At this Friday’s winter Commencement ceremony, more than 800 graduates will receive their degrees and ceremoniously start of a new phase of their lives.
As a university, Commencement is a celebration of our top priority and reason for being – the success of our students. The goals set by these erstwhile students before enduring countless late nights, lectures and exams have been met. A college degree in hand means that years of hard work have paid off. These Broncos have risen to the challenge.
Moving forward, as these new alumni begin to make their mark on the world, they will represent Boise State’s greatest potential for building the future. Our alumni are this university’s most passionate fans, its most constructive critics and its most faithful and generous donors. And just as their academic success as students defines our success as a university, their accomplishments in life will define the value of the Boise State degree that is now theirs.
Friday’s ceremony will include two extraordinary examples of the potential all Boise State alumni represent.
Student speaker Tiara Thompson, who will graduate Friday with degrees in theatre arts and English, is an inspiration. I know we’ll be hearing more about her success in coming years.
And Debra K. Riedel, who exemplifies what it means to be a Bronco, will be awarded with the Silver Medallion, Boise State’s highest recognition for service to Boise State. Deb holds a bachelor’s degree in music education (1977) and a master’s degree in music/performance (1999). She is a dedicated alumna, investing deeply in the university, its growth and its students. And her successful career in the finance industry – she is a first vice president and wealth management portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley – is matched only by her commitment and dedicated service to the community.
Also, just 20 years after Boise State offered its first doctoral degree, Friday’s ceremony will include the awarding of a record number of 16 doctoral degrees to new graduates, 13 of whom will be hooded at the ceremony. These extraordinary scholars represent a rising critical mass of doctoral programming that is the result of a strategic focus on deepening academic areas of excellence with the greatest potential for economic, societal and cultural benefit. Today, we now have 10 doctoral-level programs that are transforming the entire university.
There will be plenty to celebrate Friday. Join me in congratulating all of those whose accomplishments will be recognized. But also, as we celebrate, know that our new graduates’ lifelong alumni relationships with the university are just beginning, and each individual triumph is an important contribution to Boise State’s continuing growth and success as a university.
Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.