COEUR d'ALENE - Ron Vieselmeyer will not seek another term on the North Idaho College Board of Trustees.
Elected to the board in 2006, Vieselmeyer told The Press it wasn't an easy decision.
"I had so many people calling me and begging me to run again, I was conflicted," he said.
The 71-year-old said his wife Kate's five-year battle with cancer was a major factor in deciding to step away from the NIC board. She's in good health now, and as he gradually works toward retiring from his work as a counselor and minister, Vieselmeyer said he and Kate want to spend more time together "doing the things we planned for and dreamed about."
Recent events that have taken place on a much broader scale also figured into Vieselmeyer's decision. He was deeply affected by the mass shootings that occurred in June in Toronto and in July in Aurora, Colo.
Vieselmeyer lived in Toronto years ago and worked less than a block away from the site of the shooting in that city, and in June, he was in Denver and drove through Aurora.
The story of Jessica Ghawi, a 24-year-old aspiring sports journalist killed in the Colorado shooting, particularly touched Vieselmeyer.
Ghawi was in Toronto several weeks prior to the Colorado incident when a gunman opened fire in a shopping mall food court, killing two and injuring six. Ghawi narrowly missed becoming a victim.
Vieselmeyer recalled one of the news stories following Ghawi's death. "They quoted a blog she had written after the Toronto shooting. She wrote about how fragile life is, and then she was killed in Aurora," Vieselmeyer said. "All of that hit me ... I thought, 'What is really the most important thing?'"
He said serving on the NIC board has been a rewarding, enjoyable experience.
Vieselmeyer's six-year term has been a time of change on the NIC campus.
The board selected and hired two presidents: Priscilla Bell in 2007 and Joe Dunlap who took over in July following Bell's retirement.
During Vieselmeyer's term, the economy crashed, unemployment skyrocketed and NIC's enrollment swelled. At the same time, state funding for higher education declined.
The college completed the purchase of the education corridor property and oversaw the development of the infrastructure on the land, while Vieselmeyer was on the board. Vieselmeyer said that when he saw the NIC banner come down Sherman Avenue during the Fourth of July parade this year, he was moved.
"It just gave me such a sense of pride to have been a part of this in a very intimate way for the past six years," Vieselmeyer said.
He noted the banner's message indicating "NIC is your college."
"We need to change one word there. This is 'our' college. It belongs to the students, the staff and all of the community," Vieselmeyer said.
Vieselmeyer's seat is one of three up for election on the NIC board.
The seats held by Mic Armon and Judy Meyer are also up for grabs. Armon announced he will seek re-election on Nov. 6.
The deadline for candidates to file their declarations/petitions of candidacy is Aug. 31 at 5 p.m.