Boise engineer Jack Lemley helped build the tunnel under the English Channel. Now he wants to help build a bridge between Boise State University and the University of Idaho.
Lemley has proposed that the state Board of Education name the IdahoBoise State cooperative engineering program in Boise after potato magnate J.R. Simplot, and that it form a statewide Engineering Advisory Committee of university and industry representatives.
“Both Mr. Simplot and I desire to move engineering education beyond the divisive atmosphere of confrontation, which, I believe, is still present and in danger of growing,” Lemley wrote board President Curtis Eaton of Twin Falls on May 16.
Lemley said on Wednesday that most states with top-rated engineering schools also have advisory committees to help them anticipate and respond to future needs. “I would hope that naming the school for him would allow all this turf business to be put in a drawer and allow for a real discussion of how best to deliver engineering education.”
The board has not yet responded to the suggestions, although Lemley and Eaton are scheduled to meet in a few weeks.
Debate over engineering education in the Boise valley began last year after Micron Technology Inc. criticized the lack of four-year degree programs and asked that Boise State be allowed to run its own engineering school.
The Board of Education ultimately decided to leave engineering under the University of Idaho’s umbrella. But the board instructed Idaho and Boise State to expand the Boise program.