Written by Christina Marfice and Mallory Barker
In a statement released Friday afternoon, Boise State President Bob Kustra lamented the loss of “one of (Boise State’s) own,” Micron Chairman and CEO Steve Appleton.
“(Appleton) played a critical role in transforming Boise State into a research university serving the tech economy of Idaho,” Kustra said. “I valued his friendship, his generous support and especially the advice and counsel he provided me personally as we navigated our way through the recent recession.”
Since graduating from Boise State with a business management degree in 1982, Appleton has not forgotten his alma mater.
Micron and Appleton himself have made numerous contributions to the university and from the Appleton Tennis Complex to the Micron Business and Economics Building, his legacy can be seen from one end of campus to the other.
In May 2011, Micron donated $13 million for the development of a docotorate program in the engineering department, marking the largest single charitable gift in Boise State’s history.
“We really appreciate the ongoing support Micron and Appleton have given to Boise State University,” said Amy Moll, interim dean and professor of the materials science engineering
“I appreciate Steve Appleton and Micron’s contributions to the program,” said Kosette Leperi, an 18-year old freshman majoring in materials science and engineering. “He will live on through all those who have or will benefit from his generous donations.”
Micron and Appleton have shown a vested interest in promoting excellence at Boise State and have proven this even beyond monetary gifts.
As one of the leading internship providers for Boise State students, Micron has employed 85 students for internship credit in the last five years, said Anne Evans, the assistant director at Boise State’s Career Center.
“A lot of our students had or have wonderful careers through Micron and Steve Appleton,” Evans said.
In addition to internships, Micron partners with Boise State’s Extended Studies program to offer classes at its facilities.
“Extended Studies works with Micron to identify courses which have direct application to Micron’s workforce,” said Larry Bierle, coordinator for Micron at Boise State Extended Studies.
The classes are offered at times convenient for Micron employees to attend, and having classes on site at Micron saves students the time it would take to travel to campus.
Micron also offers assistance paying tuition for its employees who study at Boise State, further promoting higher education for its workforce, and according to Micron’s Education Program Coordinator, Paula Smith, employees are taking advantage of the incentives to study.
“This semester we have three BSU classes onsite,” Smith said. “In the three BSU classes, 19 of the 33 students are Micron employees.”
Flying small planes had been a longtime hobby of Appleton’s and a desert crash in 2004 caused many to wonder how his potentially dangerous hobby might affect Micron.
Appleton played as hard as he worked, a contributing factor in his death in the crash of a small plane at Boise Airport. Following the 2004 accident, in which Appleton sustained minor injuries, the Idaho Statesman reported that Micron executives had a plan in place to ensure a smooth transition in leadership should it ever become necessary.
According to a statement on Micron’s website, “(Mark) Durcan, in his role as president of the company will assume the responsibilities of CEO until a successor is appointed by the Board of
Durcan announced last week that he intended to resign from his role as president in August.
When asked whether Micron already had a plan in place addressing succession of leadership within the firm, Micron representatives declined to comment, saying only that the company would release further information as soon as it became available.