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Carmelita Spencer

Carmelita Spencer

Family & consumer sciences alum Carmelita Spencer of Grangeville is quick to say why she just donated half a million dollars to the University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

“The most important thing in life,” she said during a recent interview, “is to do everything you can to help. You can’t give to anything more important than education.”

Her donation will help remodel the foods lab in the college’s School of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS). The new lab is part of a remodel planned for the FCS’s historic brick building on campus. The new lab is likely to be named for Spencer once the 1950s-era lab is updated to meet modern requirements.

FCS is especially dear to Spencer since she studied that same discipline from 1939 until 1943. “Of course, it was called Home Ec. in those days,” she recalls. “But it was a great curriculum then, and it still is vitally important!”

For three years Spencer taught home economics in high school. After marrying John Spencer, she gave up teaching to help him raise four children. She also made volunteerism the foundation of her life, supporting Grangeville’s Syringa Hospital and founding the Bicentennial Historical Museum. She also helped local schools, the PEO, AAUW, Idaho Public Television, and the Republican Party.

—from the Summer 2009 issue of CALS' Programs and People magazine

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