What’s in a name — or names — at the U of I?

So long, NewU Inc.

Hello, Four Three Education Inc.

And also, hello, P1FCU Kibbie Dome.

Meeting Wednesday, the State Board of Education took care of a couple of University of Idaho naming issues — one that is mostly procedural, but another that figures to be lucrative.

Four Three Education

This will be the new name for the newly formed nonprofit that would engineer the U of I’s purchase of the University of Phoenix.

When the U of I announced its plans to acquire Phoenix last month, it said an independent body would issue $685 million in bonds to buy the online for-profit behemoth. Originally, the U of I dubbed the nonprofit NewU.

The U of I has since learned that NewU is already in use, prompting the need for a quick rebranding. Or, technically, rebrandings.

On Friday, U of I President Scott Green told lawmakers that the nonprofit would be renamed Idaho Education Initiatives Inc., a name that also appeared in the State Board’s meeting materials. But the U of I and the State Board switched course and opted for a different moniker: Four Three Education, a nod to Idaho’s status as the 43rd state in the union.

Regardless, don’t expect to see Four Three Education hoodies for sale any time soon. The name will apply to the nonprofit only.

“This is a bit of a housekeeping matter,” said U of I attorney Kent Nelson, one of three university administrators who have been named to the nonprofit’s board. “There is no intention of putting this name in public-facing marketing.”

P1FCU Kibbie Dome

The abbreviation is short for Potlatch No. 1 Federal Credit Union, a nonprofit serving more than 100,000 members in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

P1FCU will pay $5 million to have its name attached to the Kibbie Dome for 10 years, beginning July 1.

Naming rights at Idaho campuses date back to 2014, when Boise State University’s football stadium was rebranded as Albertsons Stadium.

Nor is this the first time the U of I has entered a naming rights agreement. A second lending institution, Idaho Central Credit Union, acquired the rights to the university’s new basketball arena in 2019.

A literacy pilot

In Wednesday State Board news that had nothing to do with U of I branding, the board approved a literacy pilot program for the Magic Valley.

The $450,000 pilot, funded with federal coronavirus aid, will place AmeriCorps members in elementary schools in Twin Falls, Jerome, Hansen and Camas County. The AmeriCorps members will tutor kindergarten through third-grade students who are not reading at grade level.

“I think it’s going to be a great pilot,” state superintendent Debbie Critchfield said. “We’re excited about it.”

All three State Board items passed unanimously.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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