Something Out of Nothing
1893, Jan. 27 – Idaho Governor William J. McConnell signs act establishing Lewiston State Normal School, contingent upon the mayor and city council donating 10 acres within the city limits. The city of Lewiston came through, as it always has, and the rest is history – and a lot of it. The institution is the second oldest public college/university in Idaho.Stronger Together
More Than a Building
After more than two years of waiting for the Idaho Legislature to provide funding, the school’s first building goes up – the Administration Building. Now called Reid Centennial Hall in honor of James W. Reid (pictured above), who played a key role in the school’s founding, the historic structure stands as a symbol of LCSC’s perseverance and pride. It is one of the oldest buildings still in use in Idaho.
“To really know the story of this school is to think about its students, the thousands who have passed through its doors, students who came to exemplify the school itself: persevering, tenacious, hard-working, adaptive.”
Keith Peterson, author
‘An Excellent Beginning’
Seventeen female students make up Normal’s first graduating class. First president George Knepper said during his inaugural commencement address, “If a class one-third as large as the present one had happened before you at this time for graduation it would have been looked upon as an excellent beginning for this state normal.”
Hardened by Fire
1917, Dec. 5 – The Administration Buildings suffers severe fire damage as the east wing is totally destroyed. But Lewiston Normal, already known for its resiliency, doesn’t miss a beat. Classes continue that very day and the school only grows stronger. Historians have called the fire “a blessing in disguise” as it caught the legislature’s attention and spurred support.The Legacy of Henry Talkington
Lewiston Normal receives accreditations by the American Association of Teachers Colleges, The American Council on Education, and the Northwestern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. President John Turner, who served the institution from 1925-1941, leverages this along with the school’s record of producing exceptional teachers as political clout.
“Teaching is an art just as truly as is medicine, or dentistry, or law, or the ministry. We recognize that doctors and dentists must be trained in medical schools, lawyers in law schools, and engineers in engineering schools. Likewise, teachers must be trained in teacher-training schools.”
President John Turner
Ahead of Its Time
Lewiston Normal announces a number of innovations including night and weekend classes for working adults and the addition of new classes in disciplines like art, English, geography, history, math, biology, education, and music. But on a cold December day, just one day before the programs are to be implemented, Pearl Harbor is bombed, the U.S. enters World World II, and some of the school’s plans are put on hold.
Soaring to New Heights
Lewiston Normal is one of the nation’s 133 Navy-Civil Aviation Administration air training units and trains more than 1,500 flyers, more than any other location in the country. The federal government gave the school three responsibilities during WWII: produce teachers, train nurses, and teach naval cadets how to fly. Normal excelled at all three and continues to excel at producing quality teachers and nurses to this day.
2+2 = A Milestone
1943 – The Idaho State Board of Education authorizes the school to grant Bachelor of Arts degrees; after 50 years of service, the Normal progresses from a two-year to a four-year institution. Glenn Todd (photo: center), the institution’s fifth president, called the moment “A milestone in our history.”The Right Leaders at the Right Time
NICE is the New Normal
1947 – Lewiston Normal becomes Northern Idaho College of Education and takes a lead role in providing WWII veterans with exceptional educational opportunities. Enrollment grows and campus expands.
“All those beautiful dreams were there. We had the whole world before us. It was good to be young and strong and want a better world.”
Dan Emery (student, 1950)
1951, March 8 – Despite courageous and spirited opposition by NICE students and administrators, southern Idaho legislators and Gov. Len Jordan win a split vote and NICE is closed. “Somehow, some day, in ways we cannot know as yet, there may be here again a new commencement,” wrote the Lewiston Tribune at a somber August graduation ceremony. The graduates were the lucky ones though, as the rest of the student body (“Jordan’s Orphans”) now had to find a place to land.
1955, Sept. 22 – With an ever apparent shortage of teachers to meet the needs of the Baby Boomers, the Idaho Legislature returned to its senses and the school is reopened as Lewis-Clark Normal, a two-year institution under the University of Idaho. Administrators find the forsaken campus in disarray with buildings overrun by ivy and chalkboards still containing scribbles from four years prior.
A ‘Dramatic Comeback’
Lewis-Clark once again becomes a four-year school, helping solidify its very existence. The school also becomes independent from the University of Idaho.
“Lewis-Clark Normal School, a teachers’ college written off by the Idaho Legislature 15 years ago, is making a dramatic comeback. And though it’s just 33 miles from the University of Idaho at Moscow, the school appears to have developed a useful role among the state’s institutions of higher learning.”
United Press International
Building for the Future
Lewis-Clark adds a vocational school with Marion Shinn becoming its first director and 70 students enroll that fall. At the groundbreaking ceremony Gov. Don Samuelson said, “Today is a significant day. We are building to help meet the challenge of Lewiston’s bright future.” The Sam Glenn Vocational Complex is completed in 1968, the first building to be constructed on campus since 1951.
1967, March 12 – The new Nursing & Health Sciences Division honors its first students to complete the first year of classes. Grace Smith, the division's first director, oversees the ceremony. Today the division is LCSC’s largest and its graduates are revered as some of the best in the profession.
“Nurses do more for family and nation than most public figures, unselfish souls, whose everyday lives… border on the heroic.”
Sister Helen Frances, keynote address
‘LCSC’ is Here to Stay
1971, July 1 – The school, the last “normal” school in the nation, officially becomes Lewis-Clark State College. “Who can defend the name ‘normal’ attached to any institution in the state of Idaho? You might as well call it Lewis-Clark ‘Backward School.’ The term is outdated.” – Bill Hall, Lewiston TribuneExtraordinarily Normal
Speaking Their Language
LCSC’s long and storied history with the Nez Perce Tribe begins to flourish as the Lewis-Clark American Indian Club is founded and the school makes a concerted effort to design better classes to serve Native American students. One of only a few schools to offer a minor in the Nez Perce language, LCSC continues to celebrate this special relationship with its annual Native American Awareness Week.Speaking Their Language
LCSC expands its already blossoming international outreach by establishing the International Exchange Conference, a program that would bring hundreds of international businessmen and students to Lewiston. “I doubt that ever before in Idaho have so many distinguished visitors from other countries and states participated at the same time.” – Gov. Cecil Andrus. Today, the school is home to students from over 30 countries.
Ed Cheff’s Warriors win the first of what is now 19 national baseball titles. The championship elevates LCSC to a national stage and has since served as a rallying point for the college’s undying quest for excellence both on the field and off. All-American member of the 1984 championship team Scott Hormel wrote in 1990, “This coming June I will graduate from the University of Washington School of Medicine … To this day I honestly believe that my ambitions and goals would not have been attainable had it not been for Coach Cheff’s emphasis on academic excellence.”On the National Stage
A Symbol of Permanence
Enrollment grows to 2,800 and a new $6 million library is built. President Lee Vickers called it a “major step forward,” while many held it as a symbol of permanence and of victory over all those who had wanted the college to close its doors forever.Lifeblood of the Institution
Culture & Community
1991, July 19 – Lewis-Clark State College’s Center for Arts & History in downtown Lewiston is dedicated thanks to a donation by First Security Bank – one of the largest donations in school history at that time. Today, the Center serves as bastion of history and culture for the college, the city, and the region.
Restoring a Legacy
1993, Jan. 27 – LCSC holds its centennial celebration and the bell tower cupola is restored to its form prior to the 1917 fire -- everything except for the flag on top. The flag will be reintroduced on Jan. 27, 2018, during the 125th anniversary as a symbolic gesture to honor the college's founding vision and spirit of perseverance.
“The future belongs to those daring enough to take risks. Two distinct groups will emerge – the courageous who will lead, and the passive who will struggle.”
President Lee Vickers
Progress & Activity
The $15 million Activity Center is built and replaces Warrior Gymnasium (1935) and the adjacent 1909 annex and original gym. A new age for Warrior athletics begins. Today, nearly 200 student-athletes compete in 12 varsity sports at LCSC, most of which qualify for nationals every year.
An Arduous Journey
To meet the needs of Idaho’s critical nursing shortage, Sacajawea Hall, a $16 million state-of-the-art nursing and health sciences facility, is constructed. In front of the building stands the statue “Sacajawea Arduous Journey,” a fitting addition for an institution that has courageously traversed 125 years of hills and valleys.
Watch Us Grow
For the third straight year, Lewis-Clark State College sets school record for number of graduates (817). LCSC also sees its enrollment climb to nearly 4,000 students for the first time in school history, growing by 26 percent in 10 years.
“Our efforts to put students first, meet them where they are, and deliver quality programs at an affordable price are paying dividends. Enrollment growth in programs like those offered at LCSC is critical to the future of the state of Idaho.”
President J. Anthony Fernandez
A 100,000-square-foot, $20 million Career & Technical Education center is approved by the Idaho Legislature. The facility, to be built near a brand new Lewiston High School, will usher in a new and exciting era of collaboration between LCSC, high school students, and industry. A new residence hall is also planned to better support LCSC’s growing campus and overflowing dormitories.