Dr. Robert Kustra is in his tenth year as president of Boise State University, Idaho’s largest public university with an enrollment of more than 22,000 students served by 2,400 faculty and staff.
Early in his tenure, he established a strategic goal for Boise State as a metropolitan research university of distinction. The last decade has seen unparalleled growth that has redefined the university in academics, research and athletics, including a 20 percent increase in student enrollment, nearly a tripling of faculty awards and grants for research, and 17 major construction projects.
His administration has been marked by an emphasis on upgrading admissions standards, improving the undergraduate experience and creating a vibrant campus life, and increasing the number of graduate and doctoral programs, especially in science and engineering. In 2012-13, Boise State will offer three new doctoral programs.
Dr. Kustra led the first comprehensive campaign in university history, Destination Distinction, reaching in 2011 its goal of $185 million in private support for faculty, student scholarships and campus infrastructure. He is also instrumental in the fundraising drive to expand Bronco Stadium and the launch of a new scholarship campaign.
With a long and distinguished career in public service in Illinois, Dr. Kustra served two terms as lieutenant governor, following 10 years in the Illinois legislature, where he served in leadership. He also chaired the Illinois Board of Higher Education, responsible for funding and oversight of the state’s nine public universities.
Prior to joining Boise State, Dr. Kustra served a term as president of the Midwestern Higher Education Commission, following his presidency of Eastern Kentucky University. He has held faculty positions at Northwestern University, the University of Illinois-Chicago, Loyola University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois-Springfield.
Dr. Kustra was a member of the NCAA Division I board of directors and executive committee and served on the Presidential Task Force on the Future of Intercollegiate Athletics. He also served as a Commissioner of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. In 2007, he was inducted into the Idaho Hall of Fame and was named the Most Influential Person in the Treasure Valley by The Idaho Statesman.
Dr. Kustra hosts a weekly radio show, Reader’s Corner, for the National Public Radio affiliate in Boise. Now in its 10th year, the show features conversations with some of the nation’s leading authors about issues and ideas that help shape our world.
Dr. Kustra holds degrees from Benedictine College and Southern Illinois University, and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He and his wife, Kathy, have two grown children, three grandsons, and treasure the memory of their son, Steve.
Updated as of October 25, 2012