A very small case containing an old felt-tip pen sits on the bookshelf in the president’s office at Lewis-Clark State College. It is one of the pens that Gov. Cecil Andrus used on March 2, 1971, to sign Senate Bill 1095 and thereby change the name of Lewis-Clark Normal School to Lewis-Clark State College. It is a small symbol of the monumental support Cecil Andrus gave to LCSC. As a state senator and as governor he believed in and fought for this college. When Cecil D. Andrus died last week, Idaho’s colleges and universities lost a dear friend and champion.
The first day of school is always special at Lewis-Clark State College, but this year’s festivities “eclipsed” them all. Yes, the Aug. 21 solar eclipse happened to coincide with our first day of classes and it made for a very memorable moment as our Lewiston campus enjoyed watching 95 percent of the sun be obscured at 10:27 a.m. The view was spectacular and crowds of faculty, staff, students, friends, and family enjoyed the rare occurrence together. We also shared the moment with hundreds of community members who were taking part in the Welcome Fair and that made it all the more special (see photos here: Lookin’ Up).
The eclipse was the highlight of a fun-filled Move-In Week at LCSC. Thousands of students, both newcomers and returners alike, have come to our campus in Lewiston and our center in Coeur d’Alene for another great year of learning. They were welcomed at New Student Orientation, hosted by Vice President for Student Affairs Andy Hanson and his hardworking staff. A lot of the fun, including the moment of the eclipse, can be seen in this video: Welcome Week 17-18. Hundreds of fresh faces packed into the Activity Center for Student Orientation in Lewiston to begin their journey as Warriors. Photos of this event can be found here and I want to thank Idaho senator Dan Johnson and representatives Thyra Stevenson and Mike Kingsley for joining us and welcoming our students.
In other news, accreditation of the LCSC Business Division programs was reaffirmed by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). The announcement completed a year-long process which included a site visit by an IACBE accreditation team in the spring. Along with the re-accreditation, the IACBE’s report gave the division two commendations, which are awarded for demonstrating excellent performance. One commendation was for the Business Division’s leadership role on campus. The report said “Based on interviews with other units, faculty, staff and students, the Business Division is highly respected on campus and often looked to for advice and help in assessment and other important items such as committee work.” The Business Division (and LCSC as a whole) also was praised for its “excellent strategic planning process that is well integrated with all constituents and ties to budgeting decisions, mission and vision statements, and the overall general welfare of the institution.” I wholeheartedly agree with both commendations and thank Business Division chair, Delta Heath-Simpson, and her team for their work on the project and for continuing the division’s tradition of excellence.
Congratulations are also in order for the Lewis-Clark Service Corps which recently received a grant for $287,521 from Serve Idaho, the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism, to continue its AmeriCorps program. LCSC will use the grant to fund 32 AmeriCorps members who will serve as tutors and mentors to students in grades K-12. The program places individuals age 17 and older at host sites, including public or alternative schools, where they help economically disadvantaged students, students with special or exceptional needs, or underachieving students. The AmeriCorps team tutors and mentors with students to help them succeed in school. Lewis-Clark State College has always put students first and this program is no exception.
On a final note, I’m sure you’ve already heard, but I have announced my plans to retire at the end of the 2017-18 academic year after eight years as president and 15 years at the school. It’s been a privilege to serve as president of one of the finest institutions of higher education in the State and region. Our students are outstanding and LCSC will continue to help them achieve their goals and become lifelong learners, engaged citizens, and leaders thanks to our remarkable administrative team, faculty, and staff. Lewis-Clark State College is a strong, vibrant institution poised to do even greater things for our students and the region, and though Diane and I will no longer reside on campus, the college will always be near and dear to our hearts.
As we begin our first full month of the academic year, I wish you all the best and encourage you to keep LCSC’s Homecoming, Oct. 16-22, on your calendars. I hope to see you there!
J. Anthony Fernandez
President, Lewis-Clark State College