Boise State is Idaho’s largest university and fastest growing research enterprise. It had its true beginnings in 1892 when it started as St. Margaret’s School in Christ Chapel, the oldest church building in Idaho. At that time, the building was located at 7th and Bannock in downtown Boise. Although the school didn’t use the building for long, the church was moved to the BSU campus (near the intersection of Broadway and University) in 1963 where it remains operable today and stands to commemorate the school’s history.
In 1932, the school’s name was changed to Boise Junior College, and two years later, the board of directors assumed leadership from the Episcopal Church. As part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Work Projects Administration program, the campus was moved to its current site on the bank of the Boise River in 1940.
Throughout the 1950s and 60s, the school grew rapidly and saw the addition of the first Bronco Stadium, three new dorm buildings, Bronco Gymnasium, the library, the Liberal Arts Building, and the new Student Union. Baccalaureate degrees began being offered in 1965, and the name of the school was changed to Boise College. Just four years later, in 1969, the Idaho state system of higher education took control of the school and changed its name yet again to Boise State College.
The 70s and 80s were also characterized by new growth for the school. There was construction of multiple new buildings including the new Bronco Stadium, expansion of the Student Union and library, the Science/Nursing building, the seven-story Education building, BSU Pavilion, Velma V. Morrison Performing Arts Center, and the Blue Astro Turf field—which was the first and only of its kind. In 1974, university status was granted, and the school officially became Boise State University. Enrollment reached 10,000 students in 1979.
In 1991, President John Keiser was let go after 13 years in the office because of his push to move the BSU football program to the Division I level. Ironically, the university’s athletic teams began participating in NCAA Division I athletics just five years later. Through the 90s, growth was manifested by the approval of doctoral degrees, building expansions, and the formation of the College of Engineering offering bachelor programs in civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. Enrollment reached the state’s largest at 15,000 in 1992.
Boise State University currently offers 201 degrees in 190 fields of study and has more than 100 graduate programs. The campus is spread over 180 acres and enrolled over 22,000 students this year. The school is an integral part of the Boise community and an asset to our local economy!