New Perspective Ignited a Passion for Giving Back
Frank Fletcher Chose to Give Back to Vandal Students as an Inspired Alumnus
Frank Fletcher ’53, a passionate Vandal who was a friend to many at the University of Idaho, was the first to admit he was not a great student while attending U of I.
From 1948-53, Fletcher made sure to devote his time to “having fun” and “wasting time.” It wasn’t until he attended graduate school that he completely changed his perspective on higher education, with a strict devotion to studying, and later giving to support Vandal students.
“Education became a mantra for me after my experience as a graduate student at the University of Arizona,” Fletcher said. “As I recognized my personal ineptness at Idaho, I sought to ‘make amends’ by giving back what I squandered.”
Throughout his life, he has followed his father’s words of wisdom to “work, save, invest.” With a strong work ethic and savvy investments, he was able to save enough to be comfortable in retirement, while continuing to give back in a way that mattered deeply to him.
“I understood that my parents did not pay fully for my education,” he said. “In those days the state of Idaho paid a significant amount. And with that in mind, when I became financially able to give back, I wanted to do that.”
After a short stint in the U.S. Air Force, Fletcher decided to go back to school and earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Arizona in 1959.
“It was something I needed to do to prove to myself that I was good enough,” he said. “I began my real estate career near my home in San Jose, California, in 1970, where I continued to live after my retirement 1993.”
Fletcher was a member of the boxing team during his years at U of I, but, he said, “I never made it ‘big time.’ I admired Herb Carlson (’50) the most; he was a three-time NCAA champion and one of the best collegiate boxers in the nation.”
Later, when U of I Athletics staff contacted Fletcher about supporting current and future student-athletes through the Vandal Scholarship Fund (VSF), those conversations ignited a passion in him for his alma mater that he had never felt before. He had always loved sports and was now able to make an annual gift to help Vandal student-athletes find their success through education.
I sought to ‘make amends’ by giving back what I squandered.
Fletcher passed away on Aug. 5.
Fletcher’s relationship with Associate Athletic Director Tim Mooney, along with Executive Director of the U of I Alumni Association Kathy Barnard, further fueled his passion for U of I, inspiring Fletcher to give to other areas, as well. On top of his annual contribution to VSF, his expanded giving designations include the ICCU Arena, the Vandal Promise Scholarship and even a $500,000 estate gift to establish the Frank “BullMoose” Fletcher Athletic Scholarship Endowment for student-athletes in a variety of sports.
“What truly matters is how I may inspire others to study and learn,” he said. “I want students to be able to take full advantage of the opportunities offered at U of I.”
Fletcher passed away on Aug. 5, 2019, in his home in San Jose at the age of 88. He was honored to be able to share his story with his beloved Vandal Family, and his generosity lives on through the many students and programs helped by his unwavering support.
Article by Josh Nishimoto, University Advancement
Published in the Fall 2019 issue of Here We Have Idaho.