Boise State christened a new ballroom in its recently expanded and remodeled Student Union Building in honor of J.R. and Esther Simplot in recognition of the couple’s influence on and generosity to the university, the Treasure Valley and Idaho.
The elegantly appointed, 10,000-square-foot J.R. and Esther Simplot Ballroom is a center-piece of the SUB’s 67,000-square-foot expansion and is intended as a venue for more distinguished events hosted at Boise State. The announcement was made today by Esther Simplot and Boise State President Bob Kustra at an invitation-only dedication ceremony in the new ballroom.
“It seems more than fitting that, as the city and university grow hand in hand, we take this opportunity to name our new ballroom as a tribute to Jack and Esther, whose vision and support has so positively contributed to the economic and cultural development of Idaho,” said Kustra. “The impact of the Simplots on our university, city and state is legendary.”
The late J.R. Simplot’s rise and lifelong success as a businessman and head of the Boise-based Simplot Company is an integral part of Idaho’s modern history, as is the couple’s standard-setting philanthropic efforts through personal gifts and the Simplot Foundation, which long has supported numerous service, community and arts organizations.
The dedication continues the tradition of naming key areas in the SUB after notable and respected Idahoans such as Idaho Gov. Moses Alexander, Philo T. Farnsworth and Grace Edington Jordan, among many others.
The newly expanded and remodeled SUB is a cutting-edge gathering place for students and the campus community, as well as a display of Boise State’s metropolitan character. In addition to the new ballroom, it includes expanded areas for students to study and relax, deluxe office suites for student government and organizations, an expanded bookstore, the new Boise River Café, veteran’s memorial and wrap-around patio.
About 1 million students and visitors frequent the SUB each year. More than 12,000 reservations are made there — 90 percent of them by university departments and student groups. The Student Union also employs more than 150 students.