| 03.18.2018

From politics to podium


As a University of Idaho graduate, a former member of the Vandaleers and Delta Delta Delta Sorority, a lifetime supporter of UI and wife of the late Idaho Sen. James A. McClure, Louise McClure has a lot to say to this year’s UI graduates. 

Hailing from Southern Idaho, McClure will make her way to Moscow next week and attend the graduation ceremony May 17 to address the graduates as the commencement speaker.

The former UI Bureau of Public Affairs research was re-established to honor the McClures’ dedication to Idaho in 2007 — now called the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

Interim Director of the McClure Center Priscilla Salant said she believes McClure was chosen as the commencement speaker, because of her unwavering commitment to higher education, particularly UI.

“She’s a lifelong supporter of the University of Idaho and she gained so much from her experience here,” Salant. “She’s from a small town and the University of Idaho broadened her horizons. She knows what a degree from our university can give someone and she can show that through sharing her personal experiences.”

Salant said McClure doesn’t just offer insight as an Idahoan, but as a well-informed and engaged citizen who can shed light on lessons she’s learned living in the public sphere during the past 60 years.

“As the wife of a very prominent and influential senator, Louise McClure traveled all over the world and has been exposed to so many critical issues facing our country,” Salant said. “So her knowledge of the world, and of politics — of how Washington works and how policy is made — is exceptional.”

Salant said she has become closely acquainted with McCLure and has come to the conclusion that she’s a special kind of person with the utmost passion for helping young people make their way into the world.

“I see her fairly regularly, we go out to lunch often and it’s been such a privilege to get to know her,” Salant said. “Just by speaking with her, I can tell her heart really is at the University of Idaho.”

McClure’s husband was a three-term senator who passed away in 2011 from a series of complications after a stroke. Salant said although her husband is gone, McClure has remained actively engaged in their alma mater.

“She’s likely to have great advice for those at the close of their college careers,” Salant said. “Perhaps the graduates will see her dedication and commitment and take her advice — it’s bound to lead to success.”

Amber Emery can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu



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