City Club of Boise: Inaugural Marilyn Shuler Forum On Human Rights

Apr 25, 2018

Credit City Club of Boise


The City Club of Boise is pleased to present the inaugural Marilyn Shuler Forum on Human Rights, honoring longtime board member Marilyn Shuler, who passed away on February 3, 2017 at the age of 77. Pocatello native and former Evergreen State College President Thomas L. (Les) Purce, a friend of Marilyn’s and a staunch advocate of human rights, will headline the event, which will also honor two student human rights leaders, Colette Raptosh and Nora Harren, who will also speak at the event.

Described by Governor Butch Otter as “a guiding light and an Idaho icon of compassion and decency,” Shuler served as the executive director of the Idaho Commission on Human Rights for 20 years. She was an active volunteer in retirement, and among her other contributions served on the City Club’s program and Landmark committees.

Dr. Les Purce, a third-generation Idahoan whose family arrived in Idaho in the early 1900s, was the first black elected official in Idaho, serving as a Pocatello city councilmember and then mayor of Pocatello. Under Gov. John Evans, he served as the director of the Idaho Department of Administration and then as director of the Department of Health and Welfare. He then went on to senior administrative positions at Idaho State University and Washington State University.

In 1989, he took a position at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington as vice-president for college advancement. He rose to become executive vice-president of the college, and then interim president. In 2000 Purce was selected to be president of Evergreen, a position he held for 15 years. Under his governance, the institution continued its innovative approaches to interdisciplinary study in the arts and sciences, as well as its commitment to equity, inclusiveness, and social justice.

Dr. Purce holds an undergraduate degree in psychology, a Master of Arts in Education, and a Doctor of Counselor Education from Idaho State University. He also attended Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management. He is currently on the board of Heritage University, headquartered on the Yakama Nation in Washington State, and is also a commissioner on the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

A storyteller, musician and dynamic speaker, Dr. Purce will share his memories of Marilyn and discuss how she shaped Idaho’s commitment to human rights. Based on his family’s long history and experience in the state, he will consider where Idaho is on the journey for human rights and justice, and how he sees education intersecting with that quest.

Marilyn Shuler was dedicated to helping advance educational opportunities for young people, so as part of the event, the City Club will also recognize two students -- Colette Raptosh, a senior at Capital High School, and Nora Harren, a freshman at Western Washington University. The two founded People for Unity and organized the Women’s March in Boise in January, 2017, coinciding with the national Women’s March. Despite snow, more than 5,000 people turned out. Raptosh has gone on to organize more student rallies, and Harren is studying Environmental Policy with a minor in Law, Diversity and Justice. The two will discuss why they became involved in human rights issues, how that involvement has changed them, and where they see student movements evolving in the future.

Co-Chairs: Sally Long and Sue Reents

Moderator: Marcia Franklin