BOISE -- Boise State University is Steve Appleton's alma mater, and his contributions to the school have been monumental. Following his death on Friday morning, BSU students and faculty were already looking for ways to continue the visionary's legacy.
Appleton, Micron largest financial donors to BSU
Appleton improved education and athletics in many ways, both financially and otherwise. Appleton helped BSU's tennis teams with the Appleton Tennis Complex built right in the center of campus.
Appletonwas instrumental in developing the College of Engineering and the College of Business and Economics. He established the Micron Foundation, which led to huge donations for a new Micron Business and Economics building, which is now under construction. The largest gift ever to the university was $13 million from Micron to create a new Ph.D. program in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
'Steve Appleton was just like you'
For the Bronco men's tennis team, which plays in the facility emblazoned with Appleton's name and image, Friday's practice started with a talk from Head Coach Greg Patton. Patton has known Appleton for more than 20 years and considers him a good friend.
You know how much Steve cared about this program, Patton told his players at practice. Steve Appleton was just like you. He's a guy that had dreams, well he did something about his dreams didn't he?
'He never forgot his roots'
Appleton came to BSU in 1978 on a tennis scholarship. He was captain of the team his senior year, and won the Big Sky doubles championship. Even after his success with Micron, he never forgot his Bronco background. Appleton watched the team play as recently as last week.
He was thrilled, you know, he talked about the football team, and he was thrilled to see his school.... This is his school. This is where he went. This is the school that made him, Patton said.
He never forgot his roots, BSU President Bob Kustra said. He never forgot where he came from back home, and he never forgot that he was a Boise State grad. He always looked out for the little guy. He came from a little guy background, and I think more than anything else, I'll remember him as a CEO who never never once thought that he was leading the life of a CEO. He was leading the life of somebody who was meant to help others.
'He reached that star'
He was a doer, Patton said. That's the thing folks. There's a lot of people that are wishers and they wish upon a shining star. He was a doer. He reached that star. You know. He reached that star.
Moving forward, Patton is certain Appleton's BSU legacy will move others to achieve greatness. Before practice began with drills, Patton told his team: The way we can honor him is be the best we can be.
We have a responsibility to uphold his expectations, Patton said. I'm not going to let my players ever forget. He is one of them, and look what he achieved.