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Idaho State Historical Society Recognizes Local ISU Champions of Idaho's History

May 30, 2023

This year, four individuals with ties to Idaho State University have been selected to receive the prestigious Esto Perpetua Award from the Idaho State Historical Society. 

Mary Thompson, Drusilla Gould, Hope Benedict, and Ronald James are among the awardees. 

The Idaho State Historical Society pays tribute each year to remarkable individuals and organizations that have dedicated themselves to preserving and promoting the rich history of Idaho and its communities. Established in 1999, the Esto Perpetua Award has recognized over 200 inspiring individuals and organizations throughout Idaho who have demonstrated unwavering dedication, commitment, and passion for the preservation and promotion of Idaho's history. 

Thompson, retired senior collections manager at the Idaho Museum of Natural History and well-respected paleontologist, has studied and cared for the Museum’s thousands of fossils and other specimens for more than 30 years. 

Goud, a retired lecturer and Shoshoni Language instructor from the Department of Anthropology at Idaho State University, has played a pivotal role in the preservation of Native American culture and language. Over her 30-year tenure, Drusilla not only taught numerous courses on Native crafts, traditions, and Shoshoni folklore but also collaborated with fellow faculty member, Dr. Chris Loether, to develop a Shoshoni language curriculum. Her expertise and dedication have been instrumental in ensuring the survival and promotion of the Shoshoni language, including the development of a unique writing system for this previously unwritten language.

"Drusilla Gould's contribution to the preservation and teaching of the Shoshoni language is immeasurable," said Katherine Reedy, Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Idaho State University. "Her expertise and commitment have made a lasting impact on our students and the broader community."

Benedict and James, both adjunct history faculty members, will also be honored with the 2023 Esto Perpetua Award. Benedict, teacher, author, and award-winning director of the Lemhi County Historical Society, has dedicated her life to educating others about Idaho's rich history. Her work with the Idaho State Historical Society has been far-reaching and she has been instrumental in expanding educational opportunities and increasing community engagement through historical tours, exhibits, and public programs in Salmon.

James, another recipient of the Esto Perpetua Award, has made significant contributions to the understanding of Asian American history in southern Idaho. As a teacher, researcher, and lecturer Mr. James has shed light on the long history and cultural contributions of Asian Americans in the region. His dedication to promoting historical awareness and fostering dialogue has been invaluable.

The Idaho State Historical Society will host a special ceremony on June 5 to recognize and present the awards. 


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