Distinguished Service Award
Dr. Jerry Beck, President
College of Southern Idaho
Twin Falls, Idaho
Dr. Jerry Beck currently serves as the president of the College of Southern Idaho (CSI) in Twin Falls, Idaho. He did not follow what some may consider the "traditional" path to leadership in academia. An Idaho native, he began working at age 9 when he established a pop, ice and candy stand at his father's service station in Mountain Home. Even at that tender age he had the knack for recognizing a business opportunity—taking advantage of the summer traffic to and from Seattle’s World Fair. At 16 he already had his own motorcycle shop and a successful career as a motorcycle racer. He loved to work on engines.
In 1975, the engine repair company that Dr. Beck was working for at the time wanted to transfer him to California. Jerry did not like the prospect of moving, and was subsequently hired as a certified technical instructor teaching motorcycle and small engine repair. Although at the time he only had a high school diploma, he already had plenty of experience under his belt.
He was only going to stay for a year at CSI, but found that he liked teaching. He also realized that in order to continue to work in education, he had to continue his own education. He set his goal. He worked nights, weekends, and summers pursuing a B.S. degree in industrial/trade education. He also earned his masters degree and doctorate in adult education while working at CSI, serving as real life proof to others that "it can be done!"