the Year in women's track and field, and was later named the Mountain Region's Outdoor Women's Coach of the Year.

Home football games are played at Holt Arena, which has a seating capacity of 12,000 for football games and is the oldest enclosed stadium on a college campus in the United States. Holt Arena also hosts indoor track and field events.

For years the Bengals enjoyed athletic rivalries with the Boise State Broncos and the University of Idaho Vandals of Moscow. However, in football these rivalries diminished significantly after both BSU and UI left the Big Sky in 1996 to move up to Division I-A. The Bengals still enjoy a healthy rivalry in basketball with both the University of Idaho, who they have dominated in recent years; and Boise State, who has dominated ISU in recent years. With the diminishment of the rivalries with both UI and BSU in football, the Weber State Wildcats of Ogden, Utah, Montana State Bobcats of Bozeman, and the Montana Grizzlies of Missoula, have become ISU's main football rivals.

Idaho State also offers a rugby program that plays in Division II. Idaho State offers scholarships to rugby players in the form of allowing out-of-state students to pay the in-state tuition rate. Idaho State finished the 2010 regular season ranked 9th in Division II. Idaho State reached the semifinals of the 2011 Mountain 7s tournament, and reached the semifinals of the 2012 Pacific Coast championship.

In January 1968, the ISU student body voted on and approved the construction of the Minidome by a majority vote of 57 percent not to exceed $2.8 million and was financed by student revenue bonds. The Minidome opened 47 years ago in 1970 and was renamed Holt Arena in 1988. It hosts on average 300,000 to 400,000 annually and events have an estimated annual economic impact of $15 to 20 million. Since its opening, Holt Arena events have provided roughly $600 million of economic impact to the local community.

Davis Field, home of ISU track and soccer, was built in 1936 as a public works project. It was originally called the "Spud Bowl" and is located at the base of Red Hill on lower campus. After Holt Arena was built, the football field became home to the Bengal track and field program, and the name was changed to honor Bud Davis, ISU's president from 1965 to 1975. In 1998, women's soccer was added as a varsity sport and Davis Field became its home.

ISU started a softball program in 1976, but the program was dropped after the 1983 season. In 2007, the program was reestablished. In 2011, Idaho State completed Miller Ranch Stadium, the home of Bengal softball. The Big Sky Conference added softball in 2013 and ISU won the first ever regular season Big Sky title. (40) ISU won the NCAA Division I-AA national championship in football in 1981. The Bengals also won NCAA national championships in boxing as Idaho State College in 1953 and 1957. ISU cross country team meets on the Centennial Course. The course is located east of the main campus at the Idaho State Research Park. The Bengals opened the course in 2002 and hosted the Big Sky Championship that same year.

Reed Gym is the refurbished home of Idaho State women's basketball, tennis, and volleyball. Featuring a seating capacity of 3,040, the building was remodeled in 2002 and officially reopened on December 17, 2002. Reed Gym is also the home of the men's basketball team on occasions when Holt Arena is unavailable. In more recent years, ISU has been competitive in track and field, winning the Big Sky Conference indoor title in 2005 and 2006. The women's track and field team won its first women's outdoor Big Sky title in 2007. The women's soccer program won its fifth Big Sky Championship in 15 years in 2012 and the women's basketball program won its third Big Sky title since 2001.

In the spring of 2011, ISU's athletic department became fully certified without condition by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). In the summer of 2010, the university received NCAA certification with one condition. To meet the NCAA requirement, ISU constructed a new women's softball complex and increased funding for the program, completed new intercollegiate locker rooms for women's volleyball, softball and basketball, and increased the number of women's athletic scholarships.

Through partnerships between ISU Athletics, ISU Credit Union and Idaho Central Credit Union, ISU received a new basketball court and football field in 2011. The official name of the Bengal basketball facility is Idaho Central Credit Union Court at Holt Arena. Reed Gym is called Idaho Central Credit Union Court at Reed Gym.

In 2013, the ISU Athletics finished third in the Big Sky Conference President's Cup. The third-place finish was the highest ever by ISU's Athletics department. ISU placed first in the conference in overall academics. Academically, Idaho State had a record 183 student-athletes named to Big Sky All-Academic teams in the academic year.

Notable alumni

  • Evan Dietrich-Smith – Green Bay Packers offensive lineman, Super Bowl XLV winner
  • Jared Allen – retired NFL defensive end who played for the Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers
  • Charles Potts – a prominent counter-culture poet and publisher
  • Don Aslett – author, speaker and founder of Varsity Contractors Inc.
  • Ron Boone – current Utah Jazz announcer and former ABA player
  • Wally Buono – current Canadian Football League head coach; winningest coach in CFL history
  • Bill Byrne – athletic director, Texas A&M University
  • Jeff Charleston – New Orleans Saints defensive end
  • D. J. Clark – Green Bay Packers defensive back
  • Jeff Cook – former NBA player
  • Stacy Dragila – 2000 Olympic gold medalist, women's pole vault
  • Matt Gutierrez – Chicago Bears quarterback
  • Merril Hoge – ESPN commentator and former Pittsburgh Steelers running back
  • Eddie Johnson – punter
  • Stanley L. Klos – author, professional basketball player in Italy, United States Senate elections, 1994 West Virginia Republican nominee.
  • Dirk Koetter – current Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator, former head coach for Boise State and Arizona State Football
  • Marvin Lewis – Cincinnati Bengals head coach
  • James A. McClure – former U.S. senator
  • Bruce Nelson – CEO, Office Depot
  • William Petersen – actor, star of CSI: Las Vegas
  • Ed Sanders – boxer, 1952 Olympic gold medalist
  • Antonio Taguba – retired United States Army major general
  • Sue Ane Langdon – actress
  • Shay Carl Butler – YouTube content creator. Co-Founder of Maker Studios
  • Roger Williams – pianist
  • Don Aslett – author and cleaning entrepreneur (when the institution was called "Idaho State College")
  • References

    Idaho State University Wikipedia