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From the Vice President

Faculty Excellence Enriches University for Students, Community

Frank Church Institute, Cecil Andrus Center to Hold Endowed Chair Installations

The excellence of the Boise State faculty members advances the quality of instruction for our students and the quality of intellectual capital that enriches the social, cultural and economic success of the region. We take pride in our faculty at Boise State and celebrate their success when they earn prestigious recognitions in their areas of expertise.

Stellar research in STEM education and the humanities has secured more than $50 million annually in research grants and contracts awarded to Boise State. For example,  Dr. Kurtis Cantley’s recent award from the National Science Foundation highlights just how accomplished our faculty is. Dr. Cantley’s Faculty Early Career Development award provides funding for his research team in the College of Engineering to develop electronics that mimic the brain.

Other ways our top-flight faculty is recognized are through endowed faculty positions. Endowed professorships and chairs honor and recognize the distinction of faculty members’ prominence in their respective fields, while providing invaluable financial support, above and beyond salary, for use in research, teaching or service activities.

Take for example Dr. Julia Oxford, Boise State’s professor of biology and director of the Biomolecular Research Center. Her work with the prestigious Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in matrix biology at Boise State began when her team won a $10 million research grant to start the center. The COBRE program offers an opportunity to build infrastructure for biomedical research, and link researchers from multiple disciplines to collaborate on life-changing discoveries.

When Duane and Lori Stueckle learned of Dr. Oxford’s work, they established an endowed chair in the Department of Biology that provides ongoing funding for Dr. Oxford’s research and teaching with biomedical applications.

Endowed chairs are regarded as the hallmark of academic excellence and the ultimate recognition of faculty achievement. They are the most significant way for donors to provide valuable support for the work of faculty members of the highest distinction. At Boise State, endowed chairs contribute to strategic initiatives, are powerful tools for recruitment and retention, and are important markers of the university’s prestige.

Endowed chairs are philanthropy at work in perpetuity.  Endowment earnings are used to supplement salaries and fund the chair holder’s scholarship, teaching, research, and service.  Generous donors most often fund endowed chairs and a chair typically carries the donor’s or special honoree’s name.

The university’s first endowed chair is the Joanna “Jody” DeMeyer Endowed Chair for Nursing, currently held by Dr. Jane Grassley.  The DeMeyer chair was established by the estate of Jody DeMeyer, Boise Jr. College Department of Nursing’s first faculty member, a dedicated supporter of Boise State and Silver Medallion Award recipient for her professional achievements and service to the university. As the endowed chair-holder, Dr. Grassley mentors colleagues in developing their research programs as well as pursuing funding for her own research projects.

The boards of the Cecil D. Andrus Center for Public Policy and the Frank Church Institute recognized the significance of an endowed chair for their missions and, after many years of dedicated fundraising, established the Cecil D. Andrus Chair for Environment and Public Lands and the Frank and Bethine Church Chair of Public Affairs, respectively.

Dr. Steven Feldstein, associate professor in the School of Public Service, is the holder of the Frank and Bethine Church Chair of Public Affairs. Dr. Feldstein is also a nonresident fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Democracy and Rule of Law Program. Previously, he served as a deputy assistant secretary in the bureau of democracy, human rights, and labor at the U.S. Department of State; the director of the office of policy at the U.S. Agency for International Development; and as counsel on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His research interests include U.S. foreign policy, counterterrorism, technology, democracy, and human rights.

Dr. John Freemuth is the executive director of the Cecil D. Andrus Center for Public Policy and holder of the Cecil D. Andrus Chair for Environment and Public Lands. He is also a professor of public policy and administration in the School of Public Service at Boise State. An author of several publications, Dr. Freemuth is a leader among the academic community in translating complicated and multi-layered scientific and political thinking to a broad audience. His primary academic interest is with the public lands of the United States.

The School of Public Service, the home of the Andrus Center and the Frank Church Institute will install these new chair-holders in a formal ceremony later this month.  The installation is the beginning of a new tradition at Boise State to elevate the importance of endowed chairs, honor the chair-holders for their accomplishments and thank the donors for their outstanding generosity that made these prestigious positions possible.

As the university continues to grow and advance the status of its research enterprise, endowed chairs and other endowed positions are increasingly important to competitively recruit and retain the excellent faculty who nurture our students, create new knowledge and maintain Boise State ’s trajectory of innovation. Your gifts to support our faculty continue to be vital to our mission of educating tomorrow’s leaders. As Duane Stueckle put it when he and Lori established their endowed chair, “The impact of faculty endowments is wide, and a solid investment in our future.”

Thank you for your ongoing support!



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

Boise State to Hold First Day of Giving

Boise State University will hold its first day of giving on Thursday, Sept. 13 to engage alumni, donors and friends in supporting the university’s students and programs through philanthropic gifts. On Bronco Giving Day, the 36-hour energetic online giving campaign will provide an easy and fun way for donors to give to several key initiatives campus-wide.

Some of these initiatives are funding for student participation in alternative breaks, such as working with disadvantaged children in inner cities.Others include the campus food pantry for students, feed the Blue Thunder Marching Band for the Home Season. There are more than 30 initiatives — something for everyone— and each gift, regardless of size, makes an impact on the lives of our students.

We’re asking all Broncos and friends from all over the world to support an area of Boise State that is meaningful to them. Throughout the day, live leaderboards on the giving day webpage will show the progress of each initiative. You can watch in real-time the impact of your giving toward the final results of the day.

Your gift on Bronco Giving Day will have a more significant impact thanks to generous Bronco supporters who have provided dollar-for-dollar matches and multiple challenges. These matches and challenges will inspire and add to the momentum of the day.   For example, one donor provided a $1,000 gift and will match all contributions to the College of Engineering up to this amount. A group of alumni will give $10,000 if 100 alumni give to the Alumni Legacy Scholarship.  Check the site often to see what’s happening with your favorite Boise State cause.

Are you planning to make a gift between now and the end of the year? Make it on Bronco Giving Day.  Are you looking for a new and exciting way to give and inspire others to do the same?  Make a gift on Bronco Giving Day!  If you would like to issue a challenge or provide a match of any shape or size, contact Cara Walker, executive director of development at

You also can participate in Bronco Giving Day by becoming a  social media ambassadors. Ambassadors will have access to a personal dashboard with unique social media tools that make it even easier to reach and share the excitement with your network. I signed up to be an ambassador — now I just have to learn to tweet! For more information on becoming an ambassador, contact Andrew Gauss, senior director of advancement communications at

Also, please like our Alumni and Friends Facebook page where you can get a file of Bronco Giving Day profile photos and banner images to use on your personal social media pages. It’s easy to do and will show others your Bronco pride!

We anticipate so much social media traffic on Bronco Giving Day that Boise State will trend on all of the platforms.  The exposure for the university will be incomparable and it will only happen with your help.  We look forward to you joining us on this special day of giving that will have a lasting impact on the lives of Boise State students.

Thank you for your support. Go Broncos!



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

Gifts of all Sizes Make Big Impact at Boise State and Beyond

When the Division of University Advancement launched the university’s crowdfunding platform, PonyUp, in the fall of 2015, we knew it was an opportunity for donors to support a variety of student and campus-centric projects that needed immediate funding. We also knew that the ease of use of online giving, along with enthusiasm for the projects created by social media would support these initiatives. But to our surprise, nearly three short years later, donors have funded 54 projects with 3,610 gifts for a total of $412,561 through PonyUp. This funding makes a significant impact on the lives of our students, faculty and community.

Take for example the first PonyUp campaign held in the fall of 2015. Donors funded more than $10,000 to refurbish the Boise State Observatory, located on top of the eight-story Education Building. Dr. Brian Jackson, an assistant professor of physics, helped lead the initiative where donors made gifts for a new mount for a 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, live internet connection capability, and webcams, allowing streaming of telescope views live to the world.  The observatory initially opened in the late 1970s and was hugely popular for many years. But due to needed repairs and lack of funding for these costs, the facility was closed. However, thanks to the generosity of 115 donors, Dr. Jackson can use the observatory for public outreach events and student research.

PonyUp crowdfunding campaigns also provide opportunities to assist with some of the immediate, pressing needs on campus such as student food pantries and emergency funds when students face tragedies.

When the Mile Marker 14 fire burned several acres, and caused damage to the Boise State Intermountain Bird Observatory near Lucky Peak in 2016, donors stepped up with more than $19,000 in gifts to help restore the damage. The observatory is a place where Boise State faculty, students and the public can observe songbirds, raptors and owl migrations and conduct research projects. The crowdfunding initiative raised funds for field equipment and supplies and the hiring of additional help to restore the damaged observatory areas.

The Associated Students of Boise State University, (ASBSU), led an initiative to create food cupboards on campus, ensuring that students don’t have to go hungry while attending Boise State. When it was brought to the attention of the students that 41percent of their classmates have experienced “high” levels or “very high” levels of food insecurity, the ASBSU group took action, with donors helping to fund the critical supplies needed. A total of 86 donors more than doubled the $5,000 goal, with a total of $12,685 in gifts. And when folks at the Albertsons Intermountain Division heard about the food cupboard effort, they contributed an additional $5,000 to help the students with start-up efforts for the project.  Today, the Boise State food cupboards program provides nutritious meal options and snacks for students experiencing food insecurities. Basic school supplies, such as pencils, pens, binders and notebooks are also available.

These are just a few of the crowdfunding campaigns donors have successfully funded through the PonyUp platform. The collective impact of the many small gifts of $5 or $10 make this platform a powerful tool for anyone to contribute to the greater good that it happening at Boise State and in our community.

We are grateful for all gifts, regardless of the size, and for the generosity of donors who recognize the significant positive effect they can have on our students, faculty and programs.  Thank you.



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

P.S. The Student IMPACT Board, Boise State’s student advancement organization, has been selected to present at the national Council for the Advancement and Support of Education Advisors and Student Programs conference in Louisville on Aug. 1. The board is very active in promoting PonyUp and other advancement efforts and will share with other student organizations from across the country on how to successfully start a new student philanthropy/alumni group. They will talk about some of their programming including IMPACT Week, Notes and Floats, Speed Networking and recruitment tactics.

Changes in Leadership are Seamless with Solid Vision

“Any transition is easier if you believe in yourself and your talent.” – Priyanka Chopra

There are some obvious transitions going on at Boise State and, as these transitions occur, we know we’re on a solid foundation for continued success. It’s thanks to the leadership of President Bob Kustra, who with his wife Kathy by his side, has set new records for Boise State and given us a roadmap for continued success.

Today, Boise State’s steep upward trajectory is due to his vision that drove him to push the envelope from the day he started his presidency 15 years ago. And as we say farewell to Dr. Kustra in his current role, we reflect on the accomplishments that make Boise State the institution it is today — doubling both our baccalaureate and master’s degree graduates and more than tripling the number of doctoral graduates. Today the university is recognized as a doctoral research institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Through Dr. Kustra’s leadership, Boise State boosted retention and graduation rates in innovative ways — a strategic process that was recognized by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, which recently called out Boise State as one of five universities in the country for this effort.

Boise State invested more than $400 million in new high-tech classrooms, state-of-the-art labs, and student and community-centered facilities. And in partnership with many of you, donors to Boise State have quadrupled and the Boise State University Foundation endowment has increased by more than 50 percent.

Right beside Bob, Kathy Kustra has worked to change Boise State and our community for the better, as well. With her professional communications background, Kathy has helped to upgrade the university’s messaging, publications and events. She’s been a tireless steward of the university’s relationships with donors and alumni, and has been the inspiration behind improvements in the student experience, such as the hugely successful revival of our fraternity and sorority system. These are just a few of the highlights of Bob and Kathy’s impact. We have no doubt that the legacy of the past 15 years has set the course for many more great things to come for the benefit of our students, faculty, staff, the Treasure Valley community and beyond.

While the Idaho State Board of Education looks for the next president, we’re fortunate to have Dr. Martin Schimpf serve in this interim role. Marty, who has been with Boise State for many years, is Boise State’s provost and vice president for academic affairs through June 30. He’s also held roles as the chair of the chemistry department, and associate dean and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  A well-respected and trusted administrator, he is the perfect choice to serve as interim president during this transition. He enables Boise State to continue its trajectory of stellar research, innovation, academic achievement and community engagement.

And stepping into Marty’s shoes as the interim provost and vice president for academic affairs is College of Arts & Sciences Dean Tony Roark.  Tony was named dean in 2012 after having been a member of the philosophy faculty since 2000 and department chair since 2007.  He has successfully led Boise State’s largest college and his extensive institutional knowledge will be invaluable during this time of transition.

We’re grateful for Bob’s direction and confident in Marty’s and Tony’s leadership as we look forward to the year ahead.



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

Volunteer Engagement Advances the Bronco Vision

Boise State University recently honored 2,682 students who earned 2,935 degrees and certificates as we celebrated the spring commencement. It’s an exciting time for us, and we know many of our graduates will go on to be leaders in their respective fields. We see their capacities to do great things long before they leave campus. We consider the passage from students to alumni a significant milestone here at Boise State.

Before this milestone is reached, much hard work and dedication take place by not only those earning their degrees but by their families and all members of the university community, including our alumni and friend volunteers. We rely on our alumni and donors to help provide scholarships and support programs. Some choose to sponsor and host internship and networking opportunities for our students, while others hire our graduates. There are others who not only give of their treasure but also of their time and talents.

Volunteer board and advisory committee members at all levels are a critical part of fulfilling the university’s mission and strategic vision. Those of us in the Division of University Advancement rely on our partners in the Boise State Foundation, the Boise State Alumni Association and the Bronco Athletic Association to help us advance the university through engagement and philanthropy.

The Boise State Foundation is the fiduciary for charitable gifts to the university.  The talented board members bring much experience to the positions they serve, and we’re grateful for the investments of time they make to ensure good stewardship of our donors and their gifts and the growth of the foundation endowment. New members elected to the board are Richelle Sugiyama and Glen Walker as directors, and Rod Meyer, Tracy Andrus and Ron Crouch as honorary members representing the BAA, the Andrus Center, and the Alumni Association.  We are grateful for the service of Jeff Casey, Bob Maynard, Rob Perez and Jim Kerns who have recently finished their terms on the board.

The Boise State Alumni Association board of directors oversees the strategic mission of the association, promotes lifelong engagement with the university, connects our alumni community and celebrates the accomplishments of our graduates. There are no new members to the board this year. We thank and honor Mike Barrie, Mark Houston, Mischa Brady, Kimber Shaw, Eric Hackett and Larry Dresser who have completed their board terms, for the positive impact and generous contributions they have made.

The Bronco Athletic Association board of directors builds enthusiasm for our athletic teams and provides financial resources necessary for our student-athletes to compete at a national level while earning their degrees. There are no new members joining the board this year. We appreciate the dedication and hard work of Randall Burr, Lloyd Cox, David Dean, Brian King, Paul Skeen and Mel Snider who are leaving the board this year.

These volunteer leaders, our donors and our alumni are invaluable partners in the growth of the university and its wide-spread cultural, intellectual and economic enhancement of our vibrant Idaho community.  There are numerous ways for alumni, friends, and businesses to partner with Boise State, share their expertise and be an active part of the Bronco family. Our partnership portal provides a few examples of how to engage with the university.  If you don’t see what you are looking for, let us know and we’ll connect you with your area of interest.

Thank you all for being an important part of the Boise State team!



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

Commencement Season is a Celebration of Bronco Successes

Each year we celebrate the successes of our graduating students during commencement where degrees are conferred from all academic fields of study. It’s a special time for us to welcome new graduates to the Bronco family of more than 92,000 graduates as they begin their professional careers and remain lifelong Broncos. Commencement is also a time for us to pay special honor to those whose accomplishments especially shined during their academic careers.

We know our graduates will go on to be leaders in their communities and professions.  We see their capacity to do great things long before they leave campus. That’s why we honor the top graduating seniors each year for exceptional academic achievement at the Top Ten Scholars award ceremony. The prestigious event provides a bridge between student and alumni life.

Top Ten Scholars are nominated by their academic deans and are subject to rigorous review by a selection committee. To qualify for consideration, a student must have a 3.8 or higher grade point average. Nominees are reviewed based on criteria including breadth of academic coursework, research, creative works and publications, presentations at professional meetings or conferences, and extracurricular community and campus service.

For example, take Anna McDonald who is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in psychological science and a certificate in elementary Spanish. From Waverly, Iowa, Anna’s primary focus in her undergraduate career has been her research, working in Dr. Mary Pritchard’s Healthy Psychology Laboratory and Dr. April Masarik’s Human Development Laboratory. Anna is a published author of her research, and has volunteered more than 220 hours at local nonprofit agencies that work with newly-settled refugees and English-language learners. These experiences have deepened her interests to attend graduate school in speech pathology. Anna also is a student-athlete, competing on all three of Boise State’s national qualifying cross-country teams, and she participated in the 2017 Outdoor Track and Field West Regionals in the steeplechase.

Another student earning the Top 10 honor is Timothy Le Phero who will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. Timothy is from Boise and is a first-generation college student who has served as an outreach leader for Space Broncos and volunteered with Reuseum Educational Inc. to inspire, teach and support STEM education to Idaho’s children. During his academic studies at Boise State, he’s researched with faculty at the Boise Center Aerospace Laboratory in the Department of Geosciences. He’s also worked in the High-Performance Simulation Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering and the Advance Materials Laboratory in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering where he is using finite element analysis to enable the development of a high-temperature heat exchanger, which will allow for higher efficiency power generation systems.

Like Anna and Timothy, and the other Top Ten Scholars, all of our class of 2018 graduates have bright futures ahead.  The Top Ten Scholars each choose a faculty member to honor at the event who has assisted and inspired them.  The Top Ten Scholars are given the gift of a lifetime membership in the Boise State Alumni Association and we look forward to these new alumni to actively engage with the university to support the success of future students, just as current alumni and friends do in so many ways. We’re proud these graduates will continue to be Broncos for life, and welcome them to the Boise State alumni family! Go Broncos!



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

P.S. This year, on May 5, two commencement ceremonies will be held in the Taco Bell Arena to accommodate all of the friends, families, and guests that otherwise would be limited to attend due to seating capacity in Albertsons Stadium. We also want to avoid any chance of inclement weather, so holding commencement indoors will ensure a rain-free celebration.

Community Partnerships Key to Future of Boise State, Regional Economy

Our valued relationships with our corporate and foundation partners provide opportunities for the next generation of creative thinkers. These relationships are key to our success through support of innovative research and programs, endowed scholarships and the construction of new facilities that are necessary to enable teaching, research and scholarship. In turn, a partnership with Boise State University offers industry access to top faculty and students in the sciences, business, health-related fields, engineering, social sciences, arts and humanities. Most importantly, these relationships provide opportunities for our business and community partners to provide mentoring and hands-on experience to the next generation of business and community leaders.

Thanks to our many and long-standing partnerships with Micron, and a $25 million gift from the Micron Technology Foundation Inc., in early April we’ll break ground on the new Micron Center for Materials Research at Boise State. The 85,000-square-foot world-class materials science research facility will provide more than 40 research laboratories, state-of-the-art teaching laboratories, a 250-seat lecture hall, two 80-seat classrooms, offices, and work spaces for faculty members, staff and graduate students advancing materials research at Boise State.

The new building will elevate the work of Boise State research faculty who already are nationally and internationally recognized for their expertise in the areas of novel materials, biological sciences and nanotechnology; and it will provide sources of new knowledge and discovery for materials science-related industry important to our local and regional economy.

Another partnership and philanthropic endeavor having an impact on Boise State and our greater community is the College of Business and Economics (COBE) Responsible Business Initiative. Wells Fargo has partnered with Boise State over the last four years to provide funding as well as thought leadership to develop and run the initiative.

Wells Fargo’s $250,000 commitment over the last four years has allowed COBE students and faculty to embark on a mission to catalyze leaders across businesses, education and society to solve what are referred to as “wicked business problems.” The initiative aims to build the commitment and capacity of our students, faculty and community leaders to understand and manage business issues in ways that are ethical, socially responsible, sustainable, diverse and accountable.

The Responsible Business Initiative, which now is supported with a gift from Boise Cascade as well as Wells Fargo’s generosity, is providing a forum for partnerships to create solutions to complex problems. One way that the initiative is already making an impact is in helping businesses create inclusive workplaces — a fundamental issue in today’s society. What Boise State can learn and develop within this partnership with Wells Fargo is extremely valuable to educators and students focused on best practices in business, and our business partners benefit from scholarly research and different perspectives

The support and partnership that Micron, Wells Fargo, Boise Cascade and others provide is exemplary of the many ways a relationship between corporate and foundation partners work with Boise State. These partnerships provide valuable experiences for students and strengthen Boise State’s collaborative impact in our regional organizations and communities.

There are many ways to partner with Boise State. The Business and Industry Partnership website will help guide you through the many opportunities from launching a business idea to funding a program to sponsoring or collaborating on research.

Working in collaboration with our community and business partners, we are growing a vibrant economy well into the future while educating tomorrow’s critical thinkers and leaders.



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

Today’s Readers are Today’s Leaders Too

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”  — President John F. Kennedy

We know that great leaders are not necessarily born with the skills to guide others to excellence, but acquire them through hard work, tenacity, innovation, and creativity.  Boise State students today are learning skills and leading in and outside of the classroom. They are engaged in athletics, clubs, internships, community service and other experiences that develop teamwork, communication, and critical thinking skills,  enhancing their ability to adapt quickly to the collaborate environment of their chosen professions. We see these amazing students daily.

One example of students who are learning and leading is the Boise State Student IMPACT Board.  This student-led organization focuses on developing leadership, celebrating the university’s history and traditions and fostering school pride, all in the context of learning about and promoting philanthropy.  IMPACT stands for involvement, motivation, philanthropy, advancement, community and tradition, values of the group that reminds its members why they are involved and that they are promoting to the campus community.

One of the IMPACT Board’s signature programs is IMPACT Week in the fall when board members engage hundreds of students campus-wide in learning about the impact of philanthropy at Boise State and thanking donors.  Students write thank-you notes, conduct social media campaigns of gratitude, learn facts about philanthropy and participate in the Homecoming parade.  The students create a striking visual on the central quad planting hundreds of blue and red flags representing thousands of donors and donor-funded scholarships.

The Student Impact Board at the 2017 Homecoming Parade.

The Student IMPACT Board at the 2017 Homecoming Parade.

IMPACT Week recently won an award for outstanding student advancement program at the

CASE District 8 Affiliated Student Advancement Programs conference. Also at the conference, Hayden Rogers, ’19, political science major and past-president of the IMPACT Board was honored as the Outstanding Student Leader, and the IMPACT Board was recognized as the Outstanding Emerging Organization in the district.

The IMPACT Board is a 2-year old organization resulting from the merger of the FAN (Future Alumni Network) Club and the Student Foundation and is advised and supported by Lauren Hamilton, Assistant Director of Student & Recent Graduate Programs and Cara Walker, Sr. Director of Annual Giving.  These student leaders provide networking opportunities with alumni, an alumni leadership speaker series, social media campaigns and serve as project managers for PonyUp campaigns, where they get hands-on experience in web design, videography, writing and marketing.  They also are ambassadors for University Advancement assisting with Easter Egg Hunt on The Blue, Bronco Day, the Scholarship Dinner and Commencement. Current plans in the works are developing a Bronco Professional Development Day, participating in the annual Graduate Fair to engage new and soon-to-be alumni, and activities for Parent and Family Weekend.

The Student Impact Board at the 2017 CASE ASAP Conference.

The Student IMPACT Board at the 2017 CASE ASAP Conference.

The IMPACT Board’s programs raise awareness of donors’ investment in today’s students, promote lifetime engagement and inspire future giving. We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming spring events where you’ll have a chance to meet some of the IMPACT Board students who are learners and leaders today and engaged and supportive alumni of tomorrow.



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

Creativity and Generosity Buoy Student Success at Boise State

There have been significant changes on the Boise State campus in recent years. One easily recognizable change is the number of new buildings that thanks to donor support, in part, offer our students the facilities where they can learn and grow. Another significant change on campus is the growing student population who have entrusted Boise State as the university where they will receive the foundation for their career goals and achievements.

In fact, Boise State has welcomed record-setting first-year classes in each of the past two years and has set a new record for the number of graduates in each of the past nine years. And a large number of our students — especially those from Idaho — are first-generation students who understand how the investment pays off in the careers of college graduates.

And while students are committed to earning a higher education, they often lack the resources needed. About three-quarters of the 24,000 Boise State students rely on some form of financial aid during their academic careers. Support from our broad network of fellow Broncos and Boise State friends have and can make a lifelong difference for a student and his or her family.

Another major change over the years has been the reduction in state funding for higher education. We don’t anticipate this to change, and Boise State has taken strategic steps to create and offer new pathways to learning so graduates are prepared to enter the ever-changing workforce with the skills needed without excess expenditure.

State funding appropriations still are a critical part of Boise State’s budget,  but the disparity between Idaho’s public universities continues and leaves Boise State students receiving just 60 to 80 percent of the state support than their peers who attend our sister institutions.

This disparity worsened when Boise State enrollment grew during tough economic years when the state couldn’t afford to fully fund the formula that was designed to ensure that state dollars followed the students. Still, Boise State has operated efficiently and effectively, providing quality education offerings that continue to attract students, national accolades for  improving retention and graduation rates, and remaining ahead of the benchmarks set by the State Board of Education to help ensure that 60 percent of Idahoans between the ages of 25 and 34 have a degree or certificate by 2020.

But the state funding issues make it all the more essential that our alumni and friends continue to contribute to scholarships for students who need and have earned the financial help. And we equally rely on our constituents to help encourage lawmakers to address the disparity in equity funding deserving of our Boise State students. For more information on becoming a Bronco Alumni Ambassador, visit here.



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

A Year of Growth Made Possible Through Alumni and Friends Engagement

Each year at this time, we pause and reflect on our accomplishments, evaluate the lessons learned and set our next course to meet the needs of our students, expand opportunities for faculty research and enterprise, and engage our communities in mutually-beneficial partnerships.

And while reflecting on the year, noticeable highlights include those made possible through the generosity of our donors, alumni and friends who support our mission and values here at Boise State.

In May, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the 90,000- square-foot, Center for Fine Arts. The building is currently under construction on the west end of campus along Capitol Boulevard. The center brings several Boise State art programs under one roof, including the Visual Arts Center and the Arts and Humanities Institute.

Built specifically for the creation, study and display of art, the new building will be an instant regional landmark and community gathering place on Boise State’s campus. A two-story entrance and a highly visible gallery will invite both the public and campus community to view exclusive exhibitions and collections and, in the Keith and Catherine Stein Family World Museum, interact with art in new ways through virtual reality.

Donor gifts totaling $5.1 million help bring this project to campus. The building is slated to open in August 2019.

Thanks to the generosity of alumni and friends, Boise State University concluded the Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Opportunities scholarship campaign with gifts and pledges totaling more than $52 million — more than doubling the campaign’s original goal.

The campaign is central to Boise State’s mission of providing affordable education to talented and committed students, easing the financial burden of the costs of earning an academic degree. Nearly 18,000 donors provided gifts and pledges toward scholarships, resulting in a 34 percent increase in funds available to be awarded to students from privately funded scholarships in fall 2017. Gifts contributed toward the campaign included immediate-use funds, as well as scholarship endowment, providing investments for future scholarship growth and support.

A private/public partnership unique in Idaho higher education, the Honors College and Sawtooth Hall, one of most visible buildings on campus, opened in August. The building features 650 student beds, dining facilities and Honors College offices, classrooms and work spaces.

The Honors College is designed to support and challenge the highest achieving students on campus. Having a dedicated facility with a full living and learning community puts Boise State in rare company across the country.

Boise State’s Honors College has been a challenging and dynamic academic home for some of the university’s top students from all majors for nearly 50 years. It has helped make Boise State a top choice for high-performing students in Idaho and across the country.

November marked a special milestone for the Boise State University Alumni Association as well as Boise State University’s history as we celebrated “Creating Legacies” — the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Alumni Association. The Classes of 1967 and 1968 held a reunion. The ’67 class was the first to graduate from Boise State University with four-year degrees. Those alumni experienced the transition from Boise Junior College to Boise State University. In addition, many of these alumni were instrumental in forming the Alumni Association.

The legacy they created continues today with more than 4,300 paid members of the Alumni Association across the U.S. and globe. The growth of the university from a junior college, to a four-year institution, to a metropolitan research university of distinction today, as well as the continued trajectory of growth ahead, are the legacies that will carry on for future generations of Broncos.

These are just a few of the highlights from a year full of memorable events that shape our great institution. Thank you for your generosity that allows us to perpetuate the values and mission of Boise State. Our dedicated alumni, friends and partners are part of our collective achievement.  We thank you.

Happy holidays to all our Bronco family and friends!



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

A Cornucopia of People, Ideas Bring Growth, and Gratitude for Boise State University

“The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see.” — Dr. Robert Holden

When looking around the Boise State University campus, it’s easy to quickly identify several things that resonate the emotion of gratitude. The obvious and often most visible is the growth of our campus facilities. The new Honors College and Sawtooth Hall, home to more than 900 honors students, is one recent example of our campus growth as is the Center for Fine Arts rising on Capitol Blvd.

After nearly $400 million in capital development, the university now boasts state-of-the-art multidisciplinary buildings, high-tech classrooms, clean rooms and laboratories, and cutting-edge facilities.

A quick glance past the obvious, and you’ll see students bustling to classes, doing research  in laboratories and practicing in athletic facilities – engaged in their college experience and mentored by top-flight professors and leaders in and outside of academia. We’re grateful that more than 24,000 students have chosen Boise State as the place where they can combine information and imagination throughout their academic journeys, with a goal of earning degrees and preparing for their careers.

Boise State has become Idaho’s largest graduate school through record-setting growth. This year, 2,712 graduate students are engaged in master’s and doctoral degree programs, some brand new, that are attracting leaders and innovators to address issues that are vital to industry, our community, our region and beyond.

The diversity of our students’ academic and social interests, as well as those of our faculty and staff, provide a learning environment where the expression of ideas to help solve societal  issues are boundless. We believe that all of our students, faculty and staff members, from all demographic backgrounds and social opinions, contribute to the dialogue that makes Boise State a place where the exchange of ideas will help lead to solutions to address the needs of our world  and improve the lives of others. And we are grateful when people of different backgrounds and interests can unite around common principles with the outcomes being a place where we can teach, learn and grow.

Just as diverse as our students, faculty and staff members, are our alumni and friends. These talented community members and successful professionals bring creativity and innovation to their ventures, including all they do to help us better serve our students. Through their engagement with Boise State and their philanthropic support, we’ve been able to increase our enrollment, student retention rates, programming, and facilities. Thanks to donors to a variety of areas, we’ve become the state’s leader in educating the workforce of tomorrow, with growth unequaled in the region, and we couldn’t have done it without your help. We truly are grateful for all that you do for Boise State.

None of these successes would have been possible without the vision and leadership of President Bob Kustra. As some of you may have already heard, Bob has announced he will retire in June next year.

Through Bob’s leadership and Kathy Kustra’s partnership and support the university has grown into the metropolitan research university of distinction President Kustra  envisioned when he took the helm 15 years ago. Boise State’s growth in research, academic and philanthropic partnerships has been significant, and led to earning a doctoral research university designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education in 2016.

In honor of Bob and Kathy’s leadership, we seek to name the new Center for Fine Arts for the Kustras upon its completion and pending approval by the Idaho State Board of Education. We are grateful for the many donor gifts that are making this center possible and that were made with this in mind. The unique facility and elevation of the arts and humanities is part of Bob’s vision for the truly comprehensive research university that is Boise State’s destiny, and that has been energized by his leadership in partnership with Kathy.

A second opportunity also exists to show appreciation for the Kustras role in Boise State’s trajectory with gifts to the Stephen R. Kustra Fellowship for the MFA in Creative Writing. This fellowship honors the life of Bob and Kathy’s son and has been instrumental in the growth of our stellar creative writing program at Boise State.

We invite alumni and friends to join us in showing our appreciation to Bob and Kathy for their exceptional leadership and dedication to Boise State and our community by supporting these two initiatives that fuel  Boise State’s tradition as a leader in arts and humanities education in Idaho.

I know I speak for many when I say that I am so proud and thankful to be part of this exceptionally collaborative and innovative university and to be the beneficiary of Bob and Kathy’s leadership.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

Volunteers Bring Wealth of Experience to Boise State

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

As children, one of the first lessons we often learn is to share with our siblings and others. Our parents and teachers, knowing the benefits of this important principle, guide us toward the development of skills that foster the growth of our personal and professional success.

It’s not surprising that many successful students at Boise State University take advantage of the opportunities to share of their time beyond the classrooms and volunteer in one or more of the 200 clubs and organizations on campus. Alternative Spring Breaks, the LeaderShape Institute and Service Saturday are a few examples of programs at Boise State where students learn valuable skills beyond their major which they can apply in their personal and professional lives.

Our graduates are volunteer leaders in their communities — serving on nonprofit boards, local government councils, church committees or on advisory boards and committees in support of their alma mater.

Boise State graduates, donors and members of the community voluntarily provide resources and expertise on a number of the university’s boards including those of the  Boise State Alumni Association, Boise State Foundation, Bronco Athletic Association, Parent and Family Association, college advisory boards, and a host of others. We rely on their knowledge and guidance to help direct our strategic efforts, to increase engagement and philanthropy, to enrich student learning experiences and strengthen the future of the university. They are talented, successful professionals who bring creativity and innovation to the roles they serve at Boise State while joining us to ultimately better serve our students, the region and the State of Idaho.

We know one measure of the success of our university is reflected in the success of our alumni. Each year we take time to honor a few of our shining stars of the Bronco family during Homecoming festivities at the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Awards Gala. Bob Bertheau, Kelly Buckland, Autumn Kersey, Tamara Pascoe, Yvette Barrios and Ron Crouch are this year’s alumni innovators and leaders, who represent our university well, and will receive the association’s top honors for their professional achievement or their service to Boise State. Please take a moment to read more about these outstanding Broncos by clicking the link above.

Congratulations to this year’s honorees!  And thank you to all of you who help to ensure the bright future of Boise State through your service and generosity!

I look forward to seeing all of you during our upcoming Homecoming week activities in early November.

Go Broncos!



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

Assuring Student Success Requires Programming “Beyond the Major”

Students’ success is our number one priority at Boise State University. With more than 200 areas of study in seven academic colleges, we provide many options for today’s students to earn a degree in the field of their choice. We know, however, in the competitive workforce of the 21st century, students need to be prepared “beyond the major” to have the competitive edge when they graduate.

During his annual State of the University Address, President Bob Kustra reaffirmed that Boise State would continue to offer new pathways of learning, hands-on experience and high-demand skills and competencies to all students, whether they choose to major in the arts, humanities, sciences or technology. These pathways are found across disciplines in our exciting and innovative programs, campus activities and living learning communities.

Some examples include a unique collaboration with Harvard Business School that offers students access to the Harvard HBX Core business certificate while they earn credit toward their graduation here.

Available for all majors is Boise State’s Bridge to Career program that allows students to add value to their degree by gaining practical skills in personal and business finance, data visualization, digital marketing, organizational behavior, project management and value creation among several other subjects.

The WorkU program offers an immersive learning and working experience for students, regardless of major, with one of Boise’s largest employers. Through this course, students receive mentoring and tackle projects that provide hands-on experience, meet the employers’ goals and provide the students with a wide range of professional experience. Weekly coaching sessions help the students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Talented, highly motivated students are drawn to the personalized attention of Boise State’s Honors College, which brings together 900 outstanding students from every major in smaller classes that provide dynamic interactions between students, faculty and distinguished visitors. The new Honors College and Sawtooth Hall building opened this fall across from the Student Union building. The living learning facility combines housing with dining facilities, classrooms, and spaces designed to boost the student residential experience.

Our students enjoy access to some of the world’s leaders in their fields, state-of-the-art research opportunities, and programs in multiple fields of designed to ensure they achieve their graduation goals on time and on a budget, gain practical experience and are prepared to enter the workforce a step ahead.  Ensuring we continue to enhance our student’s academic experience beyond the major is a university-wide commitment, requiring leadership innovation and financial resources.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we’ve been able to continue to improve the experience for our students, assuring they will have the competitive edge when competing for the job of their choice upon graduation and career preparation for a lifetime.

Thank you!



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

Legacies of Leadership

“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” —Vince Lombardi

The path to leadership and success for many of us takes hard work and sacrifices. We dedicate ourselves to the study of our professions, commit to the continuation of knowledge to expand our proficiency while dedicating additional time toward achieving professional and personal goals so we may live fulfilling lives.

We see examples of this kind of leadership daily at Boise State. It’s part of our culture here to foster leadership within our students as they are our future leaders, thinkers, and innovators of our state, region and nation. And as students begin a new academic year, we are committed to ensure that opportunities for students to develop and expand their leadership skills and world view are abundant.

One Boise State leader, whose dedication to both athletics and academics is legendary, is Lyle Smith who recently passed at the age of 101. While Coach Smith’s mark on athletics at Boise State is renowned, he also was an advocate for academic excellence. He generously supported the scholarship in his name established in 1985 by the Bronco Athletic Association as well as many other academic scholarships and university initiatives. He was a leader who worked tirelessly for our students to excel both on the field and in the classroom. Even until recently, Coach Smith frequently visited campus to offer words of encouragement and to attend football games.

Stories of his personal impact on the lives of our students were abundant at his recent memorial service on campus. Many of his former players paid tribute to Coach Smith with funny anecdotes, touching recollections, and even songs that demonstrated undying respect, admiration and gratitude. We honor his dedication to our students while we celebrate his life’s work and leadership that is forever cemented in the chronicles of our history.

Coach Smith is a stellar example of what I’m grateful to see and hear every day on campus and when I talk with our alumni. When our graduates share their memories and the reasons they’ve remained loyal to Boise State, most often it’s due to the impact of a faculty member whose influence helped to shape their futures. Sometimes the reason is a member of our staff who provided the right help or experience at the right time. It inevitably comes down to a relationship. One person can make a profound, lifelong difference.

All of us create and contribute to our university community on campus and that extends to all of the places across the globe where our alumni and friends reside. There’s a place and a role for multiple beliefs, orientations, colors, creeds — all of those things that make individuals unique. By treating all of our stakeholders with dignity and respect, we create a vibrant and diverse community that enhances the learning environment, and promotes awareness, critical thinking and engagement. We may never know the profound, lifelong difference each one of us makes.

As I write this, students are moving into the campus residence halls and parents are saying goodbye — with excitement, tearful reluctance and every emotion in between. All of us here are eager to put those students’ and parents’ minds as ease. Boise State faculty members, staff members, administrators, alumni and friends are dedicated to building a community for our students’ — and each other’s — success.



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

Your Extraordinary Support Provides a $52.4 Million Legacy for Boise State

Boise State alumni and friends understand the university’s mission of providing affordable education to talented and committed students, and overwhelmingly supported the Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Opportunities scholarship campaign with more than $52 million in gifts and pledges. That’s more than double the original campaign goal!

Your gifts and pledges have created a lasting legacy to assist our undergraduate and graduate students from around Idaho and beyond. You’ve grown merit, need-based and athletic scholarships to attract high achievers and ease the burden of financial uncertainty so that Boise State students can fulfill their academic goals and enjoy the lifelong benefits of higher education.

We can’t say thank you enough. The impact you’ve created will resonate for generations to come.

Two of those affected by your generosity recently sat down with me to share their stories of how scholarship support has affected their paths. Please enjoy this podcast, and hear our gratitude in the words of our students.

Thank you, again, for your outstanding support.

With gratitude,


Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

Extraordinary Impact Creates Extraordinary Opportunities

As we enter the final days of the Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Opportunities scholarship campaign, we’re seeing every day how your gifts toward student scholarships are making a significant impact in the lives of so many here at Boise State. We’ll be tallying up final numbers soon, and will share with you more details once the campaign has concluded on June 30. Know that you’ve helped our student’s academic dreams become a reality.

Scholarships, whether merit- or need-based, allow students to explore future opportunities to their fullest potential, often unhindered by financial uncertainty. Your support closes the gap for those students who may otherwise not be able to attend college and ensures that great potential is not left unrealized because of an inability to bear the cost of a university education.

Photo of Scholarship Recipient Riley Hunt

Scholarship Recipient Riley Hunt. Click the photo to learn more about how scholarships have impacted Riley.

Take, for example, scholarship recipient and recent graduate Riley Hunt. Riley, who was recognized as a Top Ten Scholar this spring, graduated with a bachelor of science in material science degree. Scholarship support provided Riley with the opportunities on campus to pursue activities well beyond the classroom, benefiting her college experience.

“The academic, professional, and personal opportunities I have been able to participate in due to the generosity of others has pushed me to give back to others,” she said. “With the knowledge and experience I have gained at Boise State, I intend to pursue a career in textile engineering where my goal is to create sustainable fabrics for use in all aspects of daily life. I hope that through this work, I can be a support for people around the world and aid in conservation efforts.”

Riley plans to continue her education, pursuing a master of science in textile engineering to with hopes to work in the sportswear industry creating sustainable athletic and outdoor clothing. She was the recipient of the Thelma and Dean Brown Honor Scholarship as well as the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation Scholarship.

Many of our scholarships draw the nation’s best and brightest students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Top student scholars, including our student-athletes, are attracted to Boise State by scholarships and research opportunities.

Scholarship Recipient Benjamin Dudek

Benjamin Dudek, a third-year graduate student studying raptor biology, is the recipient of the Richard Olendor Idaho Chapter of Wildlife Society Scholarship. Benjamin, who comes to Boise State from Sharon, Conn., says his research here while earning his degree provides him the opportunity to study how disease and ectoparasites affect golden eagle nestling survival in southwestern Idaho.

“My research will provide data for land managers in southern Idaho to help successfully monitor and manage golden eagle populations,” Benjamin said. “I hope my work will contribute to monitoring and management plans used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the Bureau of Land Management. After graduation, I plan to use the skills I acquired at Boise State to work for a federal agency monitoring wildlife populations.”

Riley and Benjamin are just a few of the top-flight students who have been impacted by your support of the Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Opportunities scholarship campaign. Today at Boise State, 78 percent of full-time undergraduate students from in-state receive some form of financial aid, while 87 percent of out-of-state students receive financial aid. Scholarships from philanthropic gifts have made it possible for us to provide additional resources to help these deserving students succeed.

Scholarships will remain an important need even after this campaign is over. There’s still time left to be part of this extraordinary moment in Boise State history when alumni and donors surpassed expectations to ensure the next generations of Broncos will be able to pursue their academic dreams.

Thank you for your support!



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

One Big Bronco Family

As nearly 4,000 Boise State students cross the academic threshold this year to join the ranks of 84,000 Bronco alumni, we welcome them to the next stage of their Boise State journey. And leading this journey to ensure our alumni and friends remain connected to their alma mater is the Boise State University Alumni Association.

The alumni association unites us, as fans, friends, parents and grandparents, and graduates. Our association keeps us connected to the people and places that changed our lives forever. And today, we applaud our most recent graduates, and remind them that they are now part of something big, special, bold — a passionate and collaborative group of peers that cheered for your success as a student and continues to support you as a professional.

As members of this strong group of bold thinkers, fervent fans and engaged community leaders, we know how together we can make a difference through our support of our alma mater in the communities where we live, and the greater world.

For 50 years, Boise State Alumni Association members have supported the growth of Boise State, from a two-year junior college to the metropolitan doctoral research university we’ve become today. It’s the advocacy, engagement and generosity of our alumni, volunteer members of the Boise State Alumni Association board of directors, chapter leaders and general members, who are our strongest allies in helping us accomplish our strategic mission.

In recent years, we’ve been ranked by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a doctoral research university. Boise State has more than doubled its graduate offerings in a decade, expanded Ph.D. programs and research strengths and attracted high-quality students from around Idaho, every state in the nation and 60 different countries.

The first step all graduates can take to ensure Boise State continues on the trajectory of success is to join the Boise State Alumni Association. Membership provides our alumni and friends the link to keep engaged with and influence the university’s direction.  The Boise State Alumni Association is our graduate’s number one source for keeping informed about Boise State and finding opportunities to engage in multiple ways whether locally or through one of our regional chapters or clubs.

Joining the Boise State Alumni Association not only helps to strengthen the university, but allows you to take advantage of a host of benefits, including career development programs, networking opportunities, cultural experiences, chances to travel several discounts and special deals on products and services for members. Membership dues are annual or lifetime and may qualify for a charitable contribution and Idaho Education Tax Credit.

The most rewarding benefit is clearly the social engagement and networking opportunities provided through the association. There are several regional and affinity chapters across the country that hold special events such as the recent golf tournament hosted by the Fiesta Chapter in the greater Phoenix area. Other events include athletic watch parties, alumni wine tours, career development programs, and family events such as the Easter Egg Hunt on The Blue.

Designed specifically for our recent graduates, the Broncos of the Last Decade, BOLD, is a group of alumni who graduated within the last 10 years. BOLD members meet regularly for social events, have access to online webinars and other career services as well as discounts on continuing education programs, the Boise State Outdoor Program, and campus recreation membership. BOLD members also have access to career counseling including resume review, job search strategies, networking and interview preparation. We want to make sure our graduates are successful in their job search, so Boise State Alumni Association membership provides access to extensive job boards as well as career-changing assistance our service partners provide.

There is a multitude of opportunities provided for our graduates, and the association is here to help Broncos make these critical connections and provide engagement opportunities that will assist the new graduate in reaching their professional goals. New alumni receive a significant discount of 70 percent off annual membership the first six months following graduation, and membership also makes a great graduation gift.

We truly are one big Bronco family, and the association ensures we remain connected as we celebrate the lifelong relationships after our time on campus.

Welcome new alumni. Go Broncos!



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

Graduation is Milestone on the Bronco Journey of a Lifetime

On May 6, we will engage in the special ritual that marks the achievement of the university’s primary purpose — to educate students. Nearly 2,000 students from all academic fields of study will cross the threshold and join the Bronco family of 84,000 graduates when bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees are conferred during spring commencement ceremonies.

Graduation with a degree is the culmination of much hard work and is achieved by only about 40% of American adults. It’s a significant accomplishment, supported by families, faculty members, donors and others, that results in higher earnings and, according to the College Board report Education Pays, better success in life. In addition to precipitating higher incomes, going to college changes behavior, choices, social interaction, civic engagement and other indicators of personal well-being for the better.

Some consider commencement an ending. An ending to the academic year, to late-night study sessions, to juggling class schedules with part-time jobs, to dealing with roommates, to paying tuition. The list goes on and is articulately, often humorously, recounted by our student commencement speakers with relief and sometimes nostalgia, but never regret. Others, including those of us in University Advancement, take the meaning of the word quite literally and see commencement as a great beginning.

The passage of Boise State students to alumni is a significant milestone early in our graduates’ relationship with Boise State. Our students’ daily focus on their studies and immersion in classrooms, labs and campus organizations is relatively short. The post-graduation benefits and impact of affiliation with Boise State are expansive and lifelong. As we take the time to celebrate the success of the class of 2017, we also remind its members that the increasing value of their degrees, the ongoing growth of the university, and the success of subsequent generations of students — and the intellectual, cultural, economic and societal prosperity the university and its graduates generate —  depend on their participation.

Participation can take many forms and changes over our graduates’ lifelong journey. At minimum, we ask our graduates to keep in touch, let us know where they are and what they are doing, by joining the Boise State University Alumni Association. When the time is right, they also may participate in an alumni service event, join a college advisory board, lead a regional alumni chapter, guest-teach a class, hire Boise State interns or mentor current students. The list of possibilities is endless and is supported by university and Boise State Alumni Association programs and services to assist and benefit our former students in return.

We know our graduates will go on to be leaders in their families, communities and professions. We see their capacity to do great things long before they leave campus. That’s why we honor the top graduating seniors each year for exceptional academic achievement. A program of the Boise State Alumni Association, the Top Ten Scholars prestigious awards ceremony provides a bridge between student and alumni life.

Top Ten Scholars are nominated by their academic deans and are subject to rigorous review by a selection committee. To qualify for consideration, a student must have a 3.8 or higher grade point average. Nominees are reviewed based on criteria including breadth of academic coursework, research, creative works and publications, presentations at professional meetings or conferences, and extracurricular community and campus service.

For example, take Jennifer Domanowski who is graduating with a bachelor of science in materials science and engineering and a certificate in elementary Korean. A member of the Boise State Honors College, Jennifer came to Boise State to join the women’s swimming and diving team. She has been named a Division I Mountain West Scholar-Athlete and a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American. Jennifer began her relationship with NASA in 2014, holding internships at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and the Glenn Research Center. In 2015, she became a Pathways Intern at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, continuing her work in materials science. Jennifer has returned to the Goddard Center each summer since and will work there full-time post-graduation.

We’re particularly proud that a member of our University Advancement family, Cynthia England, daughter of Director of Regional Alumni Programs and graduate Teresa Harder, Ed.D. ’06, also was named a Top Ten Scholar. Cynthia will graduate with two bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and entrepreneurship management and a minor in Native American studies. Cynthia’s Boise State career is characterized by altruistic service. She traveled to Belize through the Honors College’s Global Citizenship and Social Responsibility class to teach school and improve school facilities. She’s served Habitat for Humanity, the Ronald McDonald House, the Society for Collegiate Leadership and Achievement, and Tunnel of Oppression. Cynthia has worked with Boise State’s department of anthropology and multicultural student services, and is director of the Eagle Saturday Market. Her work experience and research projects in business, anthropology and Native American studies have provided opportunities to apply her education in real-world practice.

The Top Ten Scholars event also honors the particular faculty members who have assisted and inspired these outstanding students. We celebrate the students’ past success and share that, as they have accomplished great things as undergraduates, we expect great things from them as alumni as well.

Like Jennifer, Cynthia and the other Top Ten Scholars, all of our class of 2017 graduates have bright futures ahead.  We look forward to their active engagement with the university to ensure the success of future students, just as current alumni and those long gone have helped to ensure theirs.  It’s true — once a Bronco, always a Bronco!   Congratulations graduates. Welcome new alumni. Go Broncos!



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

Boise State Alumni Engagement Continues Nationwide Growth

For 50 years, the Boise State University Alumni Association has been connecting, celebrating and engaging alumni from around the globe. The growth of our alumni base to more than 140,000 coincides with increased alumni engagement through one of our regional chapters. Boise State Alumni Association chapters support student recruitment efforts, scholarships and advocacy of the university’s mission.

In the last year alone, through the efforts of outstanding volunteer chapter leaders and the regional alumni programs staff, the alumni association chartered four new chapters, each with plans underway for social, service and scholarship fundraising activities.

The new Fiesta Alumni Chapter that serves alumni and friends in the greater Phoenix area recently held events in Scottsdale including a spring training baseball game gathering, a golf tournament, and dinner and auction at the Scottsdale Silverado Golf Club. The chapter members and attendees raised more than $6,000 for a new scholarship to assist Arizona students attending Boise State. Chapter leaders also are collaborating with Boise State Admissions staff to enhance recruitment efforts in this region.

Members of the Fiesta Chapter meet each other on the links and at the ballpark for the annual spring golf tournament and spring training game.

Another new chapter recently added to the association’s roster is the Honors College Alumni Chapter, serving alumni who graduated from the Honors College at Boise State. Plans for the chapter include establishing a robust mentoring program, fundraising for a legacy project at the new Honors College building, and engaging alumni nationwide.

Honors College Alumni Chapter Photo

In February, the local members of the Honors College Alumni Chapter board wrote cards welcoming 60 incoming Honors students to Boise State.

The new Latino Alumni Chapter’s mission includes the recruitment and retention of Latino students at Boise State University. Planning sessions have begun for a mentoring program and professional networking opportunities. The chapter recently participated in the celebration of the opening of the new Latino space on campus, Casita Nepantla. In addition to serving our Latino alumni, the chapter will provide opportunities for Latino students, staff and faculty at Boise State, as well as anyone else interested in learning more about the Latino culture.

The College of Business and Economics (COBE) Alumni Chapter also was granted a charter recently.  Its mission is to connect COBE alumni across the country and provide professional opportunities for the current students of COBE. Members will partner with the COBE career advisors in designing a mentoring program to prepare new graduates for employment by facilitating interaction with chapter members who can share their work experience, enhance networking opportunities, and provide internships for students.

We’re excited these new chapters are already engaging alumni, and providing services for our students — soon to become alumni themselves — in support of the university and alumni association. By volunteering and sharing their talents, chapter members and volunteer leaders cement the lifelong relationships with that the alumni association cultivates, nurtures and celebrates for the benefit of our alumni and the university.

If you’d like to be involved with the alumni association or one of its chapters, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information by visiting or contacting Teresa Harder, director of regional alumni programs at As President Kustra once said, our strength of a university is measured by the engagement and accomplishments of our alumni.  We value our alumni and their role in Boise State’s growth and success.

Go Broncos!



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

Creating Legacies for 50 Years: Boise State Alumni Association

“Legacy is not what’s left tomorrow when you’re gone. It’s what you give, create, impact and contribute today while you’re here that then happens to live on.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru

When one considers the word “legacy” many definitions come to mind. Here at Boise State, we often think of legacy in terms of the students, faculty, staff and alumni who’ve studied in our classrooms and labs, educated the leaders of tomorrow, and graduated to go on to fulfilling careers where they have a lasting impact on our greater society.  And donors who’ve included Boise State in their estate plans leaving a philanthropic legacy.

Our legacies — all members of our Bronco family — contribute to and cultivate the synergy that solidifies us as a metropolitan research university of distinction in the Northwest.

From its early beginning as a small junior college to a research university today, preparing nearly 24,000 students with the problem-solving, communication, innovation and teamwork skills to be leaders and life-long learners, Boise State University and its family have created a positive legacy of academic excellence and citizenship.

And as we continue on our path of excellence, we occasionally pause and celebrate our milestones of success. Today we celebrate the legacies of our alumni, and foremost, the founding of our Boise State University Alumni Association.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Boise State Alumni Association. It was initiated by two graduates of the class of 1967, our first class to receive bachelor’s degrees, who led the student body as student government officers. (More on this 50th reunion class later.) Through the dedication and constant engagement of many, the Boise State Alumni Association has grown from a 12-founding member alumni association to nearly 4,400 active members engaged in regional, professional and social chapters globally.

While much has changed since the establishment of Boise State Alumni Association in 1967 — a new identity as Boise State University, an Alumni and Friends Center which opened in 2016, and a burgeoning membership roster — the objectives remain the same: To connect, celebrate and engage alumni and friends of the university to build lifelong relationships that support the future of Boise State

In celebration of this university milestone, we’ve dug deep in the archives, dusted off some photos, and spoke to several of our legacy alumni and friends who share their stories of the 50 years of our Alumni Association’s success. We look forward to sharing more with you as we honor and celebrate our legacies throughout this landmark year!

Go Broncos!



Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.