This week, Boise State University celebrates the graduation of some 1,700 Broncos at our annual winter Commencement. That sets another record for us, and it looks like these bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree recipients, along with our graduates this past spring, are going to be part of the largest graduating class – the class of 2014 – in Boise State history — a record we gleefully break on a regular basis.
Last year, we conferred degrees to more than 3,800 people — more than any other university in the state. We now award more than 40 percent of all bachelor’s degrees conferred by public universities in Idaho.
These students are making one of the most significant transformations in modern life. They are “commencing” into their future, equipped with the experiences, skills and competencies that will help them succeed.
They are only university students for a few years. But they are alumni and part of the Bronco family for the rest of their lives. How our alumni and those of us who are otherwise affiliated with Boise State choose to maintain that relationship and exercise both its privileges and responsibilities can have major impact on generations of future students.
I am gratified frequently by stories of the generosity of our students. Their student organizations take volunteerism seriously. Their service-learning courses serve nonprofits, community groups and many others throughout the year. Service and charity truly are parts of the student experience at Boise State.
But for recent graduates, life can catch up fast. New experiences in the workplace — those starting salaries! Good intentions and even instilled habits of service and philanthropy can slip away before you know it.
That is why it is so important for new alumni to remain connected. To give back. To volunteer.
Some graduates may not realize they don’t automatically become members of the Boise State Alumni Association when they are handed their diploma on stage. But they can join as a new graduate for as little as $15 a year. That may not sound like much (even at the bottom of the career ladder), but it has an immediate impact on the lives of future Broncos. Together, the members of the Boise State Alumni Association have distributed more than $1.25 million in just 12 years through Alumni Legacy Scholarships — renewable, four-year awards that make sure a high-quality and innovative education is accessible at Boise State.
Every gift makes a difference at Boise State. So does every alumnus and alumna who stays connected and involved and engaged.
But don’t take my word for it. This year’s winter commencement speaker, Lauren Bramwell, is an inspirational woman who grew up in St. Anthony and has earned degrees in both communication and political science. She is thankful for the scholarships that allowed her this opportunity. This year alone, she has been the recipient of the Boise State Political Science/English Scholarship, the Stephanie Witt Political Science Scholarship, the Harvey and Eleanor Pitman Communications Endowed Scholarship and the Dr. John Keiser Public Affairs Scholarship. Lauren is a great example of the value of the return on this investment: She is applying to law school and hopes to fight for women’s rights and gender equity.
Here is a video about Lauren and her experiences to encourage you to learn more about her and see why we were so excited to hear from her at commencement.
Best wishes for a very happy holiday season!
Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.