BOISE STATE NEWS RELEASE / April 14, 2009
Bethine Church to Receive Honorary Doctorate from Boise State
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Boise State University will award an honorary doctorate to Bethine
Church, widow of former U.S. Sen. Frank Church, during spring commencement
ceremonies. Commencement is at 10 a.m. May 16 in Taco Bell Arena.
“Having attended Boise Junior College many years ago, I deeply appreciate
receiving this honorary degree,” said Church. “I feel strongly connected to
Boise State, which contributes so much to making Boise such a vital and
interesting place to live.”
“Bethine Church and her extraordinary family are an integral part of the
fabric of Idaho and Boise State University,” said Boise State President Bob
Kustra. “Her example of selfless civic service and her uncompromising
devotion to and passion for the political process, the environment and the
betterment of Idaho’s citizens serves as an inspiration to us all. We are
pleased and excited to recognize the many contributions of this true Idaho
icon with an honorary doctorate.”
Church is known as the matriarch of the Idaho Democratic Party, where she
has been an active force her entire adult life. She is president and founder
of the Sawtooth Society, champion of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area
and founder and chair of the Frank Church Institute at Boise State. The
institute, established in 1982, hosts annual public policy conferences and
provides endowments for Frank Church scholarships and for the Frank and
Bethine Church Chair of Public Affairs.
Church was born into an Idaho family steeped in political tradition. Her
father, Chase Clark, and uncle, Barzilla Clark, both served as Idaho
governors, while her cousin, D. Worth Clark, was both a U.S. representative
She was often called the “third Senator” from Idaho because of her active
participation in public life during her husband’s tenure in the Senate.
Frank Church was elected in 1956 and served for 24 years, during which time
he was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. With her husband,
Bethine Church traveled the world and campaigned with him for president in
1976. She became a widow in 1984 when Frank died of cancer at the age of 59.
From 1942-43, Church attended Boise Junior College and in 1945 she graduated
from the University of Michigan with a major in sociology.
Church is the seventh person to receive an honorary doctorate from Boise
State. Past recipients include former astronaut/educator Barbara Morgan
(2008), Micron Technology CEO Steve Appleton (2007), CH2M Hill President
Ralph R. Peterson (2006), Chinese humanitarian Deng Pufang (2005), former
Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus (2004) and Hollywood director Michael Hoffman
Media Contact: Kathleen Tuck, University Communications, (208)
Boise State University is “The New U Rising” with record student enrollment,
new academic buildings, additional degree programs and a growing research
agenda. Learn more at www.boisestate.edu.
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Last reviewed on
Tuesday, April 14, 2009