Student Union Building
PO Box 444264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264
1031 N. Academic Way,
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
Ray Stark ‘75 remembers coming to the University of Idaho in the fall of 1971 as “a scared freshman from Boise who had never before been north of McCall.” He considered himself an average student with interests in political science and history.
“The University’s coursework and leadership opportunities allowed me to grow personally and academically, and excel in the college environment,” recalls Stark. At the end of his senior year, just weeks before receiving his bachelor’s degrees in political science and history, he received the Guy Wicks Award that recognizes an outstanding graduating senior.
“The award included a check for $200, and it was a godsend because it got me through the rest of the semester,” said Stark, who is now senior vice president of government and community relations/events for the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce.
The award, now called the Guy and Grace Wicks Memorial Award, is funded by an endowment created in 1968. It is one of 1,314 endowments managed by the University of Idaho Foundation that support academic and athletic scholarships, academic programs, outstanding faculty, research, the arts and more. Endowments are created by donors because of the lasting impact of the investment. The money that creates the endowment is invested and only the earnings are distributed back to the University to support the endowment’s purpose.
This fall, the Foundation is marking two milestones. The first is the 50th anniversary of the Consolidated Investment Trust, which was created in 1959 as a vehicle to pool the endowments for investment purposes. The second milestone is the distribution of the 100-millionth dollar – $106 million, to be exact – in investment earnings back to the University of Idaho.
“Here we are, 50 years later, and more students than ever before are receiving scholarships,” said Frances T. Ellsworth, Foundation chairman. “The foresight of those in 1959 to establish the C.I.T. and the donors who have given so generously over the years is remarkable.”
For Ray Stark, the impact of a financial award while he was a student has never been forgotten. In return, he made his first gift to the University – $25 to an endowed scholarship – in 1977, two years after he graduated.
He returned to the University to earn a master’s degree in public administration in 1979, and that led to a position with Idaho’s Legislative Budget Office. Since 1980, Stark has made 79 financial contributions to the University that range from $5 to $1,000. Some of his favorite areas of support include the H. Sydney Duncombe Excellence in Political Science Endowment, the Sigma Chi Seven Founders Scholarship Endowment and the Fred Winkler History Endowment. He also contributes to the Vandal Scholarship Fund, an appropriate cause because Guy Wicks, in addition to serving as a Vandal basketball coach and assistant dean of men, also started the Vandal Boosters organization, which later became the Vandal Scholarship Fund.
“Some people joke about the value of a political science degree, but in my case, it directly led to my successful careers in government and with a business association,” said Stark. “The University of Idaho experience changed my life, and I’m committed to helping extend that legacy to generations of Vandals in the future.”