College Mourns Death of Alumnus Dr. Mike Blankenship

It is with great sadness that the Department of Criminal Justice at Boise State University announces the sudden passing of Dr. Michael Blankenship.

Blankenship, a SHSU alumnus, passed away on April 21, 2011. He suffered a massive heart attack while he was walking across campus after teaching a class. Several students and colleagues were with him when it happened, so he was not alone. He died minutes after lecturing on the death penalty, an issue that he cared deeply about.

Blankenship came to Boise State in June 2002 as Dean of the College of Social Sciences & Public Affairs. In January 2006, he joined the Department of Criminal Justice on a full-time basis. Blankenship received his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University in 1988. He was an international expert in capital punishment.

While at Boise State, he taught courses on white-collar crime, the death penalty, gangs, and statistics, not to mention his large introductory criminal justice classes. He was a leader in teaching innovations, using state-of-the-art technology to facilitate student learning in his classes. His colleagues describe him as passionate about his teaching and reforming the criminal justice system, while also enjoying trips to Sturgis on his yellow motorcycle.

Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife Sheila and son Ian. Memorial service information will be shared through the BOISE STATE UPDATE as it becomes available.

Blankenship has a Facebook page with some more information, and where people can post their remembrances. Blankenship was a good, kind, and passionate man. This is a real tragedy, and a reminder none of us needed that life is short and that terrible things can happen to good people.

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