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New Scholarship to Honor Ross Vaughn

By: Sherry Squires   Published 9:33 am / May 22, 2014

Ross Vaughn

Ross Vaughn

Boise State University, the College of Education and the Department of Kinesiology have created a dean-level scholarship to honor former faculty member Ross Vaughn’s 40 years of service with the university. Vaughn retired as associate dean of the College of Education in 2013.

A dean-level award provides a half-tuition scholarship to an undergraduate student.

“Ross not only led much change at the university, but his leadership and innovative ideas helped advance education in Idaho,” said Diane Boothe, dean of the College of Education, in announcing creation of the scholarship. “Ross pioneered in the study of biomechanics at Boise State in the late 1970s and early ’80s. He taught a course titled biomechanical kinesiology, and it was unique in that he built the first-ever biomechanics lab at Boise State to support the class.”

The scholarship was made possible through the commitment of several individuals, including:

  • Bob Murray, founder of Sports Science Insights LLC, former director of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and Boise State exercise physiologist from 1980-85. He said “A scholarship is a big deal because it is a way to recognize talented students and provide much-needed financial support to help them realize their academic dreams. In this case, the Ross Vaughn Scholarship also recognizes Dr. Vaughn’s many contributions to Boise State University, foremost among them his unwavering dedication to helping students succeed.”
  • Robert “Boo” Heffner, (BS, physical education, ’86), executive vice president for Falck USA, one of four recipients of the 2013 Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Alumni Service Awards. “Dr. Vaughn’s ability to take complex topics and make them fun proved to be invaluable,” Heffner said. “He is a true pioneer in the field of sports and human performance.”
  • Karl Benson (BS, physical education, ’75), former Western Athletic Conference and current Sun Belt Conference Commissioner, 2006 recipient of the Boise State Distinguished Alumni Award and former Boise State baseball student-athlete. He said “While I will always remember Ross as my coach and the one who gave me the opportunity to pursue my love of coaching baseball, which led to my career in college athletics administration, I also will remember him as a teacher. I am sure he has inspired many more in the classroom as he inspired me on the baseball field.”
  • Bob Schuler (BBA, accountancy, ’80), vice president of distribution accounting for Albertsons LLC and former Boise State baseball student-athlete. “Ross Vaughn was a great teacher of the game of life and the game of baseball,” he said. “While I never had him as a classroom teacher at Boise State, his knowledge and emphasis of the basics always made me respect him.”

Vaughn taught undergraduate and graduate biomechanics for more than 30 years. He also was instrumental in supporting the concept of building a new student recreation center while he was chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (now Kinesiology). He worked closely with recreation director Kevin Israel, ASBSU President Jeff Klaus and ASBSU Vice President Darryl Wright, a kinesiology major, to sell the concept to students and Boise State President Charles Ruch, and to gain State Board of Education approval for the new building.

Vaughn, along with Murray and Ron Pfeiffer, interim associate dean of education, inserted the sciences into all aspects of kinesiology curriculum. This was a major turning point for the department and it established the foundation for many undergraduate and graduate degree plans today. These three faculty members, later joined by Werner Hoeger, also wrote a weekly column titled “Focus on Fitness” that was carried in newspapers statewide for many years.

Boothe noted that Vaughn, as a department chair, was well regarded as a thoughtful and objective leader of a dynamic and rapidly changing department. During his tenure the department refined its focus on undergraduate and graduate education so as to align it with national trends.

Vaughn joined the Boise State faculty in 1973 and during his tenure served as:

  • Head baseball coach, 1973-1980
  • Director of intramurals and recreation, 1973-1981
  • Graduate program coordinator, 1992-1994
  • Department of Kinesiology chair, 1994-2003
  • Education associate dean, 2003-2013
  • Department of Educational Technology interim chair, 2012-2013

If you would like to make a gift to the Ross Vaughn Dean’s Scholarship for Kinesiology, click here.

Click here for more information about giving to Boise State student scholarships, the university’s greatest need and top philanthropic priority.