Boise State University continues to establish itself as a metropolitan research university of distinction, providing graduate and undergraduate students access to some of the world’s top-flight faculty leaders in their respective fields. Doctoral graduates have more than doubled in the last eight years — Boise State is now Idaho’s largest graduate school — and earlier this year, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education classified Boise State as a doctoral research institution.
Research expenditures and opportunities have more than doubled over the past decade, and we’ve seen significant growth of the campus footprint with more than $300 million in capital improvements which now provides several facilities designed to ensure students achieve their academic goals in the classrooms and laboratories.
These are only a few examples of the collective efforts that donor, community, and industry partners have accomplished in building the research and academic programs that economies such as that of the city of Boise and the region require.
And thanks to a $25 million gift from the Micron Foundation — the largest philanthropic gift in the university’s history — we’ll continue to serve our doctoral research mission with the construction of the Micron Center for Materials Research building, slated to break ground in 2018.
Housed within the university’s College of Engineering, the Micron Center for Materials Research will create 85,000 to 100,000 square-feet of space for the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering to expand the materials science program – attracting innovative minds to its laboratories. This needed space will provide materials science researchers from several academic disciplines and students with laboratory and associated facilities to continue building expertise in the manufacture of technologies using nanomaterials on an industrial scale.
Take for example Riley Hunt, a materials science and engineering major currently performing research with Dr. Claire Xiong in the Electrochemical Energy Lab. Riley helps prepare materials in coin cells that will eventually be used to improve lithium-ion and sodium-ion battery technology. The ultimate goal of her research is to create batteries that last longer and are more cost effective.
Riley said that the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering has given her the opportunity to be involved in undergraduate research for the past three years, increasing her knowledge and experience within the field.
In addition to providing undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. candidates with hands-on learning opportunities, investment in the building is certain to help secure further funding in research from national funding agencies like the National Science Foundation as well as other private donors.
Our college programs, through increased collaboration of high-tech industry and academics in the Treasure Valley, have a lasting impact on the economic development in Idaho and the region far beyond the state.
This building and what it will do for materials science research at Boise State and in the region is dependent upon philanthropy and generous leaders stepping forward. Boise State will depend on valued partners who wish to join the university to have a broad and deep impact on advancing materials research. We invite you to discuss the many opportunities to partner in support of our continued effort to enhance our community and region.
Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.