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Presentation Addresses Potlatch’s Past and Future

October 17, 2019

MOSCOW, Idaho — Oct. 17, 2019 — What happens to the company town when the company leaves? That is the subject of the next Malcolm Renfrew Interdisciplinary Colloquiumat the University of Idaho at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22 in the Whitewater Room of the Idaho Student Union (formerly the Idaho Commons).

U of I’s Diane Kelly-Riley and Kit Stokes will join Gary Strong from the Potlatch Historical Society to describe how oral histories can be used to engage community conversations. Their presentation will share work from the Company Town Legacy Project, a multidisciplinary effort that explores ways that Potlatch’s past informs its future.

The program documents ways people from Potlatch sustained their community — once home to the world's largest White Pine mill — after the closure of the lumber mill in 1981. The presenters also will discuss Potlatch’s economic and cultural revitalization, including the annual “Return to Riverside” music festival.

Kelly-Riley is an associate professor of English and associate dean for research and faculty affairs in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, while Stokes is a library assistant in the Technical Services Division of the U of I Library. She is a recent graduate of U of I’s Master of Arts program in English. Strong is the vice president of the Potlatch Historical Society and is university librarian emeritus of the University of California, Los Angeles.

The Renfrew Colloquium is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President and the Office of Research and Economic Development.

Media Contact

Kenton Bird
Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Media

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The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at