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College of Business Alumnus Establishes Scholarship Endowment in Memory of College Roommate

October 18, 2021

Four people holding a large check

College of Business alumnus Mike Hill and his wife Tamra Hill have established a new scholarship endowment in the Idaho State University College of Business. The Kerry P. Heintz Memorial Scholarship was established in the memory of Mike’s college friend, Kerry who passed away on January 30, 2021 at the age of 63. The scholarship will benefit juniors and seniors in the marketing program with preference given to Idaho residents.

“I’ve been very fortunate,” said Mike, who retired two years ago from IBM where he worked as a Sales Manager among other various positions for 18 years. “I’ve done well in my career and we were in a position where we could give back. My time at Idaho State was integral to what I ended up doing and have been able to do.”

Mike said the idea of endowing a scholarship came to him as a way to support the University that had made such an impact on his life and the life of his friend, Kerry.

“I wanted to do something lasting in his memory,” he said.  

Mike and Kerry met the first week of Mike’s freshman year at Idaho State in 1977. The pair started as neighbors in the Garrison Hall dormitory and later became roommates. According to Mike, Kerry would work all summer and budget his earnings well enough that they would last throughout the fall and spring semester before he would return to work again in the spring.

 “I remember Kerry having to work really hard to attain his education,” he said. “He was completely self-supported; he didn’t receive any help from his parents or student loans. I remember the second semester of his senior year, after he had paid for his books and fees, he had three dollars left and that three dollars was what he had to last him the rest of the semester.”

“Kerry really sacrificed a lot,” Tamra said. “He was truly what you would consider a poor college student. But he didn’t sit around and lament. He did what he had to do.”

The Hills said that for Kerry, his education was not something that was just handed to him. Despite the challenge, Kerry remained upbeat throughout his education and graduated with over a 3.0 GPA with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing. Kerry then spent most of his career working for Farmers Insurance as the Auto/Fire Underwriting Supervisor where he worked for 29 years while raising two children with his wife, Connie.

“Kerry went to college on his own motivation. He didn’t receive encouragement from his family, he worked hard and he earned his degree based on his own desire to do so," Mike said. “We wanted this scholarship to honor the legacy of someone who’s education wasn’t just given to him. Completing his degree put him on a path to do more with his life then he would have been able to do otherwise. This was his launching pad and he really did it all on his own with a lot of hard work and sacrifice.”

The Hills said that it is their hope that this scholarship will go to help support students like Kerry who are doing everything they can to earn an education.

After graduating, Mike and Kerry kept in touch although their lives and living in different cities did lessen their contact. Once both friends had retired, they began to talk more and had made many plans to get together in the future.

“They developed this college friendship when they were young and so many new changes were happening in their lives, then their friendship had come full circle when they sort of reconnected in retirement,” said Tamra. “It was very unfortunate because they had planned to make a whole new set of memories and then he was taken away. So, we wanted to do something in Kerry’s memory because we don’t get to make those new memories now.”

All of us in the Idaho State University College of Business are thankful to Mike and Tamra Hill for permanently endowing this new scholarship that will benefit our students forever,” said College of Business Dean, Dr. Shane Hunt. “The Kerry P. Heintz Memorial Scholarship is a testament to friendship and hard work that will help generations of Idaho State College of Business students reach their educational dreams.”

Mike graduated from the College of Business a year behind Kerry with his degree in marketing. “I had come to Idaho State from Ely, Nevada on an academic scholarship planning to pursue pharmacy.” After taking organic chemistry, Mike said his plans quickly changed and it was Kerry who suggested he try the College of Business. 

Contributions to Kerry’s and other scholarship endowments can be made through Catherine Rider, College of Business Director of Development at (208)282-4608 or catherinerider@isu.edu.



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