Little-Known Facts About Idaho State University

Kayla Corless on Feb 15, 2023 6:00:00 PM

students group working on school  project  together on tablet computer  at modern university

As one of the earliest postsecondary institutions to be established in Idaho, Idaho State University is full of rich history that many of us may not be familiar with. Since the university was established in 1901, over a century of events have occurred that have resulted in the school that we all know of today.

Check out our list to learn some of the little-known facts about ISU!

ISU has been renamed multiple times since it was founded

Idaho State University was originally named the Academy of Idaho when the school was founded in 1901, but was later changed to the Idaho Technical Institute in 1915. By 1927, it was affiliated with the University of Idaho and was known as the Southern Branch for U of I. It was then known as Idaho State College by 1947 and officially named Idaho State University in 1963.

ISU has affiliations with Albion State Normal School

The Albion Normal School is one of the most infamous locations in Southern Idaho- mostly being known for its hauntings and Halloween attractions. However, this old two-year college was highly influential for offering students the chance to gain an education during its years of operation from 1894-1951.

After the college closed its doors, records were shipped to Idaho State University in 1959, which was the closest university to Albion Normal School.

ISU’s “March Through The Arch” is a tradition featuring an original piece of architecture

Incoming Idaho State University students are taught about the “March Through The Arch” tradition- new students enter the campus through the arch and exit as ISU alumni.  The arch, which is now in front of the Physical Science Complex, was actually part of an original ISU building.

Swanson Arch, originally part of Swanson Hall, is the only remaining architecture of one of ISU’s earliest buildings. Swanson Hall was built in 1902 and featured classrooms and administrative offices, but also had the school’s original library. Swanson Hall was condemned in 1973.

Red Hill’s “I” Was Originally a “T”

Idaho State University’s “I” has not always been on Red Hill! In fact, the original letter that was featured on Red Hill was actually a “T”, which stood for the Idaho Technical Institute- which was the name for the school in 1915. By 1926, the “T” was changed to a “4” to represent the school becoming a four-year institution. The following year, in 1927, the ISU “I” was created when the university was the Southern Branch of University of Idaho.



Albion State Normal School

Idaho State University

March Through the Arch

The History of ISU


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