Dr. John B. Barnes was Boise State’s third president from 1967 to 1977. Barnes received a Bachelors of Arts in 1949 and a Masters of Art in Speech and Education in 1950 from the University of Denver. In 1955 he was awarded a Doctorate of Education in Administration of Higher Education from the University of Wyoming. Barnes was an author as well, having published two textbooks and 40 articles on academia.
He has had an extensive career with six colleges. From 1953-1955, he served as Dean of Adult Education and Community Services at Northern Wyoming Community College. He then went on to be Assistant Director and Bureau of Community Services at Southern Illinois University from 1955-1957. From 1957-1962 he was Director of Educational Research and School Planning and Professor of Administration at Arizona State University. He served as the first president of Arizona Western College from 1962 to 1967 before moving on to Boise State College. In 1977 he finished his academic career with Northern Arizona University as their Professor of Higher Education.
His tenure as president saw the construction of new buildings for Business, Science, and Education, Technical Education, Library Learning Center, Student Union expansion, Stadium, the Subal Theater, Vocational-Technical Building, Physical Education Center, Mechanical Technology, University Heights, University Manor, Vocational-Technical Food Service, the C/R and Warehouse for the Physical Plant, Lincoln Hall, Towers Residence Hall (rededicated as the John B. Towers on November 14, 1989), and the Special Events Center.
Barnes also helped expand academic departments and facilitated the transition from Boise State College to Boise State University. He helped to implement two graduate programs, Master of Business Administration and Arts in Elementary Education, internship programs, a Department of Social Work, Department of Accounting and Data Processing, Department of Business Education and Office Administration, Department of Economics, Department of Management and Finance, Department of Marking and Mid-Management, a School of Health Sciences, Department of Societal and Urban studies, the Honors Program, and the Office of University Development.
Barnes commissioned the Spirit of Broncos from retired professor Alfred Kober and the sculpture was installed in 1970. Notably, he created the first costumed mascot of Buster Bronco in 1974. In 1988 he was also inducted into Boise State’s Hall of Fame.
Dr. John B. Barnes died June 5, 2013.
University Archives, ASBSU, RG 2
University Archives, President’s Records, RG 5.3
“Boise State Remembers a President with a Lasting Impact“