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History and Mission of the College of Southern Idaho

"To provide quality educational, social, cultural, economic, and workforce development opportunities that meet the diverse needs of the communities we serve."
Adopted 1/19/2016

The College of Southern Idaho represents a shared vision and a collaborative effort of the citizens of the Magic Valley. This vision began to take form as early as 1952 when a Stanford doctoral student wrote his dissertation, "A Junior College Survey of Twin Falls County, Idaho." Several years later (1960) the Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce established a junior college committee to actively pursue financial support to make this vision a reality.

At the same time, classes began in Buhl under a private and unrelated institution called Southern Idaho College. An inadequate tax base caused the Board of Education to discontinue the effort, although many of the individuals involved later helped develop CSI.

Two years later the Federal Government facilitated the College of Southern Idaho's development by providing federal aid for building academic facilities. In 1963 the Idaho legislature passed the Junior College Act, which provided for the establishment of junior college districts. Twin Falls County voted to form a junior college district in November 1964. The following year Jerome County citizens voted to join the junior college district. Idaho Governor Robert Smylie appointed the first CSI Board of Trustees in the fall of 1964. They held their first meeting in January of 1965 and hired Dr. James L. Taylor as the first president the following month.

Starting in the fall of 1965, the first evening academic classes were held at Twin Falls High School, while vocational classes were held at a large building on Kimberly Road. The administrative offices were housed in the old hospital annex building on West Addison. Ground was broken for the first building on campus – the Fine Arts Building - in August of 1967. 'Doc' Taylor served as President until his death in November of 1982. Gerald Meyerhoeffer then served as president until his retirement in 2005. Dr. Gerald Beck became CSI's President in 2005 and served until his retirement in 2013. The board appointed Curtis Eaton, formerly the Executive Director of the CSI Foundation, to be the Interim President while a nationwide search was conducted for a new president. Ultimately, the board selected Dr. Beck's Executive Vice President, Dr. Jeff Fox, who assumed the presidency in January of 2014. In 2019, Dr. Fox announced his intention to retire. Following a national search, Dr. L. Dean Fisher was selected as the college's fifth president, taking office in June 2020. 

The College of Southern Idaho offers a variety of educational opportunities to the people of South Central Idaho from its main campus in Twin Falls as well as its centers in Burley, Gooding, Jerome, and Hailey.