These events and many others were the beginning of several legacies to come in the following years on and off campus. Also in 1967, for the first time in its 32-year history, Boise College conferred graduates with four-year degrees.
Within a few years, Boise College would become Boise State College, and by 1974, Boise State University. And in May of 1967, thanks to the dedication of young alumni and members of the student body, the Boise College Alumni Association was created, fostering the legacy of the university and its members for half a century today.
As Boise State University Alumni Association (BSUAA) celebrates this milestone, it honors those who created the legacies that span 50 years, while looking forward to the future of connecting alumni and friends, supporting students through scholarships and programs, and advocating on behalf of the university and higher education in Idaho.
More than 50 years ago, when Boise Junior College leadership were applying for accreditation to become a four-year institution, one requirement was to have an alumni association, explained Vivian Klein, who was hired as the alumni secretary at the time.
Association founding members Bill Ilett, ’67, then student body president, along with senior class president Jim Cockrell, ’67, and another 10 founding members were the driving force to organize the alumni association and meet the accreditation requirements. Thomas L. Rhodes, ’55, was elected the first president.
“When I accepted the job, I was handed a shoebox of index cards with names of alumni,” Klein said, referring to the antiquated records system she eventually updated. At the time, about 1,500 students attended classes on campus, compared with the nearly 24,000 today.
A lot has changed at Boise State since the founding of the BSUAA, but the mission of the association remains the same — to celebrate and engage alumni and friends of the university and build lifelong relationships that support the future of the university.
Those lifelong relationships are evident with a membership of more than 4,300, as well as the longtime and continued engagement from charter members.
Take, for example, David Croft, ’67, who served as alumni board president during the association’s infancy, and continues to be active in the association.
The deep affinity many have with the university is a reflection of the education they received while attending classes here, said Croft.
“Boise State provided me with an opportunity to receive a great education, and I’m very grateful for that and have felt the obligation to give back,” he said.
Through the years the association has supported many areas of growth for the university. From the construction of the Taco Bell Arena (previously the Pavilion) to the founding of the Keith Stein Blue Thunder Marching Band, the association is proud to support Boise State. The association has seen significant growth over its 50 years — a new identity as Boise State University, an Alumni and Friends Center that opened in 2016, and a burgeoning international membership consisting of several chapters — but the objectives are consistent with the vision of the founding members — connect, support, and advocate on behalf of alumni and the university.
Through the years the association has supported many areas of growth for the university. From the construction of the Taco Bell Arena (previously the Pavilion) to the founding of the Keith Stein Blue Thunder Marching Band, the association is proud to support Boise State.
The association has seen significant growth over its 50 years — a new identity as Boise State University, an Alumni and Friends Center that opened in 2016, and a burgeoning international membership consisting of several chapters — but the objectives are consistent with the vision of the founding members — connect, support, and advocate on behalf of alumni and the university.
Dyke Nally, ’69, who served as student body president and longtime employee, including the association’s executive director for 21-years, credited much of the growth of the university over the years to the leadership of the six university presidents starting with Eugene Chaffey when Nally was a student. Nally also acknowledges the support of alumni and friends who have partnered with leadership and applied their resources toward the growth and success of the university.
“The privilege to work with first-class university presidents, faculty, staff and students has been so rewarding in my career,” Nally said. “I’m looking forward to the university continuing to grow and excel as the fine research university it has become, and hopefully receive adequate funding from the state to support its mission and continued growth.”
To honor the BSUAA golden anniversary, the Intercollegiate Knights Chapter has committed to creating a new Impact Scholarship endowment dedicated to supporting students attending Boise State who come from the foster care system. Also, members of the class of 1967 will be holding a reunion on campus in the fall, and have also committed to creating a class gift for the university.
To learn more about the BSUAA 50-year celebration, including stories of alumni, events and ways to engage in the milestone, visit alumni.boisestate.edu/50-years.
Along with the Boise State University Alumni Association’s celebration of its 50-year anniversary, another milestone celebration began in 1967; the first class of graduates was conferred with bachelor’s degrees after Boise Junior College became Boise College.
Bill Ilett, ’67, was student body president and he along with others was instrumental in the formation of the fledgling alumni association, and following graduation, served on the board and eventfully as president.
Like many alumni, Ilett said his time at Boise State shaped his life and career, and motived him to continue to be engaged with his alma mater.
“If I had not had the opportunity to attend Boise Junior College and then Boise College, I may have been taken down a different path in life,” Ilett said. “My time on campus motivated me to become a leader in many things I was involved in during my career. The ability to listen to others and the opportunity to speak and be recognized are many of the virtues that you learn from higher education. These combined with life skills that you continue to build throughout your entire life will measure your success and happiness.”
A 50-year reunion for the classes of 1967 and 1968 will be held this fall in conjunction with Boise State Homecoming. More details on the reunion and Homecoming will be announced soon.