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College of Eastern Idaho President Rick Aman to retire in July

David Pace, |  March 26, 2024

College of Eastern Idaho President Rick Aman officially announced his retirement Tuesday — leaving a solid legacy of leading and learning at the community college. | David Pace

IDAHO FALLS — After eight years at the helm, College of Eastern Idaho President Rick Aman announced his retirement Tuesday during a board meeting at the college. As the first president of CEI, Aman leaves a resounding legacy of leadership, having overseen the institution through its transformation from Eastern Idaho Technical College to a full-fledged community college.

His retirement is effective July 2024.

“What a privilege to be able to start a community college,” Aman said. “I was at the very beginning of this, and then ultimately hired as the founding president. There’s a lot that goes into these kind of colleges. I really feel like the idea of starting things is an area of skill and interest that I have.”

The retired Air Force Lt. Colonel has a history of seeking adventure and has served in numerous leadership positions at community colleges, according to his wife Linda Aman. He accepted the invitation to lead EITC, which later became CEI after 71.4% of voters approved the creation of a community college in May 2017.

“Community colleges are really a staple of many states,” Aman said. “It’s the idea of a two-year degree, skilled-based training, credit for prior learning, micro-credentialing, transfer to a university and just those pure trades opportunities — things like welding, nursing or energy systems — those are all components that go into career-technical education that ends in a job or the first two years of a bachelor’s degree transfer to a university.”

During his tenure, the college has greatly diversified its workforce training portfolio in cybersecurity and nursing.

Aman also highlighted the college’s progress in achieving accreditation from the Northwest Commission for Colleges and Universities and adding applied baccalaureate degrees.

“He has developed a culture that is strong,” CEI Board of Trustees Chairman Park Price said. “It’s great fun to be part of this board of trustees because everybody is aligned — the students, the faculty, the staff, the president, the trustees — we’re all aligned trying to make sure that we turn out students that have the right skills and get an education that they can be proud of, that they can be employed for.”

Aman credits his greatest legacy as hiring the CEI staff. The college offers a 13-to-one student-to-teacher ratio.

“A college like a university is a people business,” Aman said, “… This is a teaching and learning institution, so hiring the right kind of people who have a passion for their discipline, are good at teaching and are good at staying current in their discipline. At the core, what we do is teaching and learning.”

While he is excited for future adventures ahead, Aman remarked the announcement of his retirement is “bittersweet.”

But he is excited for the nearly 90,000-square-foot Future Tech building that is up-for-bid and anticipated to be constructed by 2026.

“We hope in April to be able to know if we can do a groundbreaking and start the building,” Aman said. “That is probably the most important undone thing as I look out into the future.”

Aman received calls from Gov. Brad Little, state legislators, and fellow university presidents as word of his announcement has spread across Idaho.

During the meeting, the Association of American College of Trustees was selected to commence a national search for Aman’s replacement. The college’s board of trustees anticipates a new president will be selected by July 31.

“This is the highlight of my career,” Aman said. “What a great place to be in, to move on to whatever might come next for my wife and I, but to leave a legacy of a college that is this successful is an important part. I’ll look back on it, and be glad that I had the opportunity to participate in it.”

CEI President Rick Aman and CEI Board of Trustees Chairman Park Price have worked together since the inception of the community college in 2017. | David Pace

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