Boise State Mourns Death of Professor, Former Dean Michael Blankenship

By Kathleen Tuck | Apr 22nd, 2011

The Boise State campus lost a colleague and friend Thursday, April 21. Following is a message from President Bob Kustra sent to faculty and staff.

Dear Colleagues —

It is with tremendous sadness that I note the loss of Dr. Michael Blankenship who died suddenly yesterday at the age of 56.  He was one of our most beloved faculty members. For the past decade, he has been an integral part of our campus community, serving as the past dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs and as a professor of criminal justice.

Mike was highly respected by his students, who were engaged by his lively debates; by his colleagues, who appreciated his passion for teaching and reforming the criminal justice system; and by the Treasure Valley community, who were touched by his outreach and advocacy. He will be missed as a vital member of our campus community.

Mike had an amazing personal story from GED to Ph.D.  A native of Asheville, N.C., he served as a police officer for seven years before earning a bachelor of science in criminal justice and a master’s in public affairs from Western Carolina University and a Ph.D. in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University.

He came to Boise State in 2002 from East Tennessee State University. During his tenure as SSPA dean, he initiated new research centers focused on urban and regional planning, aging, and Idaho history and politics. He also helped launch graduate programs in urban and regional planning, gerontology and anthropology. His research focused on capital punishment and white-collar crime. Mike regularly was quoted by local media as an expert on crime and social justice issues.

We express our deepest sympathies to his wife, Sheila, and his son, Ian. At this time, memorial service information is pending. During this difficult time, I remind you that campus counseling services are available for our students on the second floor of the Norco Building or by calling 426-1459.

Bob Kustra

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