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Retired Professor and Hometown Hero Honored With Legacy Endowment

August 19, 2021

Retired Idaho State University professor, distinguished veteran, and Hometown Hero award recipient, Dr. Craig Nickisch, was honored with a legacy endowment in his name.  

Endowments at ISU are used to fund student scholarships and fellowships, campus programs, and help attract and recruit outstanding students and faculty to the campus community.

More than $35,000 was raised by former students, colleagues, friends and family members in honor of  Nickisch . This will provide approximately $1,300 every year for scholarships and will grow as more funds are added. 

“It was obvious that so many have tremendous love and respect for Dr. Nickisch and his wife, Marge,” Rich Ballou, the director of development who worked on the endowment, said. “They are special people who make everyone they come in contact with feel important.”

Nickisch was unaware of the efforts to raise money in his honor. He was given the news in a surprise celebration over Zoom. 

As an ISU professor, Nickisch taught German, Spanish, Linguistics, and a course for students going out to teach languages in area schools. Multiple times he was named the Most Influential Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences as well as being recognized as a Master Teacher, an Outstanding Researcher, and for Outstanding Public Service. 

Before coming to ISU in 1988, Nickisch graduated from South Dakota State University with honors. This earned him a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Universities of Munich and Erlangen in Germany. Nickisch received his master’s degree from Northwestern University, and after he entered the US Army as a Distinguished Military Graduate from ROTC. 

He served in the Army for 27 years. During which he was part of the Iran hostage rescue mission, a platoon leader of Navy Seal Team 2 in Central America, and served a tour of duty in Vietnam while being in armor, cavalry, infantry, and parachute units. He taught German and French while serving as a faculty member at the United States Military Academy at West Point where he taught for 11 years and started a program in linguistics. 

After retiring from ISU, Nickisch has worked on projects pertaining to veteran’s affairs as well as supplying learning materials to students in Germany and Madagascar studying English. 

He has been recognized as a Hometown Hero by the JRM Foundation. His many awards include the Legion of Merit, three Bronze Stars, seven Air Medals, the Federal German Cross of Merit, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. 

It has been one of my greatest professional honors to get to work with Craig and Marge and call them friends,” Ballou said.


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