Governor Phil Batt passed away on Saturday, March 4, his 96th birthday and Idaho Day. The staff, board, and volunteers of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights mourn Governor Batt’s death and also celebrate his incredible legacy. We are honored to continue Governor Batt’s work championing human rights. Through providing the community with educational programming and resources, the Wassmuth Center will strive to embody Governor Batt’s approach, especially as we operate out of our new building that will bear his name.

“The one-of-a-kind human rights education center will be a ‘beacon of light’ in the heart of Idaho’s capital city,” said Dan Prinzing of the Wassmuth Center. “In the Center’s work to foster a climate and culture of upstanders who embrace respect, compassion, equality and justice for all, Governor Batt’s life and legacy is a commitment to human rights.”

The two-story education center will be adjacent to the Anne Frank Memorial in downtown Boise.

Construction on the Wassmuth Center’s Philip E. Batt Building will begin in April 2023 with a projected open date of late March 2024. The center’s Building Our Future campaign to fund construction of the project has raised $5.2 million with a goal of $6.3 million.

Batt, born in Wilder, Idaho, served as Idaho’s governor from 1995 to 1999. Batt also served as chairman of the Idaho Republican Party, lieutenant governor and as a member of the Idaho Legislature in the state House and Senate. Batt’s contributions to human rights in Idaho include sponsoring the creation of the Idaho Human Rights Commission, and as governor, pushing through landmark legislation to cover Idaho’s Hispanic farm workers under the state’s workers compensation program, according to the press release.

Former Governor, Butch Otter said, “Phil Batt has been a champion of all Idahoans for as long as I can remember- from the workers in the field to the executives in board room… Phil has been a warrior for all human rights and is a worthy recipient of this honor and recognition.”