ISU Magazine

Volume 40 | Number 1 | Fall 2009

Harwood Leaves Legacy of Progress for Idaho State University

Bill Harwood stands in front of a bookcase with the titles he's helped publish.

Photo by ISU Photographic Services/Susan Duncan

Harwood Leaves Legacy of Progress for Idaho State University

Fall 2009 Issue | By Andy Taylor

When he was a student at Idaho State College, there were about 1,860 students and when he started work at ISC there were about 3,000.

After 47 years working at Idaho State University and a 61-year affiliation with his alma mater, Bill Harwood retired from ISU June 30. During that span Pocatello’s population has doubled and Idaho State University’s enrollment has grown to more than 14,000 students.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes and phenomenal growth over the years,” Harwood said. “I haven’t agreed with all the changes. They’ve been mostly progressive with a few setbacks, but this isn’t the place to dwell on the setbacks.”

Harwood, 80, was most recently the editor of the ISU University Press, a part-time position he has held since 1986, a 23-year span. From 1960 to 1984 of a department that underwent numerous name changes at ISU that was the Office of Information Services when he left and has morphed into the current Office of University Relations.

But Harwood’s roots at ISU go deeper. A native of Pocatello, Harwood attended ISU as a student from 1948 to 1952, earning a bachelor’s in journalism (he later earned a master’s in education at ISU in 1962). He left ISU for eight years and taught journalism at Boise and Borah high schools in Boise before returning to ISU.

“When I came here in 1960 I wanted to finish my master’s and stay one year because I had a good job offer in California,” Harwood said. “But I never got out of this place.”

He said his most exciting times at ISU were his first three as an employee at ISU from 1960 to 1963 when he was director of the ISU News Bureau for one year before it became the Office of News and Publications. During this period the University was making the transition from Idaho State College to become Idaho State University.

“We had to put out a lot of publicity to get that change done,” Harwood said. “I’ve always enjoyed whatever I’ve been doing, but back in those days it was fun working to get university status because everybody was pitching in and going full-tilt to get that accomplished.”

During his 14 years as director of what is now University Relations he at various times oversaw the university’s news bureau, publication office, publication distribution center and a print shop that was in the current ISU administration building. The latter evolved from the old Faculty Stenographers Office. He also served as the advisor for the Wickiup, Idaho State College’s former yearbook, and he was advisor for The Bengal, the college’s student newspaper. His other varied duties included helping to produce promotional films for the university and other films. He wrote scripts and provided voice-over for the films and also did some radio shows.

One of his biggest legacies was helping to create the University Press in 1967, some of whose books were originally printed by the print shop Harwood oversaw. Harwood managed the University Press as part of his duties as director, and then, following retirement, came back to manage the press working part-time for the University.

“Creating the University Press was mostly a labor of love, and I’ve just continued to do that since retiring from full-time work,” Harwood said.

The press was created to publish scholarly works that might not be printed by larger university presses or commercial publishers. The ISU University Press currently catalogs about 76 works. The University Press Editorial Board reviews and selects the submitted books that will be published. There are currently five ISU faculty members on the board.

“It was never set up to be a big money maker,” Harwood said. “It was designed to do pilot editions of books.”

Harwood made it a point not to grow it too large. The University Press continues to operate, and is now a part of the Office of Academic Affairs.

“I will miss the press,” Harwood said. “It was a lot fun doing it. Every time I thought of hanging it up along has come a book manuscript I wanted to do. I’ve done ‘one more book’ a lot of different times.”