Close friends and colleagues of the late state Sen. Clint Stennett want to pass on his legacy by creating a scholarship at his alma mater. However, they're faced with the daunting task of raising more than $100,000 before that dream can become a reality.
Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Gov. Butch Otter, Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, and Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, have banded together with Idaho State University to form the Clint Stennett Scholarship in the College of Arts and Letters.
Stennett earned his G.E.D in 1973 and attended College of Southern Idaho for a year and a half before earning a journalism and advertising degree from Idaho State University. He was the longest-serving minority leader in the Idaho Senate, and served in the Legislature for nearly 20 years.
Jaquet said Stennett was always an advocate for higher education, not just on the Idaho Senate floor, but on a more personal level.
"He realized that education was the thing that let him be successful," she said. "This was a really good way to establish a legacy for Clint. It really made sense."
Michelle Stennett said her husband was so passionate about higher education because he believed it was the great equalizer.
"He always felt like [education] was a level playing field, that anyone could go on and do something if given a hand," she said. "It made a huge difference in his life, it was why he was able to succeed in what he was doing, and he wanted to give that opportunity to other students."
The scholarship will be available for Blaine County residents with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in high school majoring in any course at the university's College of Arts and Letters. Financial need will be a consideration, which Jaquet said is especially important due to the current recession.
"People will say that Idaho tuitions are pretty reasonable, but that's only if you live in a different state," Jaquet said. "Here, our incomes are lower. Sending a child to college is a huge effort."
But raising the money needed for this scholarship could become a huge effort as well. To that end, Jaquet, Michelle Stennett and Ketchum residents Trish and Dave Wilson are holding a fundraising lunch on Wednesday.
Michelle Stennett said the lunch is set to coincide with the Idaho Governor's Cup fundraiser, and will mainly be to inform potential donors about the scholarship, while asking them to contribute to the endowment.
The event itself is free, though donations will be accepted. For more information, call Wendy Jaquet at 720-0968.
Katherine Wutz: firstname.lastname@example.org