Boise State President Bob Kustra has announced his retirement. He will leave his position on June 30th.
Kustra talked about his time as president in a letter to the Boise State community this morning.
“Serving as president of Boise State University has been the privilege of a lifetime,” Kustra wrote. “I will be forever grateful for being able to serve during this period of incredible growth and accomplishment for the university.”
Kustra served as the Boise State President for 15 years.
In that letter, Kustra also thanked faculty and staff members and education leaders around the state. He called his wife, Kathy, "a full partner in the venture" and said she also wanted to thank the community for their support.
“Needless to say, Kathy and I will be Broncos for life,” Kustra wrote.
Here is Kustra's complete letter:
November 15, 2017
Serving as president of Boise State University has been the privilege of a lifetime. After 15 years of service it is time to step down and I will do so effective June 30th of this year.
I will be forever grateful for being able to serve during this period of incredible growth and accomplishment for the university. It could not have happened without a faculty dedicated to teaching and research and as open to new ideas and unafraid of working across disciplines as any faculty in America. It could not have happened without a staff committed to serving our students and in excellence in all we do. And none of these efforts could have come to fruition without the generous support of our donors and alumni.
We also could not have succeeded without the interest and support of the members of the State Board of Education. I thank Board President Linda Clark and the other volunteer board members over the past 15 years for their commitment on behalf of Boise State and higher education in Idaho.
Kathy has been a full partner in this venture and she joins me in expressing our gratitude to all the members of the Boise State family and Boise community for the warmth, friendship and support extended to us. We have made so many friends in this wonderful community and appreciate the many opportunities we have had to serve.
Boise State has indeed become the Metropolitan Research University of Distinction we envisioned, but this is a journey not a destination, with many more exciting opportunities and challenges ahead for Boise State.
Needless to say, Kathy and I will be Broncos for life.
In his first speech to the campus community in 2003, Kustra challenged Boise State to strive to become the metropolitan research university of distinction that the fast-growing city of Boise and the increasingly technology-driven Idaho economy needed to thrive. Over the next decade and a half, Boise State achieved that goal -- becoming Idaho’s largest graduate school and earning a doctoral research university designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education in 2016.
Through Kustra’s efforts, the University has been Idaho’s fastest-growing research enterprise, securing more than $50 million in research grants and contracts this past year -— more than twice as much as the year Kustra joined the University. “Boise State achieved its goal of matching the national average for the percentage of graduates earning degrees in the “STEM” fields of science, technology, engineering and math. This fall, Boise State was one of just five universities in the country recognized by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities for innovative and effective ways to boost student retention and graduation rates,” said BSU spokesman Greg Hahn.
Kustra was among the first to advocate for the creation of the College of Western Idaho. He shifted Boise State land, buildings and programs to jumpstart the effort when voters approved the community college.
At the same time, he launched a long-term vision for building the state-of-the-art laboratories, high-tech classrooms and student-centered facilities. The effort led to more than $450 million in construction, including academic facilities such as the Environmental Research Building, the Micron Business and Economics Building and the Norco Building, which houses nursing and health sciences, Hahn pointed out.
"The University expanded the Student Union Building by 60 percent and developed new housing options, most notably the just-opened 650-bed Honors College and Sawtooth Hall. In the same years, Boise State constructed new football, basketball and softball facilities and the Stueckle Sky Center,” Hahn added.
Under Kustra, the University moved its entire computer science program into one of the city’s newest buildings. Also, Kustra and the College of Engineering accepted the largest donation in university history, $25 million for the Micron Center for Materials Research, in 2015.
Nearly five times as many donors -— over 25,000 last year —- contribute to Boise State University today than when Kustra started in 2003. The University foundation’s assets have more than doubled to more than $180 million.
“Kustra also led the University’s first major campaign, Destination Distinction, which outraised its $175 million goal and became the most successful higher education fundraising effort in Idaho history when it ended in 2011. This year, Boise State announced it had more than doubled its goal and raised more than $50 million for student scholarships.” Hahn stated.
Research shows more than 80 percent of Boise State students remain in Idaho to live, work and raise their families five years after they graduate. “Perhaps even more telling, Boise State has become a top choice for students from around the West and elsewhere — and some 45 percent of these students remain in Idaho five years after they graduate, contributing to a significant ‘brain gain’ that helps fuel one of the nation’s strongest economies,” Hahn said.
Kustra recently interviewed his 500th guest on his Boise State Public Radio show, “Reader’s Corner,” which features conversations with leading writers, including many winners of top literary prizes and authors of bestsellers. His well-known love and appreciation of the written word helped shape the Campus Read, which connects all Boise State students and faculty around a single book or collection of readings each school year.
Kustra parlayed Boise State’s famous and unexpected win over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl into a launching pad for national recognition and a growing reputation as a leader in innovation and creativity, both in athletics and academics. He launched the School of Public Service to train the next generation of Idaho leaders and the College of Innovation and Design to reimagine how a public university should partner and collaborate with industry and others to best prepare students for long-term success.
“Kustra led a revitalization of the campus culture and a complete rebuilding of student support and success services. This fall, more that 2,800 students are living in university-owned campus housing -- many in discipline-specific living and learning communities proven to boost success and engagement, which were initiated during the second year of Kustra’s presidency,” Hahn said.