LEWISTON, Idaho – Marion Shinn, who helped found and build the first vocational school at Lewis-Clark State College in the 1960s, has donated $150,000 to the college’s new Schweitzer Career & Technical Education Center, college officials announced on Wednesday.
The announcement coincides with Shinn’s 99th birthday, also on Wednesday.
“We are so grateful to Dr. Shinn for his unending and incredibly generous support of Lewis-Clark State College,” LC State President Cynthia Pemberton said (She is pictured above with Shinn). “From his leadership and service as our first vocational dean, to his historical perspective and repertoire of colorful stories about LC State over the years, and now to this very generous donation, truly no single individual has played a larger role in the success of Lewis-Clark State College Career & Technical Education than Dr. Marion Shinn. We are forever grateful.”
The Schweitzer CTE Center is being built in the Lewiston Orchards and is scheduled to open in time for the fall semester. It will be a regional CTE center, serving the needs of students from LC State, neighboring Lewiston High School, and others throughout the region. The facility will house most of the college’s Technical & Industrial Division programs including auto mechanics technology, CNC machining technology, information technology, engineering technology, industrial electronics technology, and heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC-R) technology.
Shinn’s donation is the latest in a history of strong connections he has with the college. Shinn graduated from the college, then called Lewiston Normal School, and later began his career at LC in 1965 as the dean of vocational education. He also played a major role in forming the LCSC Alumni Association.
Shinn was born in Canfield in Idaho County in 1921, and moved to Lewiston at the age of 13 to live with an older brother in a rented apartment so he could attend high school. He graduated from Lewiston Normal School in 1940 and began his first teaching job in Dixie, Idaho, in a one-room log cabin.
After joining the Navy, he served as a radar technician on a submarine in the South Pacific during World War II.
Following the war, Shinn returned to the Lewiston area and married Lorena Neumayer in 1945. They lived in Pullman for two years, and the couple moved back to Lewiston in 1948 where he began teaching chemistry at Lewiston High School. He taught at LHS for 17 years, was the school’s debate coach, and served as the part-time coordinator of adult vocational education for the school district.
During the final 10 years of that time, the Shinn family, which included their son and daughter, spent their summers in Glacier National Park where he was a park ranger.
In 1965, Shinn took over as dean for Vocational Education at Lewis-Clark Normal School’s new vocational training program and the first semester had 70 students enroll. Shinn stayed on as dean until his retirement in 1981.
He served as a Lewiston city councilor during 1980-89 and even had a stint as mayor. Shinn has held numerous volunteer positions in the area and state, including several positions with the Nez Perce County Historical Society, home to the Marion Shinn Library, which he built.
After his retirement, Marion and Lorena traveled to more than 60 countries. The couple was married for 68 years.
In 1997, Marion was named as Idaho Retired Educator of the Year and was nominated for the National Retired Teachers Association 50th Anniversary Educator of the Year award.
Every year, the LCSC Alumni Office recognizes the outstanding contributions of an alumnus/alumna who has shown long-term dedication and service to the college and community with the Marion Shinn Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is in honor of Marion for his distinguished record of service and achievement.
To make a donation, or learn more about naming opportunities or to become an individual or corporate sponsor for the Schweitzer CTE Center call the LC State Advancement Office at 208-792-2458.