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New Director of Development


Catherine Rider

WELCOMING A NEW Director of Development

“What motivates you?”

Catherine grabbed the framed scholarship award sitting on the podium in front of her, “This,” she said. As the youngest of seven growing up in Clifton, Idaho, Catherine Rider always knew she wanted to attend college like her mother, grandmother and sisters. “But, due to my family circumstances, I knew I would need to earn a scholarship to achieve that goal.”

Throughout her childhood and teenage years, Rider’s family lived well below the poverty line. “My father had served three tours in Vietnam after graduating from high school, and suffered from severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that went undiagnosed and untreated until after I had graduated from high school.” Rider said that although her father was a skilled tradesman and an extremely intelligent man, his illness led to difficulties in maintaining a steady job. “As the youngest child in the family, I saw the struggle that each of my older siblings faced when it was our turn to go to college. My parents weren’t able to provide financial support, but what they did provide us was an intense love of learning and a clear understanding that higher education could provide a more stable life for each of us.”

So, Rider worked hard to excel academically, earning the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation Scholarship through Idaho State University for $13,500. The scholarship was awarded over four years- a contribution that would end up paying for three quarters of her tuition. “That scholarship is what made it possible for me to achieve my goal of earning a college degree, and my decision to come to ISU changed my life in ways I could never have imagined,” said Rider.

In  2013, Rider completed her undergraduate degree in health education and in 2015 she completed her Masters of Physical Education in Athletic Administration, both from ISU. “These were some of the most challenging and rewarding years of my life as I worked two jobs while I was a graduate student. ”After graduating college, Rider worked for Idaho Central Credit Union before being invited to apply for a job as Director of Development at ISU’s College of Education. In the summer of 2016, she accepted the job. “I knew my life had been changed for the better by my decision to attend ISU, and that my scholarship is what made it all possible. So, I was excited by the prospect of having a job where I could help make a difference for students like me.”

When the position for Director of Development at the College of Business opened up in spring 2019, Rider was excited for the chance to apply. “The work of development is very personal to me because I experienced the impact of philanthropy firsthand,” she explained. “Being in a position where I can help facilitate those gifts for donors and getting to see the amazing generosity and impact that philanthropy has on our students and our University is an incredible opportunity.”

For Rider, she sees her role as a relationship builder, a facilitator and a trusted advisor to alumni and donors. “My role is to identify how a donor’s interests align with the needs and initiatives of our University. I feel honored to play a role in our donors’ philanthropic journeys.” Rider began working with College of Business alumni in mid-summer 2019. “I love ISU and I am proud to serve the University in a role that holds such a special meaning for me personally.”

To get in touch with our new Director of Development, email ridecat2@isu.edu.