When John Charles Olmsted developed the first comprehensive plan for the University of Idaho campus in 1908, he did so with a clear, reverent sense of what a “university” should look like and a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of people and place.
“The University as a whole, both grounds and buildings, without any suggestion of lavishness or over decoration, ought to exhibit clearly, in all its outward appearance, the fact that it is the place of work and of residence of cultivated and careful people,” he wrote in a letter to then University President James MacLean.
That sentiment has guided growth on the Moscow campus for decades, and those of us here today are the ones who benefit. The lush, tree lined Administration Lawn, the classic collegiate Gothic lines of the Administration Building, the harmony among most of the current buildings on campus regardless of age are legacies handed to the present by the wise and careful planners of the past.
In keeping with Olmsted’s vision, this Long-Range Campus Development Plan ties the unique physical features of the Moscow campus to the university’s strategic academic initiatives: to become a residential campus of choice in the West; to develop globally competitive research programs; and to expand outreach in both capacity and delivery. It provides a detailed framework for growth, innovation and change as well as for preserving the heritage of open space and natural beauty we value so highly.
When University of Idaho alumni return to campus, they inevitably mention the friends they made and the professors they had while they were here. But, they also talk about Hello Walk, the color of the leaves along Greek Row on sunny October mornings, the ring of the carillon at the end of the day, the small-town beauty of Moscow and the quiet elegance of the Palouse. Regardless of age or academic discipline, the one common feature that binds all who have spent time at the University of Idaho is the physical character of the place.
This plan — developed with the input of University of Idaho students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends — is a handshake pact with future generations
that we will preserve and pass along the legacy of beauty and order. It also will be a practical, cost-saving tool for today and tomorrow.
Thank you for taking the time to peek into our future. It is an exciting blueprint worthy of its heritage.