Lewis–Clark State College
|Colors||Navy, White, & Red|
|NAIA – Frontier Conference|
Lewis–Clark State College is a public college in Lewiston, Idaho. Founded 128 years ago in 1893, it has an annual enrollment of approximately 3,600 students. The college offers more than 130 degrees and is well known for its social work, criminal justice, education, nursing, and technical programs.
In 1893, Idaho Governor William J. McConnell signed an act on January 27 authorizing the establishment of the Lewiston State Normal School in Lewiston. There was a catch, however: "Provided the mayor and common council of that city on or before May 1, 1893, donate ten acres, within the city limits and known as part of the city park, and authorizing the said mayor and council to convey to the trustees of said normal school the said tract of land," etc.
The first Trustees on the school's Board were James W. Reid (who had done the most to shepherd the authorization bill through the legislature), Norman B. Willey (who had just stepped down as Idaho governor), Benjamin Wilson (a previous gubernatorial candidate), J. Morris Howe, and C. W. Schaff. Reid was elected President of the Board, a position he held until his death in 1902.
Lewiston residents lost no time in obtaining the required space for the school. However, the legislature acted slowly in providing construction funds, and then construction lagged. George E. Knepper had been hired as first President of the Normal School. Frustrated by the delays in getting his building, Knepper leased space in downtown Lewiston and opened for classes on January 6, 1896. The building itself was not ready until May. Over the next several years, more structures were added to the campus, including dormitories and a gymnasium.
In keeping with the Normal school philosophy, Lewiston Normal focused on practical, hands-on training for new teachers. That meant they provided a great deal of “manual training” – what we would call vocational education. Also, to insure that teachers truly knew how to handle a classroom, the School ran an on-campus training school. In it, real teachers taught real pupils, but student teachers also learned-by-doing under the supervision of experienced teacher-critics.
Until the 1920s one-room schools served well over half of Idaho's primary students. In most, only the teacher knew anything at all about running a school. Thus, in Keith Petersen's words, “teachers assumed responsibility for shaping a district's entire educational policy.”
World War I certainly impacted the nation's normal schools, but not as much as it did conventional institutions. Generally, male students were in the majority at regular colleges, many of which experienced brutal enrollment losses. Normal schools attracted a predominantly female student body, so the declines were much smaller – about 15% at Lewiston Normal.
The school experienced a painful crisis on December 5, 1917, when the Administration Building suffered severe damage in a fire,  later determined to be arson by a student. Its cupola collapsed into the gutted interior of the main structure and the older east wing was totally destroyed. Lewiston Normal survived that disaster and continued to grow, as the demand for pre-college teachers increased. However, by the late 1920s, the "normal school" idea was being supplanted by a "teachers college" approach. Such colleges still focused on teacher education, but now students could earn a bachelor's degree – more and more often required for certification. Recognizing this trend, school supporters began a campaign to change Lewiston Normal's status. They also began the painful process of upgrading the faculty – inciting much ill will.
Supporters also fought an ongoing battle just to keep the school open; some legislators still wanted to close the Normals to save money. The advent of World War II squelched that notion. Not only did the school continue to turn out desperately needed teachers, it also expanded its nurse-training program, and produced large numbers of fliers in its Navy Air School. In 1943, the Board of Education raised the school to full four-year status and became North Idaho Teachers College (NITC). Now with the ability to grant a B.Ed., school leaders took it upon themselves to use the name Northern Idaho College of Education (NICE), and the legislature approved the name change in 1947.
The school got another temporary reprieve from the cost-cutters when a deluge of veterans funded by the G.I. Bill hit the campus after the war. However, that wave passed, and in 1951 budget hawks succeeded in closing the school, as well as its counterpart, SICE in Albion in southern Idaho. The state's other colleges had assured legislators that they could supply all the teachers needed. That promise proved disastrously wrong: In just three years, the state found itself issuing nearly 40% more provisional teaching certificates than it had in 1951.
Under that pressure, the legislature re-opened the school as Lewis–Clark Normal School in 1955 as a two-year school under the administration of the University of Idaho, thirty miles (50 km) north in Moscow. The first dean of LCSN was appointed for the third year in 1957, and enrollment was 319 in the fall of 1961. The arrangement with UI proved difficult and it ended abruptly in 1963 when the affiliation seemed like it might damage the university's academic accreditation.
The ongoing need for teachers, a developing shortage of nurses, and a new push for vocational education from the federal government combined to rescue the school from oblivion. The state legislature voted to elevate it to four-year status in 1963 but did not approve funding until two years later. Enrollment of the now-independent, four-year school grew, by from 465 in 1964 to 1,033 in the fall of 1968. It continued to grow and in July 1971 the name was officially changed to Lewis–Clark State College. It was the last Normal school in the country to make the change.
Lewis–Clark State competes in intercollegiate athletics in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily in the Frontier Conference. The school colors are navy blue, white, and red, with a team nickname of "Warriors." Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, tennis, and track & field. Women's sports teams are nicknamed "Lady Warriors" and include basketball, cross country, golf, tennis, track & field, and volleyball.
Absent for a decade (1952–61), baseball returned as an intercollegiate sport in 1962. Since 1984, the team has won nineteen NAIA national championships; sixteen were under head coach Ed Cheff, who retired after 34 years in 2010. LCSC has hosted the NAIA World Series at Harris Field since 2000; it also hosted from 1984–1991. The elevation of the field is approximately 850 feet (260 m) above sea level.
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