A retired accountant, John Crim often sees things through the lens of their return on investment.
Ask him what makes Boise State University a good investment, and he’ll say it’s the pleasure of seeing its progress and maturing into excellence. “I’ve watched Boise State grow from a junior college,” he said. “We’re seeing what Boise State can do for Idaho and it’s exciting.”
Crim has done more than watch. Over 30 years, he has helped bring more than $1 million in gifts to Boise State — his first priority being the Crim Family Memorial Nursing Scholarship — though he has also given to the Accounting Endowment Scholarship, the Cecil D. Andrus Chair for Environment and Public Lands, and elsewhere.
His professional life has been just as varied, and he worked stints at firms like Moss Adams (CPAs), Ore-Ida Foods and, finally, Idaho First National/West One Bank (now U.S. Bank). He brought his no-nonsense business approach to recruiting some of the finest minds in Boise banking and finance as donors and advisors to the university.
His deepest investment is in the nursing program. “Sharon, my first wife and a Boise State nursing graduate, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer three days after I retired in 1994,” he said. Ten months later, “she was gone.” Before her death, however, Sharon agreed with her husband that the money they would have spent on their retirement trip abroad would become the base gift to endow the Crim Family Memorial Nursing Scholarship, which fully funds the tuition and fees of single parents going through nursing school. Sharon had been a non-traditional student herself, earning her nursing degree after one of their sons, Mike, was in medical school.
Giving back has been part of John’s life since the beginning. He has served on and chaired multiple boards shaping the region’s health, education and recreation. In addition to the Friends of Nursing and Accounting Department Advisory boards at Boise State, his service included the Downtown Boise Rotary Club, Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, and Bogus Basin Recreation Association. It was through the Bogus Basin Prime Timers (skiers 50 years or older) that friends introduced him to his current wife, Diane. “When I met a woman that could out-ski me, I knew she was special,” he said.
Over the past 24 years, Diane has joined John in his philanthropy to help non-traditional students achieve their dream of becoming registered nurses and graduates of Boise State. “When I hear these students’ stories they just blow you away with what they are juggling — family, work, class, training in the hospitals,” she said, “I appreciate them and all it takes to reach graduation.”
Since establishing the scholarship, the Crims have continued to put money into the fund, and in typical fashion, enlist others in giving, too. Also in keeping with John’s habits is the pleasure he gets in seeing the often dramatic change scholarships have on the lives of their recipients.
“The highlight of my life is to go to a scholarship dinner with Diane and have one or two of the scholars suddenly realize they’re doubling their income when they become a nurse,” he said.
The scholarship is a window into the mind and motivations of a man who has given significant energy and money to Boise State. “We’re motivated to help Idaho’s non-traditional students to be knowledgeable nurses and have exposure to all types of nursing careers, from patient care to leadership,” John said. “Nurses are an excellent investment.”