For the Pocatello Norby family, its Idaho State University roots run deep.
“ISU is ingrained in my family and it is pumping through our blood,” said Callan “Cal” Norby, a junior majoring in chemistry. “We’ve been here basically since the beginning of the school. It opened up in 1901 and nine years later Ed senior was here and the Norbys haven’t left since.”
Cal with his younger freshman brother Ian are attending ISU this fall. The first Norby to attend ISU was Cal’s aforementioned great-great grandfather Ed who attended ISU in 1910 when it was still Academy of Idaho and then became the Idaho Technical Institute.
The next generation of Norbys isn’t represented, but Ed senior, was able to attend ISU for 12 years and play in six different sports, including football, during that time because he gained extra eligibility when the school changed classifications. He’s inducted into ISU Sports Hall of Fame and is mentioned in the ISU history book, Idaho State University, A Centennial Chronicle.
The next Norby to attend ISU, when it was actually named Idaho State University, was Ian’s and Cal’s grandfather, Craig, who attended from 1973-77, graduating with a business degree in finance and came to ISU on a football scholarship. Craig was a wide receiver on the football team and led ISU in receiving his junior and senior years. One of the highlights of Craig’s career was beating the University of Wyoming in Laramie the first game of his junior year in 1975.
“I have a lot of great memories from ISU,” said Craig, who now manages Robertson Supply Company in Pocatello. “I played with a lot of great guys, we had a pretty good team and Holt Arena was a unique facility back then. At the time, it was only the second domed stadium on a college campus. That was pretty special.”
Craig’s son and Cal’s and Ian’s dad, Aaron, attended ISU from 1992-98 and earned a nursing degree. He now works at the Portneuf Medical Center in the operating room. Aaron, too, played football at ISU and came to the school on a football scholarship.
“I played my first two years and then got hurt (two ACL surgeries), so it wasn’t much of a football career for me,” Aaron said. “My dad and great grandpa had better football careers than I had, but I had a good experience. It was great meeting people and traveling with them throughout the West and Midwest and playing football. The first day I showed up at the nursing program I was on crutches.”
Aaron’s wife, Jill Johnson Norby, who now works in hospice at Heritage Home Health in Pocatello, also graduated from ISU and ran track. Other family members who attended ISU include Aaron’s mom, Susan, who is a nurse, and his aunt Nan (Norby) Phinney who is also a nurse. Craig’s sister, Jackie Czerepinski, also graduated from ISU and is a former instructor at the University.
This is not an extensive list of all the Norbys who have attended ISU, but demonstrates the roots the family has in ISU.
All the Norbys interviewed for this story complimented ISU’s scholastics.
“I love the chemistry program,” Cal said. ”In my opinion it is the best chemistry program in the state because of its emphasis on undergraduate research.”
His father also appreciates the education he received.
“We think ISU is a great school,” Aaron said. “We have that running through all of us. We are just real thankful everyone is so close and it is as inexpensive as it is because it is a very good school.
“I thought it was a great education but the more I talk to people, like my son, the more I appreciate how good it is. It is a great school, with great professors.”
Aaron’s sentiments were echoed by his father.
“We all have a special place in our hearts for Idaho State University,” Craig said. “We just have a lot of pride in the school and hopefully it achieves its goals academically and athletically. It is an absolutely excellent institution as far as its academics go. It provides an education second to none.”
The Norby Family: (left to right) Jill Norby, Aaron Norby, Susan Norby, Cal Norby, Craig Norby, Ian Norby, Jackie Norby Czerepinski, Nan Norby Phinney, Vernon Phinney