Founding member of NIC Foundation retires from board
Amidee “Ace” Walden, 99, has witnessed many changes in the history of North Idaho College—73 years worth. So it was with a heavy heart that Walden recently decided to retire from the board of the NIC Foundation, a nonprofit organization that he and eight others founded nearly 30 years ago.
“I will miss all of them,” Walden said about his fellow board members, who voted in April to name him honorary director of the board after they read his letter of resignation. “One of the greatest things about this board that I learned was that you could disagree without being disagreeable.”
Walden, a lifelong Coeur d’Alene resident and avid volunteer, remembers when the college emerged out of the Depression era in 1933, beginning humbly with 17 students on the third floor of the former city hall building on Sherman Avenue.
He was in his 20s and working as a part-time janitor, messenger and bookkeeper at American Trust Company in 1930, just beginning what would become a 42-year career in the banking industry.
According to Walden, most people thought the college wouldn’t make it, that the times were just too tough. But he wanted it to be a success.
“North Idaho College has not only survived, but has flourished,” Walden said. “This has resulted from much well-directed energy by administration people, instructors, coaches, staff, employees, area citizens, and importantly, the students themselves. This area and especially Coeur d’Alene is proud of North Idaho College.”
When Walden was approached with the idea to establish a foundation to encourage private support for the academic mission of the college, he was eager to help. The nine charter members of the board, Walden, Barry Schuler, Gary Schneidmiller, Ralph Nelson, Margaret Ross Thrailkill, Romer Brown, Gerald Turnbow, Darrell Kerby and Jerry Schoendorf, established the foundation in 1977. After 29 years as a board member, Walden has seen the college enrollment grow to more than 4,300 students and the NIC Foundation grow from infancy to currently managing more than $10 million in assets.
“Ace Walden was one of the founding members of the North Idaho College Foundation Board and has been one of the most ardent supporters of NIC over the years,” said NIC Foundation President Dick Sams. “Ace is one of those people who can quickly identify the important points of an issue and offer sound advice on how to find solutions that work for everyone. His wisdom and sparkling wit will be missed by everyone on the North Idaho College Foundation Board and we thank him for his dedication and excellent work over his many years of service.”
Walden contributed the first major gift to the NIC Providing Opportunities—Fulfilling Dreams Community Campaign prior to the campaign kickoff in July of 2004. His gift of more than $25,000 through the campaign to equip the new building and raise funds for student scholarships named a classroom in the college’s new Meyer Health and Sciences Building in honor of his family.
Walden, who is also active with the NIC Booster Club, is proud to have been a part of other new building construction and land acquisitions at the college and to have helped guide its development. In honor of his service, Walden was honored by the NIC Foundation last year with the first Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the organization.
“I’ve done a lot of things with and for the college over the years and I’ll do more,” Walden said. “The world goes around.”
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NIC Foundation Executive Director Rayelle Anderson, (208) 769-5978Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2006