It’s not every day that a gift to the university comes in the form of organisms thought to be among the oldest living things on earth. However, it did happen recently here at Boise State. It reminded us that gifts come in different shapes, sizes and forms, and that the impact of giving also can look very different, at least at first glance. Consider these two examples of impact:
- Rejuvenating an entire ecosystem and making important discoveries in climate change and pollution rates.
- Restoring and revitalizing a major national park in Mozambique, Africa.
These are actual outcomes—the impact of donors supporting Boise State in very different, yet related, life-changing work in partnership with the university’s department of biology. The two forward-thinking donors are Dr. Roger Rosentreter and Mr. Greg C. Carr.
Rosentreter is a botanist retired from Idaho’s Bureau of Land Management. Now he lectures across the west on a variety of subjects from fire, rangelands and home protection, to sage-grouse habitat in Idaho.
In a manner he describes as more of a hobby, Dr. Rosentreter has collected lichens for more than 40 years. Now, they’re part of Boise State’s living, vibrant collection at the Snake River Plains (SRP) herbarium, serving researchers world-wide. You don’t even have to know what lichen or herbaria are to comprehend the importance and value of such a gift, because the actual impact comes through decades of research and discovery taking place here and around the world. Thanks to Rosentretter’s living collection, Boise State can contribute to the kind of research that’s protecting and healing our planet—tracking climate change, pollution rates, and more.
Idaho Falls native, Greg Carr is this year’s honorary doctorate of humane letters at Boise State. Known for his incredible entrepreneurial spirit and passion that inspired many successful business ventures, Carr is recognized for conservation projects across the United States and, internationally, to Africa.
Carr’s financial support of Intermountain Bird Observatory programs and his Gorongosa Restoration Project in Mozambique have opened up avenues for Boise State researchers and helped to elevate avian research to the international sphere. Boise State’s research techniques are needed in a part of the world where the study of bird migration reveals globally significant insights. And, the impact of supporting this research program translates into something of enormous importance—restoration and revitalization of one of the world’s greatest national parks.
Although these stories of donor support illustrate different forms of giving, both are wonderful examples of local philanthropy with significant global impact. When donors support Boise State’s department of biology they are, quite literally, changing the world.
Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.