Education

Boise State hopes to have its new university president by the end of May 2018

The Idaho State Board of Education announced on Tuesday that a search for Bob Kustra’s successor as president at Boise State will begin in January 2018 and hopefully conclude by the end of May 2018.

Kustra announced his retirement after 15 years as president in November. His tenure ends on June 30, 2018.

AGB Search, a national search firm specializing in higher education hires, will be used to help find a candidate, the Idaho State Board of Education said. A local committee led by Idaho State Board of Education President Linda Clark will also help make a final recommendation of candidates.

Kustra, 74, oversaw the development of academic programs such as the School of Public Service and the College of Innovation and Design, among others. The university saw record first-year enrollment multiple times during his tenure.

Kustra led BSU’s first major capital campaign, raising more than $175 million by the time it ended in 2011. And he oversaw a building boom — the university Wednesday tallied $450 million in construction — that included facilities for environmental research, business, health sciences and BSU’s Honors College. Roughly $82.5 million was invested into major improvements to football facilities.

A former Illinois lieutenant governor and state lawmaker, Kustra quickly appeared comfortable in Idaho politics — whether in meetings before the Idaho State Board of Education or dealings with Idaho’s governor and Legislature. He long argued for BSU to get more per-student funding, arguing his students essentially received less individual state support than those at other universities.

When Kustra arrived at BSU in 2003, fall enrollment was nearing 18,500 total students. As of October 2017, enrollment is at 24,154 students, nearly double the next closest four-year public university in the state (Idaho State, 12,643).

Michael Katz: 208-377-6444, @MichaelLKatz

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