Boise State President Bob Kustra announces he’s retiring

BOISE – After 15 years at the helm of Idaho’s largest public university, Boise State University President Dr. Robert Kustra announced today that he is retiring on June 30.

“Serving as president of Boise State University has been the privilege of a lifetime," Kustra wrote in a letter addressed to Boise State faculty and staff. "I will be forever grateful for being able to serve during this period of incredible growth and accomplishment for the university."

Since coming to Boise in 2003, Kustra has worked to create a metropolitan research university and fuel Idaho’s growing need for a technology driven economy.

Kustra was a former state lawmaker and lieutenant governor in Illinois before moving to Idaho.

Under Kustra, Boise State has seen a dramatic increase in research funding, new facilities, and graduates.

During his tenure, Kustra was a vocal proponent for the creation of the College of Western Idaho. The community college has seen tremendous growth since its inception 10 years ago, and now serves more than 24,000 students.

Kustra also launched an effort to transform the Boise State campus and the student experience. That effort led to more than $450 million in construction, including academic facilities such as the Environmental Research Building, the Micron Business and Economics Building and the Norco Building, which houses nursing and health sciences. The university expanded the Student Union Building by 60 percent and developed new housing options, most notably the just-opened 650-bed Honors College and Sawtooth Hall.

In the same years, Boise State constructed new football, basketball and softball facilities and the Stueckle Sky Center.

Boise State welcomed it largest first-year class in the school’s history for the past two years, has set enrollment records, and set a record for the number of graduates for nine consecutive years.

Nearly one-third of all students enrolled in college in Idaho attend Boise State University.

Under Kustra, BSU continued to embrace its role as an urban university by moving its entire computer science program into a new building in downtown Boise. That facility is just steps away from many software and high-tech firms that partner with the university.

A university spokesman’s says Kustra is away today on an all-day retreat with other executives and is not available for comment today.

Mayor Dave Bieter praised Kustra’s leadership in a statement released Wednesday.

"Every great city needs a great university and in the 15 years since Dr. Kustra has led Boise State, he has indeed put Boise State on the path to greatness," Bieter said. "When I met Bob in the first few months of his tenure, I knew he was the right person for the job. But since then, Boise State’s trajectory has been astounding – he’s accomplished much more than I could have ever anticipated in 2003. Bob has been president of Boise State since I was first elected, and it is difficult imagining someone else in that role. But, his hard work leaves Boise State’s next president in a great position to take the university even higher. "

The Idaho State Board of Education will now begin searching for Kustra’s replacement. The board is currently searching for two presidents to fill vacancies at Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College.

Here is a copy of the letter that Kustra sent out to his Boise State colleagues Wednesday:

November 15, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

Serving as president of Boise State University has been the privilege of a lifetime. After 15 years of service it is time to step down and I will do so effective June 30th of this year.

I will be forever grateful for being able to serve during this period of incredible growth and accomplishment for the university. It could not have happened without a faculty dedicated to teaching and research and as open to new ideas and unafraid of working across disciplines as any faculty in America. It could not have happened without a staff committed to serving our students and in excellence in all we do. And none of these efforts could have come to fruition without the generous support of our donors and alumni.

We also could not have succeeded without the interest and support of the members of the State Board of Education. I thank Board President Linda Clark and the other volunteer board members over the past 15 years for their commitment on behalf of Boise State and higher education in Idaho.

Kathy has been a full partner in this venture and she joins me in expressing our gratitude to all the members of the Boise State family and Boise community for the warmth, friendship and support extended to us. We have made so many friends in this wonderful community and appreciate the many opportunities we have had to serve.

Boise State has indeed become the Metropolitan Research University of Distinction we envisioned, but this is a journey not a destination, with many more exciting opportunities and challenges ahead for Boise State.

Needless to say, Kathy and I will be Broncos for life.

Warm regards,
Bob Kustra

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter released this statement regarding Kustra’s retirement announcement:

Every great city needs a great university and in the 15 years since Dr. Kustra has led Boise State, he has indeed put Boise State on the path to greatness. When I met Bob in the first few months of his tenure, I knew he was the right person for the job. But since then, Boise State’s trajectory has been astounding – he’s accomplished much more than I could have ever anticipated in 2003. Bob has been president of Boise State since I was first elected, and it is difficult imagining someone else in that role. But, his hard work leaves Boise State’s next president in a great position to take the university even higher.

© 2017 KTVB-TV

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