Programs & People Summer 2004 Issue

Outstanding Alumni:
Scott R. Simplot Honorary Doctor of Administrative Sciences

Scott R. SimplotScott R. Simplot is an outstanding citizen, business leader, and public servant. Chairman of the board of the J. R. Simplot Company for a decade, Simplot has guided all company activities and been liaison between the board and senior executive management. The J. R. Simplot Company, with more than 13,000 employees, is a principal driver of the Idaho economy. It is one basis of the state’s reputation for worldclass potatoes, and the company has also diversified into vegetables, fertilizers, cattle, turf grass, and processing and distribution systems.

Growth, research, and diversification
Under his leadership, the J. R. Simplot Company established its own research unit to advance the cultivation and processing of potatoes and to improve turf grasses, cattle breeding, and cattle nutrition. Simplot, a 1968 UI alumnus and MBA holder from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, 1973, emphasizes the company objectives of continual learning and problem solving through the application of science and technology. He also remains committed to “work that benefits humanity.”

A person of modesty, Scott Simplot’s quiet leadership and influence have been instrumental in the company’s success. Similarly, he has helped build a spirit of cooperation between the University of Idaho and the company. He has advocated sound, science-based research in solving agriculture’s challenges and has personally sponsored a number of ground-breaking research projects. He sponsored a portion of the construction of the biotechnology laboratory addition to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, which brings honor to the University of Idaho as a world-class research institution.

Bringing opportunities to Idaho
His investments in “cutting edge” industries have brought opportunities to Idaho, the nation, and the world. He was an early advocate of using computers and information technology to change the business world. He was a founding member of the board of directors for Micron Technology, which has become Idaho’s largest private employer. Simplot’s community commitment extends to volunteer efforts. He has helped such public groups as the Chamber of Commerce and the Salvation Army; his most recent involvement is as chair of the expansion of the Idaho Food Bank, to help alleviate hunger across the state. In recognition of lifelong achievement, public service, and significant contributions to the state of Idaho and the nation, the University of Idaho conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Administrative Science during commencement ceremonies May 15, 2004.

Alumni Awards and Recognition

Nick Purdy ’62 received the Jim Lyle Award on March 11 for his long-term dedication and service to UI and the college.

Erling Johannesen ’45 was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in March.

Idaho Rep. Douglas R. Jones ’72 was named Legislator of the Year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization in December 2003.

John Mundt ’67, ’73, ’89 received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Agriculture in the education/advocacy category on February 11.


© 2004 University of Idaho, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

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