Campaign Goal: $225 million
$215 M

Leading a Legacy

Matt and Lori Espe

Supporting University of Idaho students, faculty, programs and facilities through private gifts is a solid investment in the investor’s philanthropic efforts, as well as the futures of those impacted, say alumni Matt and Lori Espe.

In addition to their annual gifts to their named faculty fellowship in the College of Business and Economics, the New Town Square, Penn. couple has included the University in their estate plan.

One of several reasons the alumni couple supports the UI, and encourages others to do so, is to help students experience the transformative academic life the University offers.

“We donate to the College of Business and Economics, (CBE) because I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my experiences at CBE,” Matt said. “Years before I got there, people made investments from which I benefited. So as alums, it’s only right for us to make a similar investment in the future and to create opportunities for the young men and women coming after us.”

“Higher education is such a transformative time in one’s life – it’s when a child goes from being a child to being an adult when you are maturing and learning responsibilities. It’s very, very important that everyone has a good opportunity to have this experience.”

Matt Espe, ’80, graduated from the CBE with a degree in marketing. In July 2010, he was appointed president and CEO of Armstrong World Industries, a leader in interior and flooring products. Previously, Matt held leadership positions for General Electric for 22 years and has lived all over the world with his wife, the former Lori Limbaugh, ’81, a CBE accounting alumna, and their four children.

“I credit the University of Idaho with everything I am today. I was a late bloomer and whatever development occurred for me, occurred for me at Idaho. I learned the value of teamwork, trust and accountability. It was a defining period in my life, and I would not be where I am today without my experience at the University of Idaho – which is why I give my time and resources to the school.

Lori is a member of the board of directors of the University of Idaho Foundation, Inc., where she serves on the finance committee.

A native of Fruitland, Idaho, Lori currently serves as Board Chair for Summer Search Philadelphia, a nonprofit organization helping low-income youth finish high school and college.

She says it concerns her that the percentage of Idaho high school students who continue toward higher education is relatively low.

“I’m hoping that the number of students attending college in Idaho will go up – that we, and others, through our support, can give that opportunity to more high school kids in Idaho, and they can transform their lives,” Lori said. 

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