50 Years: A History of CSI by Dr. Jim Gentry

50-Year History of CSI by Dr. Jim GentryRetired history professor Dr. Jim Gentry had already researched a significant portion of the history of the College of Southern Idaho by the time he finished his first book, ‘In the Middle and On the Edge: The Twin Falls Region of Idaho,' in 2003. Twelve years later, his new book, ‘Meeting Needs and Developing Opportunities: A History of the College of Southern Idaho,' coincides with CSI’s 50-year anniversary.

Twin Falls County voters approved the creation of a new junior college taxing district in November of 1964 and Jerome County voters followed suit the following year. CSI leaders chose to observe the school’s 50th birthday celebration to coincide with the 1965-66 school year, which was the first year CSI classes were held in what was then the brand new Twin Falls High School.

The first chapter of the book takes readers from what education was like in 1863 when President Lincoln created the Idaho Territory to the mid-20th Century when a surprising number of colleges in southern Idaho were started and eventually closed for various reasons. Chapters two through eight chronicle the fifty years from obtaining voter support and finding a location for the school to the point where Gentry had to end his narrative in the spring of 2015.

“Saying ‘it’s done’ was probably the hardest thing about writing this book. As a historian, it’s very hard for me to just pretend ‘the story stops here’ when there are important things happening every week and every month at CSI,” he said.

Gentry says he continues to write the chronology of CSI that he started in the 1980s and which became a key resource for the new book. He credits many current and former CSI administrators, faculty, and staff members who also provided their insights and feedback as the book was being written. Gentry also relied heavily on his own 40-plus year career as a CSI professor of history.

Published as a 290-page hardbound edition with many photos and illustrations, the book sells for $19.95 + $1.20 tax and is currently available at local retailers. Plans are also under way to make the book available for e-readers. For more information, please contact Kathy Deahl at 208-732-6201 or at kdeahl@csi.edu.

About the Author

Dr. Jim GentryAs Jim Gentry, Professor Emeritus of History, taught history from 1969 to 2010 at the College of Southern Idaho, he and the college grew older together. He relishes helping CSI meet needs and create opportunities. Having been inspired to research local history while completing his PhD in History at the University of Utah in 1985, he has been involved in researching and writing local history since that time. This led in 2003 to his book In the Middle and On the Edge: The Twin Falls Region of Idaho. This CSI history combines his experience at the college with his interest in local history.

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