Monday, June 21, 2010

June 21: UI Summer School

On June 21, 1899, the University of Idaho began a summer school session that attracted a fairly substantial enrollment. It was, reportedly, the first summer school in the Pacific Northwest.
Summer school class, July 1899.
University of Idaho Special Collections.

Records show that salaries for the next summer school session, in 1900-01, were budgeted out of federal Morrill Act allocations. This suggests that the summer curriculum focused generally on courses within the “land grant college” umbrella.

Between 1901 and 1912, the University offered no summer school, despite its apparent popularity. This was perhaps because a new President, James A. MacLean, arrived at the school in 1900. MacLean spent much of his tenure alternately fending off legislative attempts to dismember the University while begging them for funds to erect necessary facilities.

Enrollment for the “restart” session in 1912 topped 200 students. While impressive for the time, it is dwarfed by today’s typical enrollment of 3 to 4 thousand.
References: Harrison C. Dale, Statutes and Decisions Relating to the University of Idaho, University of Idaho Press, Moscow (1944).
“Historical Timeline of the University of Idaho,” Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho.
Rafe Gibbs, Beacon for Mountain and Plain: Story of the University of Idaho, The Caxton Printers, Caldwell, Idaho (© The Regents of the University of Idaho, 1962).

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