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Remembering Jim Weatherby

Jim Weatherby headshot
Jim Weatherby

Jim Weatherby, a Boise State University professor emeritus in the School of Public Service, who from 1989 until his retirement in 2006 worked in the Department of Public Policy and Administration, died on February 20, 2024.

Weatherby held a master’s and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Idaho and a bachelor’s degree in history from Northwest Nazarene University. He joined the faculty of Boise State as director of the Public Policy Center, director of the Social Science Research Center, and a professor in the Department of Public Policy and Administration until his retirement in 2006. Weatherby was a co-author of “The Urban West: Managing Growth and Decline and Governing Idaho: Politics, People, and Power.”

Weatherby’s service and dedication to Idaho

Weatherby and his colleagues worked tirelessly on the annual Boise State Public Policy Survey decades ago, which continues strongly today as the Idaho Public Policy Survey.

Weatherby was a former executive director of the Association of Idaho Cities and was a member of the Board of Directors of the National League of Cities. He also served on the faculty at the University of Idaho and Northwest Nazarene University. In 1998, the Idaho City Clerks, Treasurers and Finance Officers Association named their highest award “The James B. Weatherby Service Award.” It is given annually to a person who has rendered outstanding service to Idaho cities.

Many Idahoans will remember Weatherby from his prominent coverage of election nights on KTVB, where for years he provided important commentary and helped educate viewers about the context of polling numbers in real-time. He helped provide perspective on Idaho issues to TV viewers throughout the Gem State through his work on KTVB and on Idaho Public Television as an analyst and moderator, helping viewers to better understand political candidates and the issues of the day in a nonpartisan way.

In 2019, City Club of Boise presented Weatherby with its highest award: the prestigious Stimpson Award for Civic Engagement – an award truly befitting of Weatherby, especially with the City Club tagline, “things happen when people start talking.”

Betsy Russell, a former reporter for Idaho Press says “the well-informed words of [Jim] Weatherby have helped me, along with my readers, understand and make sense of a stunning array of political happenings in Idaho. In many ways, his perspective was so helpful because he’d been there.”

Stephanie Witt, a professor and training director in the School of Public Service, notes “the proof of Jim’s success is really in our students. We have legislators, mayors, people on city councils, state agency directors, people who run local agencies, nonprofits, in the Legislative Services Office, National Interagency Fire Center, Forest Service, and the list goes on and on. There hasn’t been a nonprofit or government agency in the region that hasn’t been touched by students who learned from Dr. Weatherby.”

In May 2023, Weatherby was the recipient of the School of Public Service’s “Enhancing Public Discourse Award” for his lifelong work promoting civil discourse and assisting Idahoans in understanding the complex world of politics.

Attend Weatherby’s memorial

Weatherby is survived by his wife of 54 years, Dana, and his children and grandchildren. A memorial for Weatherby will be held at 4 p.m. on March 12 in Boise State’s Alumni and Friends Center. The public is invited to attend.

The James and Dana Weatherby Endowed Scholarship Fund was established to celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of Weatherby. This fund permanently recognizes Weatherby’s achievements, as it will continue to support Master of Public Administration and Ph.D. students for future generations. Contribute to this fund.