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Akersten Family creates Endowment for Idaho Museum of Natural History

August 15, 2022

The family of Dr. William (Bill) Akersten has created the William Akersten Vertebrate Paleontology Endowment at the Idaho Museum of Natural History on the campus of Idaho State University. 

The William Akersten Vertebrate Paleontology Endowment fund provides financial support for the IMNH Department of Vertebrate Paleontology to be used to fund research, field work, and student travel to professional meetings in vertebrate paleontology.

"The last few years have been extremely exciting for Idaho paleontology, and the Akersten family endowment comes at a perfect time. The William Akersten Vertebrate Paleontology Endowment will allow Idaho students and researchers to get out into the field and continue to make contributions to our understanding of the History of Life that only Idaho fossils can make,"  said Brandon Peecook, Assistant Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology.  

Akersten served as the vertebrate paleontologist at the Museum from 1985 to his retirement in 2009. His impact on students was tremendous. In 2018, the Museum honored Akersten as a Natural History Hero, and in 2019 former student

L.J. Krumenaker named a new species of Cimolodonta, a multituberculate mammal that he found in the Idaho Wayan Formation after Akersten: Cimolodon akerstenI. 

“Bill was a dedicated mentor to young paleontologists here in Pocatello," said Leif Tapanila, museum director. "We're grateful that this endowment will continue his legacy by supporting student research and public awareness of Idaho's rich history.” 

Akersten's family invites the community to an open house in his memory on Sept. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Museum. Refreshments will be provided. The family also encourages those who want to remember Akersten to contribute to the ISU Foundation with a memo William Akersten Vertebrate Paleontology Endowment and mailed to 921 S 8th Ave, Stop 8050 Pocatello, Idaho 83209-8050 or online at


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