ISU Magazine

Volume 42 | Number 1 | Fall 2011


A collage of images from ISU's past.

ISU Turns 110

Fall 2011 Issue

1901: Academy of Idaho

The Academy was created on March 11, 1901, when Governor Frank W. Hunt signed Senate Bill 53 into law. The Academy opened its doors on September 15, 1902 with four faculty members and 70 students. Tuition was free for Idaho residents and out-of-state tuition was $5 per term.


The Academy of Idaho was renamed the Idaho Technical Institute, referred to by many as "the Tech."


When the United States entered World War I, enrollment dropped by nearly 50 percent in just a few months. The Tech was saved by a contract with the federal government establishing a Student Army Training Corps. Four Tech students were killed in the war. The sundial in front of Frazier Hall is a memorial to those who served in the war.


"The year has been fateful but prophetic" -1918 Wickiup

In October, the academy closed for nearly two months due to the Spanish Flu Epidemic. During this time, Principal Miles Reed suffered a fatal heart attack. Shortly after reopening, the academy was affected by dropping commodity prices which caused banks to close and farms to be repossessed. All non-essential functions and activities were cancelled for the rest of the school year.


The Quad was dedicated to Ralph F. Hutchinson, a former football coach and athletic director in the 1920s. After his death in 1935, his ashes were scattered over the field, which bears his name. In honor of their beloved mentor and friend, ISU vowed to never build on the Quad, which is why all the buildings circle it.


Under the 1927 House Bill 160 compromise, the Academy became University of Idaho-Southern Branch. Within the branch there were four divisions: Letters and Science, Engineering, Vocational Completion and Pharmacy.

Coach Ralph Hutchinson, a Princeton alumnus, established Princeton's orange and black and the Bengal Tiger as the branch's colors and mascot.


The Administration Building was built in 1939 and served as the Student Union until 1959. The building used to be Pocatello's hot spot for dances.


After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, many students and some faculty members had a desire to enlist in the military. When the spring semester started after the holiday break, enrollment was down to 698 students. Later that spring, the branch began the V-1 program. The two-year naval training course qualified cadets for further military training. Due to the Works Progress Administration program, the Branch had an airstrip and an aircraft hanger, which allowed for civilian pilot training. During the course of the war, 2,200 men and 96 women from the Branch served in the Armed Forces. Of those who served, there were 61 casualties.


On March 3, 1947, Governor Robins signed a bill to create a four-year degree granting institution called Idaho State College.


Named after Miles F. Reed, who was the Academy Principal from 1907-1918, Reed Hall was built in 1919. In 1951, Reed Gymnasium was built.

When Reed Gym was proposed, the city of Pocatello and the students were upset that the gym was going to be built out of town with no road leading up to it. Now the campus and city surround the gym.


In October 2004, the L.E. and Thelma Stephens Performing Arts Center opened with a performance of "Man of La Mancha." The state-of-the-art complex attracts performers and students from around the world.


The Student Recreation Center opened in August 2010 with nearly 100,000 square feet of recreational opportunities, including weight, endurance exercise facilities, tennis courts, racquetball courts, auxiliary gym, track, climbing wall, swimming pool and spinning/multi-purpose rooms.