CALDWELL, Idaho – The Albertson College of Idaho has received the largest donation in the history of Idaho higher education and is returning to its original name, College of Idaho.
College President Bob Hoover announced Thursday that the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has given $50 million to the school to kick off a 10-year fundraising campaign for the renamed College of Idaho. Over the past three years, the foundation has given or committed $72 million in cash to the school.
Only five liberal arts colleges in the nation have received larger gifts since 1967, College of Idaho officials said, citing data from The Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac. The college first opened for classes in 1881 and changed its name to Albertson College of Idaho 100 years later after receiving a previous multimillion dollar gift from Joe and Kathryn Albertson, former students and founders of the grocery store chain Albertson’s.
Now, Hoover said, college and foundation officials have mutually agreed that it was time to drop “Albertson” from the school’s name.
The decision was made partly because some College of Idaho alumni didn’t feel connected to the school after the name change, officials said, and partly because some people believed the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation was fully supporting the college. That made it difficult to raise money, officials said.
“Our college has prospered in the last three years, both financially and academically,” Hoover said in prepared remarks. “We could not have done this without the support and patience of our faculty, staff, alumni and students, and the generous support of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.”