Philanthropy is a strong legacy. We are reminded of that, sadly, when we lose a dear friend like Keith Stein whose support of Boise State, with his wife Catherine, has had measureless impact on Boise State and our community.
Keith and Catherine have been generous to many Boise State programs, but none so much as the music and athletics departments. The Steins led the way for Boise State becoming Idaho’s first All-Steinway School with a gift that purchased 35 new pianos and created an endowment to support the ongoing care and upkeep of the instruments. The Steins philanthropy also re-established our marching band in 1986 and has long-funded scholarships, uniforms, travel and equipment for the Keith Stein Blue Thunder Marching Band as well as the Keith and Catherine Stein Band Hall in the Caven-Williams Sports Complex.
Catherine shared the story that Keith was inspired to support the band, in part, because he was such a fan of Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man – Harold Hill and Seventy-Six Trombones in the Big Parade. In addition to keeping kids out of trouble in fictional River City, music’s contribution to the development of cognitive skills, language and spatial intelligence is well documented, and there is evidence that music enhances the quality of life, aids in motivation and helps manage stress.
And then there’s the pure joy – the joy that Keith and Catherine’s benevolence has brought to so many. Each time the Keith Stein Blue Thunder Marching Band takes the field, Keith will be with us in every note. That’s quite a legacy.
Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.