By Adam Baker/News editor
Robert Kustra, former Eastern president, has been named president of Boise State University in Idaho. He will step into the position “around July 1,” according to Bob Evancho, Boise’s university relations interim director. Kustra served as president of Eastern from 1998-2001. He announced in February 2001 he would leave the university when his contract expired in June 2002, stating since several new members had been elected to Eastern’s Board of Regents, he felt the Board should have the opportunity to select a new president.
However, the Board unanimously voted to buy out his contract at a special called meeting in June 2001, sending Kustra on his way early. Kustra left at the end of June that year, and took with him a buy-out agreement including $170,878 for his salary for the 2001-2002 fiscal year and 20 percent of a deferred incentive plan. The university also provided both disability and life insurance until June 30, 2002.
Kustra’s departure prompted a national search for Eastern’s 10th president and the hiring of the university’s first female president, Joanne Glasser. After leaving Eastern, Kustra became president of the Midwest Higher Education Commission in Minneapolis.
Kustra was chosen from a field of four finalists in contention to replace Boise State President Charles Ruch, who announced he would be leaving at the end of the spring semester.
Kustra told The Progress on Monday he believes a university president’s job is one of the “most satisfying and challenging jobs in America,” and always knew he’d one day return to such a position.
“I knew that I would return to a presidency when I found a campus community focused on moving an institution forward and a governance system supportive of institutional goals,” he said. “I believe that I have found such an institution in Boise State University.”
While settling into the helm at Boise, Kustra said he will draw from his experiences at Eastern.
“I learned (from Eastern) that it takes fresh ideas from new people and proud traditions of the past to build a bright future,” he said.
Kustra, who holds a doctorate in political science, will earn $162,000 a year as the new BSU president.