Campus news items: C of I enrollment dips, but first-year numbers improve

In August, The College of Idaho’s entire freshman class went to Horsethief Reservoir east of Cascade for the Wilderness Experience, a traditional part of C of I Welcome Week. (College of Idaho photo)


Overall, enrollment has dropped slightly at The College of Idaho — but first-year student numbers rebounded.

C of I welcomed 297 freshman students to its Caldwell campus, the second-largest first-year enrollment in a quarter century.

Freshman enrollment is up 10% from the previous fall. But in a news release, college officials also hailed the new students’ collective academic resume, including a median high school GPA of 3.83 and an average SAT score of close to 1200.

“The class of 2027 has already made itself known on campus with an astonishing sense of vitality and willingness to engage,” said David Douglass, the college’s provost and dean of faculty. “This class has showed up ready to perform.”

Said Brian Bava, the college’s vice president of enrollment management: “We are particularly proud of the nearly 50 percent increase in first-generation students choosing to attend The College of Idaho, which demonstrates the belief students and families have that a liberal arts education will best prepare them for the future that lies ahead.”

Fall enrollment totaled 1,050, a 3% decrease.

All told, 607 C of I students are from Idaho. Meanwhile, the college’s 155 international students come from 65 countries.

Boise State breaks ground on new dormitory

Come the fall of 2025, Boise State University expects to have space on campus for another 450 first-year students.

An artist’s rendering of the new Boise State University dorm, slated to open in 2025.

Boise State broke ground Monday on the new dorm complex, near the Albertson Library.

“We know from research that first-year students achieve greater success when they can benefit from the opportunities that living on a vibrant university campus provides,” Boise State President Marlene Tromp said in a news release. “We are so excited to welcome more students home to Boise State.”

The new dorm would include three wings — two with six floors, the third with five floors. For safety, all dorm rooms would be on the second floor or higher.

The complex carries a $58.5 million price tag, and it will be covered through budget reserves and bonds. Boise State would pay off the bonds from student room fees.

This is the second dorm in the works at Boise State. A 278-bed residence hall is expected to open next year.

A fossil’s travels: ‘Idaho No. 5’ is finally back in Idaho

It was a return more than 60 years in the making.

But in July, Idaho State University reacquired a unique and valuable fossil of a prehistoric shark unearthed in East Idaho in the 1950s.

But in 1961, the fossil of the Helicoprion ergassaminon shark was sent to Denmark for study. Eventually, the fossil was dubbed “Idaho No. 5,” yet it spent decades among the holdings at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen.

Leif Tapanila, director of the Idaho Museum of Natural History, poses with a Helicoprion fossil at Idaho State University in August. (Idaho State University photo)

But in February, Idaho Museum of Natural History director Leif Tapanila received an email from Denmark about the wayward fossil. That started the process of getting the fossil back to Idaho; it is now back on display at the Idaho Museum of Natural History on the Idaho State University campus.

The museum has more than 90 Helicoprion specimens. But Idaho No. 5 is unusual. This fossil of a tooth whorl, a spiral pattern of teeth, had originally helped scientists identify Helicoprion ergassaminon as a unique species. In fossil parlance, such a specimen is called a holotype.

Some 250 million years ago, Helicoprion ergassaminon swam the Phosphoria Sea, on the west coast of prehistoric North America. Measuring more than 30 feet long, with a mouth full of teeth the size of steak knives, the shark devoured prehistoric squids, other species of shark, and possibly members of its own species.

“Idaho No. 5’s story isn’t over,” Tapanila said in a news release. “We’re pulling DNA from fossils that was thought to have been impossible just a few short years ago, so there’s no telling what Idaho No. 5 might reveal to us in the years ahead. Right now, though, we’re just happy to have Idaho No. 5 home.”

Pemberton named to NAIA Council of Presidents

Lewis-Clark State College President Cynthia Pemberton has been named to the National Association of Intercollege Athletics Council of Presidents.

Cynthia Pemberton

Lewis-Clark’s athletics teams compete at the NAIA level.

Pemberton’s term on the 23-member council runs for three years. She was named to one of three at-large spots on the council.

Pemberton held a variety of academic and administrative posts in the region before she was hired as Lewis-Clark’s president in 2018. She was hired at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., in 1989, and held several positions, including assistant athletic director, head women’s and men’s swim coach, and faculty and senior women’s administrator for athletics.

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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