Theater of Opportunity
While earning her Master of Fine Arts degree in theatre arts, Ginger Rankin ’06 was inspired to provide opportunities for Native American students to attend the University of Idaho. Now she and her husband, Dave Rankin ’06, are putting that inspiration into action with a scholarship endowment benefitting Native Americans and other minority students.
“While working on my MFA, a group of theatre students and I decided to bring Native American middle school and high school students from Coeur d’Alene to Moscow for a UI campus tour,” Rankin said. “This was the inspiration for my starting the scholarship, to provide encouragement for Native Americans and other minorities to attend UI.”
The Rankins met at Westminster College in Pennsylvania and were married in 1959. Two weeks later, the couple moved to Moscow; Dave had received a scholarship to study political science at UI. Ginger taught fifth grade in what is now the 1912 Center. The Rankins left UI in 1962, pursuing opportunities throughout the U.S., Grenada and New Zealand. They retired in Moscow in 1999. At age 62, Ginger entered the MFA program in the Department of Theatre Arts in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences.
“I had been a teacher for many years, and suddenly I found myself writing plays and seeing some of them performed,” she said. “My work in the theatre department opened up the opportunity for me to work in the Coeur d’Alene and Nez Perce communities, where I conducted playwriting workshops for young people.”
In 2017, the Rankins included UI in their estate plan, which will benefit the Ginger Minor Rankin Scholarship Endowment. This perpetual endowment fund provides scholarships for Native American students who might not otherwise be able to attend the university.
“Between the two of us, Dave and I have attended seven universities as full-time students. We both wanted to include UI as part of our legacy,” she said. “We understand that education is a human right. No one should be denied the joy and the advantages that higher education brings.
“Our hope is to let the young people know that we believe in them.”
Article by Joshua Nishimoto, University Advancement