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Idaho State University president to retire next year

UPDATED: Wed., Aug. 9, 2017

Associated Press

POCATELLO, Idaho – Idaho State University President Arthur Vailas says he will retire next summer after more than a decade at the school.

Vailas made the announcement Wednesday during a monthly meeting of the Idaho State Board of Education. The announcement came just three days after the university’s football booster club announced it would withhold more than $80,000 in donations until both Vailas and Athletic Director Jeff Tingey leave the school.

The booster club, called the Idaho State Football Alumni Team, or FAT, has criticized school officials for the team’s 20-70 overall record, which includes an 11-53 record in the Big Sky conference. Tingey has refuted many of the booster club’s claims.

Vailas didn’t mention the booster club’s criticism in a prepared statement announcing his retirement, but said that he was honored to serve at the school.

“I have spent more than 10 years working tirelessly to make ISU a better place for our students, faculty, staff and alumni,” Vailas said in the prepared statement. “In planning for my retirement, I wanted to give the state board sufficient time to carry out a seamless transition.”

School officials said Vailas had been planning his retirement for some time, and he began talking to the State Board about his plans earlier this spring.

Vailas took the top ISU post in 2006. Over the next several years, he worked to create programs including a food bank for students, a program to offer students paid internships in their field of study, and several campus expansion projects including the Meridian Health Science Center in 2009.

He also partnered ISU with the for-profit proposed Idaho College of Osteopathic medicine, a private for-profit medical school currently under construction in Meridian.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter lauded Vailas’ work at the school, calling him a “builder of a great university.”

The Idaho State Board of Education will begin the search for a new president immediately, with hopes of announcing the next president by the end of March 2018.

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