Meet three couples whose giving has strengthened Boise State in diverse ways
For every scholarship, piece of new equipment, bolstered program and updated facility that affects Boise State students’ lives, there’s a story.
Some stories go back years. Others involve serendipity. But passion is a constant. Meet three pairs of donors who found their own reasons and ways to give and who will have a lasting effect on the university and the communities it serves.
David and Shelley Smith Eichmann: Loyalty builds through the years
When David Eichmann began attending Boise Junior College in the 1960s, the college gave few hints of the university it would become.
“I used to walk to school in the mornings from my home on the Bench through Ann Morrison Park,” Eichmann said. “The blackbirds would attack me as I went through the trees and the old football stadium was just a wooden mud pit in bad weather.”
Today, Albertsons Stadium is a concrete and steel edifice capped by the Stueckle Sky Center and famous for its blue turf. Distinctive modern structures dot campus. Boise State claims 33,000 students and nearly 170,000 living alumni. The Eichmanns have been there through it all.
David Eichmann worked as Boise State’s mail services manager for more than 14 years, expanding its offices and optimizing mail sorting and delivery. He retired to join his wife and fellow alum, Shelly Smith Eichmann, in the real estate business. They’ve remained active as Bronco volunteers: Both have served on the Bronco Athletic Association board of directors. David Eichmann has served on the Bronco State Alumni Association board and was a member of the Bronco Advocacy Network.
They’ve also been stalwart donors. Together, they made their first gift in 1982. Since then, they’ve given every year for more than three decades, often to scholarships, the Bronco Athletic Association and the administrative fund for the Stueckle Sky Center — gifts that led to their induction into the Lyle Smith Society, an elite giving society supporting Bronco athletics.
“It’s a great investment and we wanted to support a wonderful school,” Shelley Eichmann said. “We made the commitment and we stayed with it.”
David and Carol Wike: First donors to a dream project
In a video David Wike received from Boise State, an excavator scoops gravel and mud out of an embankment on the Boise River. A trickle of water grows and gains force, pushing open a new river channel. The channel, destined to become habitat for wildlife and a hub of education and research, is the latest addition to the Diane Moore Nature Center, part of the Intermountain Bird Observatory, a research and community education program at Boise State.
Shortly after watching that video, Wike rushed to the scene and gazed in amazement. “I was emotional, this had been a dream for years. I knew this was going to make a huge difference at that site,” he said.
Years of engagement and volunteerism led David and Carol Wike to become the first major donors to the channel project.
“We had to let people know there was somebody deeply involved who was willing to put up something to get things rolling,” David Wike said.
The Wikes started volunteering with the observatory in the mid-1990s, before they retired. David Wike was a doctor, Carol Wike was a nurse. Through the decades, they built relationships with many students, some of whom returned to the observatory as fellow volunteers, educators and staff.
“One of the things we’ve gotten out of this is how much we’ve been able to give back to the community,” Carol Wike said. “We’ve chosen this over a lot of other things because it’s fun, a way to stay involved in the out-of-doors and enjoy the friendships we’ve gained.”
Bruce and Janna Greenhalgh: Music lovers lowering barriers for others
They’re called “Man Food Nights” – Boise-area meetings of mostly male musicians potlucking with hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks and chili. It was at one such gathering that Bruce Greenhalgh changed his mind about making a planned gift to a national music scholarship and decided to make that gift to the Marcellus Brown Band Scholarship at Boise State instead. The scholarship is named for Brown, Boise State’s director of bands, who is set to retire in 2023 after more than three decades at the university.
“Marcellus was talking about setting up this foundation and the bell went off,” Greenhalgh said.
He and Brown share a desire to make the study of music accessible for more students.
“When we lose students over $500 a semester, we lose a student who can keep our program growing,” Brown said. “We lose some of the best students because we can’t be competitive in the market. What the Greenhalghs are doing will allow us to do that. I won’t know or see who benefits from it, but we all know those students will remember it was there and came at a time when they desperately needed it.”
Music forms a throughline in Bruce Greenhalgh’s life. His mother was his first music teacher. He grew up to play in some of the U.S. military’s most prestigious bands. He continues to play the saxophone and mentors young musicians.
Janna Greenhalgh, a pilot specializing in cloud seeding — a method that causes clouds to produce rainfall — works in Idaho and Saudi Arabia.
“We identified what’s important to our universe and how we’re going to move that forward. Music, specifically jazz, is the center of what Bruce finds important in the world, and he’s going to do what he can to help someone else do better than him,” she said.
By Harrison Berry