Education Measured by Impact: U-Idaho Celebrates 30 Years in Coeur d’Alene

Friday, November 19 2010

Written By Donna Emert

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Universities often are celebrated for their impressive brick and mortar presence.

This year, University of Idaho celebrates 30 years in Coeur d’Alene. Its presence is weighed not so much in bricks and mortar as in impact.

“As the state’s land grant university, the University of Idaho’s mandate is to serve the state’s citizens, businesses and other organizations, whoever and wherever they are,” said Richard Reardon, interim associate vice president for Northern Idaho. “Higher education empowers the citizens of northern Idaho, individually and as a community.”

U.S. Census data consistently illustrates that empowerment as economic as well as personal. In 2008, the most recent numbers crunched, average earnings for those with advanced degrees was $83,144 annually, and $58,613 annually for those with a bachelor's degree. Workers holding only a high school diploma earned an average annual income of $31,283.

Workers holding college degrees also experience less unemployment and report greater satisfaction in their work and their lives, according to Census data.

But higher education’s impact ripples out beyond the individual. That holds true for northern Idaho.

“All 12 of the companies that we’ve most recently recruited to the area have stated that access to education and an educated workforce are important factors in choosing to locate here,” said Steve Griffitts, president of Jobs Plus in Coeur d’Alene.

“All of them identified higher education as an important factor in their choice,” Griffitts added. “Just one recent example is ALK Abello, which located in Post Falls this summer. ALK Abello is a biotech company that ships throughout the world. They employ highly educated people, pay high wages and offer great benefits.”

A recent economic impact study, conducted by an outside agency, showed University of Idaho’s return on investment to the state of Idaho was $9 for every $1 dollar invested.

“Higher education opens new doors for individuals and positively impacts the region’s economy,” said Reardon. “We educate, but we also have renowned experts in many fields, and conduct practical, problem-solving research.”

“The University of Idaho-Coeur d’Alene is charging into our next 30 years in northern Idaho with enthusiasm and resolve,” Reardon said. “We have great programs, wonderful community and Education Corridor partners, and dedicated alumni. The opportunities here are limitless.”
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About the University of Idaho

Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year. The University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation classification for high research activity. The student population of 12,302 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For more information, visit

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit