First-ever Elgin Baylor college scholarship winner announced

Senior Nimo Abdi of Capital High School won the scholarship. (Darren Svan/Idaho Education News)

“Education opens your eyes to the world,” said Elaine Baylor, wife of the late Elgin Baylor, during a press conference to announce the first recipient of a new scholarship fund honoring one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

“I am so happy and so grateful to you for supporting this fund,” Baylor said. “Idaho is a great place with warm loving people.”

A partnership between the College of Idaho and Idaho businesses, the Elgin and Elaine Baylor Opportunity Fund will provide full tuition scholarships for 44 students from underrepresented groups to attend the C of I in Caldwell. 

Senior Nimo Abdi of Capital High School won the scholarship. Abdi and her family immigrated to the United States when she was a toddler. She plans to pursue a career in microbiology research. 

“With this scholarship, I will be eager to apply the knowledge I attain in college in pursuit of bettering tomorrow — not only for my home community, but also for the world,” Abdi said.

Baylor’s effort to create what she described as a legacy scholarship in Elgin’s name was supported by Idaho corporations. And more than $1 million of the $25 million endowment has been raised.

Sanjay Mehrotra, president of Micron Technologies. (Darren Svan/Idaho Education News)

“There is an abundance of brilliant and diverse students who may not be able to afford an education in Idaho. We want them to know they are welcome here, and this scholarship helps do just that,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, president and CEO of Micron Technologies.

Mehrotra was one of five guest speakers during the event. His overarching message was that diversity and inclusion are the core DNA of Micron, which is aligned with the college’s values.

As other speakers traced Elgin’s journey to play basketball at the college, the school was recognized for its inclusive environment that supports students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

“It’s the most diverse campus in Idaho,” said Jim Everett, a co-president of the college. 

Elaine Baylor. (Darren Svan/Idaho Education News)

In 1954, the college offered Elgin an opportunity to attend school and play basketball on one of the few desegregated teams in the nation. He traveled to Idaho from Washington, D.C., because the school was willing to accept a black player when others wouldn’t.

“We did it because it was the right thing to do,” Everett said, who was clearly choked up and emotional.

Businesses supporting the scholarship include Boise Cascade, St. Luke’s Health System, Idaho Power, St. Alphonsus Health System, Albertsons, Simplot, Cradlepoint, Kount, The Dignitas Agency and Crookham Company. To learn more about the scholarship, contact Director of Development Deidre Friedli at [email protected].

Darren Svan

Darren Svan

Reporter Darren Svan has a background in both journalism and education. Prior to working for military schools at overseas installations, he was news editor at several publications in Wyoming and Colorado. You can send news tips to [email protected].

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday