A founding College of Western Idaho trustee will not seek re-election this fall.
Mark Dunham of Boise is stepping down after 13 years on the CWI board. He was appointed in 2007, after Ada and Canyon county voters created the new community college, and was re-elected three times.
“When the original trustees started, we had nothing other than two buildings, 100 acres, and a dream,” Dunham said in a news release Tuesday. “We did not even have a telephone. We had no staff. It was a daunting task.”
During his time on the board, CWI has emerged as one of the nation’s fastest-growing community colleges — from a starting enrollment of 1,300 students in 2009 to its current enrollment exceeding 33,000.
Dunham also stayed on the board through some personal health challenges. In January 2012, he suffered two strokes within the span of a week. On Tuesday, he noted that he never missed a board meeting, even during years of therapy.
“Struggling to talk at board meetings and exercising my brain through dealing with the myriad of complex issues was emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting for me,” he said. “Yet, that trauma made me a more empathetic trustee. I think about the students and their challenges.”
Dunham is endorsing a candidate for his trustee’s seat: retiring state Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, a Boise Democrat who has served 10 years in the Statehousee. A member of the Senate Education Committee and the Democrats’ assistant minority leader, Buckner-Webb is stepping down at the end of her legislative term.
“I look forward to supporting a trustee who will continue to serve the Treasure Valley and the diverse community we all serve,” Dunham said of his endorsement of Buckner-Webb.
Three CWI trustee spots will be on the November ballot. Trustees are elected across Ada and Canyon counties to serve four-year terms. The filing period ends Sept. 1.