Skip to main content

Respiratory Care Honors Conrad Colby at Respiratory Care Alumni Celebration

Lutana Haan and Lonny Ashworth hold award and department plaque for new Dr. David Merrick Excellence in Respiratory Care award
Lutana Haan and Lonny Ashworth hold award and department plaque for new Dr. David Merrick Excellence in Respiratory Care award at 2016 Respiratory Care Alumni Celebration

Conversation and laughter filled the Boise State Stueckle Sky Center’s Skyline Room on the evening of Oct. 28 as Respiratory Care alumni, friends, faculty, staff and current students reunited for the inaugural Respiratory Care Alumni Celebration.

The event culminated the School of Allied Health Sciences’ Department of Respiratory Care’s celebration of National Respiratory Care Week. As the alumni and friends checked in, they enjoyed scanning the other name badges to find out who else they could expect to see. The room quickly was filled with the buzz of “catching up” during a social hour with a cash bar.

Just after the hosted dinner began, Lutana Haan, chair of the Department of Respiratory Care, gave a short presentation about the history of the department, recent accomplishments and where the department hopes to go in the future. The department faculty and students have gained momentum in their involvement at the American Association of Respiratory Care annual congress with multiple invited presentations and student research poster presentations. Two of the faculty are closing in on the final stages of their own doctoral programs and, in addition, the department is proposing a master of science degree in Respiratory Care.

Haan then invited longtime Respiratory Care faculty member and Boise State Respiratory Care alumnus Lonny Ashworth to the podium to present the first Dr. David Merrick Excellence in Respiratory Care Award. Merrick is a friend of the department and was the first medical director for the department with his tenure spanning 30 years.

Conrad Colby received the inaugural award for Colby’s dedication to the advancement of respiratory care. Colby is a Boise State emeritus faculty and an adjunct instructor for the Department of Respiratory Care. Ashworth detailed Colby’s service to the Idaho health care community, Boise State, and the profession of respiratory care. Ashworth credits both Merrick and Colby in being instrumental in Idaho requiring respiratory therapists to obtain state licensure.

“The department’s tradition of student focused education has been passed on from Conrad to the current faculty,” said Ashworth. “He is a leader and educator. He’s been active in the community – and has been active for years.”

Though Colby was not in attendance due to an unforeseen family emergency, the attendees gave him a standing ovation. Haan, Ashworth and a few other Boise State representatives gave Colby his award at a private dinner later.

The event ended with photographs of current faculty and students with alumni, including Merrick and a graduate from the very first Respiratory Care class.

This Alumni Celebration will be held again on October 27, 2017. If you need to update your contact information, please do so as soon as possible so that you will receive the official invitation. Visit to update your contact information.