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Boise State Names Engineering Building for Former President Charles Ruch

By: Sherry Squires   Published 7:15 am / November 1, 2017

Charles P. Ruch Engineering building

Boise State University named one of its main engineering buildings in honor of former Boise State President Charles P. Ruch as part of the College of Engineering’s 20th anniversary celebration on Nov. 2.

The Charles P. Ruch Engineering Building honors the legacy of the university’s fifth president, who played a major role in establishing the College of Engineering at Boise State.

“From his very first day on the job, Dr. Ruch focused on building support for new programs that would drive our fast-growing city and state to long-term success,” said Boise State President Bob Kustra. “Under his leadership, the university answered the call from a growing high-tech industry in the Boise valley to offer much-needed research and advanced degrees. It is hard to imagine what Boise or Boise State would look like today without the benefit of his vision, particularly for the Engineering College, which inspires our campus to continue to look to the future as we shape Boise State today.”

Left to right: former College of Engineering Dean Amy Moll; Boise State President Bob Kustra; former Boise State President Charles Ruch; College of Engineering Dean JoAnn Lighty; and inaugural College of Engineering Dean Lynn Russell

Ruch became Boise State’s president in 1992. By the time he announced his retirement in 2002, more than 1,400 students were attending engineering classes at Boise State. Since the inception of the College of Engineering 20 years ago, the college has granted nearly 3,000 bachelor’s degrees, more than 1,200 master’s degrees and 29 doctoral degrees. Today it offers 6 undergraduate degree programs, 11 master’s degree programs and 3 doctoral programs.

“As a new dean, I’m still learning the story of how the college evolved from the early years. But already, I have come to appreciate the leaders like Dr. Ruch who could envision the Boise and the Boise State University we know today — and the truly essential role that a Boise State College of Engineering would have in leading and supporting one of the nation’s most vibrant tech economies,” said College of Engineering Dean JoAnn Lighty. “The outstanding leadership that launched and grew our college over the past 20 years would not have been possible without some outstanding partners, and there is one longstanding partner that has stood out from the very start: Micron Technology, its foundation and its executives.”

Micron supported the formation of the college with a $6 million gift in 1997, has supported a number of engineering initiatives since, and recently committed the largest gift in Boise State’s history — $25 million to help build the state-of-the-art Micron Center for Materials Research.

“Engineering has been good for Boise State and for Boise, and Boise has been good to engineering,” Ruch said.

Ruch began his career as a high school counselor. In 1966, he joined the higher education ranks as a faculty member in the department of counselor education at the University of Pittsburgh. Before joining Boise State, he served as professor of education, associate dean and dean of the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. He went on to serve as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the Richmond, Virginia, campus. After retiring from Boise State, he served as president of the School of Mines and Technology in South Dakota.