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Idaho State University
Idaho State University Seal
Motto Veritas Vos Liberabit (Latin)
"The Truth Will Set You Free"
Established 1901 -
1947 - four-year college
1963 - university status
Type Public University
President Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
Faculty 452
Students 13,802
Location Pocatello, Idaho, USA
Campus 1,000 acres
(250 acres developed)
Sports Bengals
Colors black & orange            
Mascot Benny the Bengal
Idaho State University signature

Idaho State University is a public university operated by the state of Idaho. Its main campus is in Pocatello with outreach programs in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Falls, Boise, and Twin Falls.

ISU has more than 280 programs. Its seven colleges offer programs in the natural and physical sciences, humanities, performing and visual arts, education, engineering, business, pharmacy, and technology.

Enrollment for fall semester 2009 was 14,209 full-time students, making ISU the second largest major university in the State of Idaho, based upon full-time enrollment. ISU previously enrolled a large number of older, non-traditional students who live and work off-campus; this demographic is making up less of ISU's population as it attempts a transition towards a more traditional undergraduate population. The student-teacher ratio at ISU is 17:1.

Notable programs at ISU include physics, pharmacy, biology, liberal arts, anthropology, business, and nursing. ISU is attempting to open the state's first medical school, with negative results so far.



On March 11, 1901, Governor Frank W. Hunt signed Senate Bill 53 establishing the Academy of Idaho contingent upon private land donations being made for its site. The Academy of Idaho was officially opened in Pocatello on May 1, 1901². By 1910 enrollment had reached nearly 300 students. The academy purchased four city blocks in Pocatello to help meet its needs.

In 1915, it became Idaho Technical Institute. The end of World War I brought an influx of students to the school, and the enrollment surged to over 1,000 students. The early 1920s saw the beginning of intercollegiate competition. At this time the institute adopted the Bengal as the school mascot, as one of its early coaches was from Princeton. Princeton's colors are also black & orange, and its mascot is the tiger.

In 1927 the school was renamed the University of Idaho - Southern Branch. In 1947 it was renamed Idaho State College and became a four-year school for the first time. The following year its enrollment reached 2,000.

On April 10, 1952 ten employees of Idaho State College organized Idaho State College Federal Credit Union with just $5 each to provide a cooperative system of low cost loans to coworkers. On October 28, 1963 the Credit Union was renamed Idaho State University Federal Credit Union to reflect the college’s new name.

In 1963, the school was renamed to Idaho State University, reflecting its new status as a full four-year public university, the state's second. In the ensuing years, ISU continuously expanded in both enrollment and programs offered. The presidency of Dr. Richard L. Bowen from 1985-2005 is regarded as an era of particular growth. Bowen resigned after a vote of No Confidence from the faculty, who were angered by generous pay raises for administration members during calls for fiscal austerity. As of 2006, ISU had colleges in arts and sciences, business, education, engineering, health professions, pharmacy, and technology.

On July 1, 2006, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Houston System and Vice President of the University of Houston Dr. Arthur C. Vailas became president of the university, replacing Michael Gallagher—who had served as president on an interim basis since Bowen's retirement in 2005.[1]

Student life

Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho.

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.

Off-campus, many Pocatello businesses are geared towards the university community. Many ISU students take advantage of Pocatello's proximity to outdoor activities in eastern Idaho and northern Utah. ISU is approximately 150 miles (240 km) from the urban center of Salt Lake City.

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.

Greek Life

Idaho State University currently has four active fraternities, of which embody the larger Greek Council on campus:

Male Fraternities:

Female Fraternities:

Co-ed Business Fraternities:


Idaho State University athletic logo

The Idaho State University Bengals compete in the NCAA Division I (I-AA for football) Big Sky Conference. 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 the 12,000-seat Holt Arena (known as the Minidome until 1988), the oldest enclosed stadium on a college campus in the United States. Holt Arena also hosts indoor track and field events. After several seasons of playing at cozy Reed Gym (capacity: 2500), the men's basketball team will again play its home games inside Holt Arena.

For years the Bengals enjoyed athletic rivalries with the Boise State Broncos and the University of Idaho Vandals. However, as far as football is concerned, 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 U of I and BSU in football, the Weber State Wildcats of nearby Ogden, Utah, Montana State Bobcats, and the Montana Grizzlies have become ISU's main football rivals.

In 2008, Athletic Director Paul Bubb resigned after University officials discovered a long-standing $800,000 shortfall in the Athletic Department budget. The men's golf team was eliminated as a money saving measure although it was one of the least expensive teams that ISU fields.[citation needed]

Idaho State University is looking into starting a swimming team.



In the 2009 campaign, Bengal football boasted a one win record, which wasn't an improvement over the 2008 campaign. Bengal football hasn't had a season above .500 since the 2003 campaign (8-4) with its best record since then being 5-6 in 2005.

In October of 2009 Idaho State University Director of Athletics Jeff Tingey announced that the contract of head football coach John Zamberlin would be extended for two more years, meaning Zamberin will be on the Bengal sidelines manning the program through the 2011 season.

Hired in late December of 2006, Zamberlin's record at ISU is just 4-25. The decision has been highly criticized by many students, faculty, and community members. The administration have stood by their decision, citing an increase in athlete attendance in classes and graduation rates as a direct result of Zamberlin's coaching.

Idaho State used to enjoy healthy rivalries with both the University of Idaho and Boise State University when all three schools were members of the Big Sky Conference. When both Idaho and BSU left the Big Sky in 1996 to move up to Division I-A, Idaho State University lost their main rivals. Both Idaho and BSU still occasionally play Idaho State in football, however since 1996, both Idaho and BSU's dominance over Idaho State has solidified. Despite this, many students at both the University of Idaho and at Idaho State University would like to see this rivalry renewed into an annual event.

Since 1996, an old rivalry with the Weber State University Wildcats of nearby Ogden, Utah has intensified to become ISU's main rival in football. The Bengals also enjoy intense rivalries with both the University of Montana Grizzlies, and Montana State University Bobcats.


In March 1977, the men's basketball team made national headlines by defeating the UCLA Bruins 76-75 in the West regional semifinal of that year's NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament. The win qualified the Bengals for their only appearance to date in the Elite Eight. This is by far the high-water mark for Bengals basketball, and marked the first time since 1966 that UCLA failed to reach the Final Four. The Bengals were subsequently eliminated in the West regional final by the UNLV Runnin' Rebels.

The Bengals men's basketball team's last appearance in the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament was in 1987, when it was eliminated in the first round by UNLV.[2] The most recent appearance of the women's team in the NCAA tournament was 2007, when it was eliminated in the first round by the Stanford Cardinal.[3]

Idaho State University still maintains an active rivalry in basketball with both the University of Idaho Vandals and the Boise State University Broncos. In recent years, ISU has dominated UI in basketball, but in turn been dominated by BSU.

Medical School

Since the arrival of President Vailas, securing a medical school at ISU is a major priority. Unfortunately, efforts for establishing a medical school are not going well as the necessary political backing in the statehouse and with the voters is lacking. Also, the State Board of Education rebuffed a number of proposals and recommendations in establishing a medical school. There are questions as to where the financing for establishing the medical school would come from as the citizens in this state are against tax increases.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty

  • Corey Schou, University Professor of Informatics, director of the National Information Assurance Training and Education Center (NIATEC)
  • Jeffrey Meldrum, Associate Professor of Anatomy and Anthropology, and leading expert on the Sasquatch[4]
  • Susan H. Swetnam, Professor of English, author of "My Best Teachers Were Saints: What Every Educator Can Learn from the Heroes of the Church"
  • Sean K. Anderson, Professor of Political Science, co-author of "The Historical Dictionary of Terrorism"
  • Richard D. Hansen, Archaeologist, Senior Scientist at the Institute for Mesoamerican Research, specialist on the ancient Maya

See also

External links


History of Idaho State College, by Merrill D. Beal (1952) ISC Press.

  1. ^ [1].
  2. ^ 1987 NCAA Basketball Tournament
  3. ^ - Women's Basketball - Idaho St. vs. Stanford
  4. ^

Coordinates: 42°51′41″N 112°26′03″W / 42.861261°N 112.434286°W / 42.861261; -112.434286


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