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From the Vice President

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.

You can read more about all of our Top Ten Scholars and honored faculty members here.

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. Please take a moment and enjoy our Alumni Association 50th Anniversary webpages, filled with photos, interviews, fun facts and more. And 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.

Creating a Culture of Philanthropy Through Student Engagement

Outside of the classrooms, labs and study halls at Boise State, students are engaged in athletics, clubs, internships, service-learning and other programs that broaden their ability to adapt quickly to the collaborative and changing environment of their chosen professions.   In fact, in a survey of our 2016 graduates these young alumni identified hands-on experiences as critical to their current success.

Take, for example, those who are engaged in the recently reorganized Boise State Student Impact Board. Comprised of students earning a diverse array of degrees, the 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. The students, guided by members of our University Advancement staff, selected the name of their group, highlighting the “impact” they are dedicated to achieving. The Boise State Student Impact Board emphasizes involvement, motivation, philanthropy, advancement, community and tradition as their objectives — hence the “impact” they make as student leaders.

The Student Impact Board members help with University Advancement’s alumni and donor events such as the annual Scholarship Dinner, and Easter Egg Hunt on the Blue, as well as university-wide activities like Bronco Day and Commencement. As you join us for our spring events, look for these student advancement leaders promoting Bronco pride, and fostering our culture of philanthropy.

Members of the Student Impact Board

Several student members of the group understand the positive impact philanthropy makes in the lives of others. Their academic careers have been significantly impacted by your generosity, as many are beneficiaries of your scholarship gifts and the Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Opportunities scholarship campaign.

Our student scholarship recipients joined us last evening for our annual Scholarship Dinner celebration, where we honored our donors who generously support our student’s education. More than 500 donors and students gathered together so they could meet one another, mingle and hear student stories of the impact scholarships have had on their lives and donor testimonials of the values and motivation that sparks their giving. As many of you have experienced, it’s an inspiring evening of fellowship and gratitude, including a special appearance by the Keith Stein Blue Marching Band.

Playing to a room of extraordinary individuals

I’d like to leave you with my favorite quote (that some of you will recognize) from a former university president that sums up why we do what we do: Scholarship and philanthropy are each, separately, among the most powerful forces at work shaping the future of our society. In combination, they may be unsurpassed in their capacity to improve the human condition.  Thank you for your role in achieving this lofty goal.



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

Like Family, We Celebrate the Lives and Impact of Broncos

Our engagement with alumni, donors and friends often grows into special relationships with common bonds.  The important partners have a profound impact on Boise State in many ways. We cherish these relationships, and consider them members of our extended family. Like members of our birth family, we share life’s celebrations such as reaching personal goals, including the new job following graduation, to the marriage and births of children, to other countless successes of personal and career achievements. We also are here, just like a family, to share in the more difficult times including the loss of our Bronco sisters and brothers. Recently, we shared in the mourning and certainly the fond remembrances and celebration of the lives of two of our Bronco family members who passed; Marilyn Shuler and Margaret “Marge” McDonagh.

Marilyn, as many of our family can attest, was a dedicated public servant who spent years advocating for human rights in Idaho. She led the Idaho Human Rights Commission for 20 years, co-founded a book club for human rights, and served on the charter board for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Boise State.

Her dedication to helping uplift the lives of others includes volunteer service on numerous Boise State boards, as well as the Boise State Public Radio advisory board, and the School of Public Service board. A member of the Barnwell Society for donors at Boise State, she also is a silver medallion and distinguished alumni honoree. Marilyn was conferred with honorary doctorate in 2014. Her long list of career accomplishments is notable, and the impact she made in her community, and here at Boise State will endure for generations.

While speaking to graduates during commencement ceremonies in 2014, she imparted them with advice to think of others as they go forward following graduation. Quoting author Robert Fulghum, Marilyn said, “Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours…” Like these words, Marilyn’s life reflected the simple, yet powerful message of inclusion, equality and kindness toward all.

I met Marilyn in late 2012 at one of our President’s Club events.  Then I would run into her regularly at activities of the Osher Institute, Boise State Public Radio, the Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation— everywhere there were people dong good things.  I came to appreciate her steadfast support of causes and organizations in which she believed.  I learned that Marilyn didn’t just show up ¾ Marilyn was invested. It wasn’t until the post-commencement luncheon celebrating her Boise State honorary doctorate that I realized the enormity of her investment and the profound impact she had on so many.  I’d read her bio and articles written about her, and they were very, very impressive.  But hearing her sons and her closest friends and colleagues stand up at lunch and give personal testimony about her personal and professional accomplishments was awe-inspiring.  I feel privileged to have known her and am certain — and grateful — that her legacy will continue to have a tremendous lasting impact.

Services for Marilyn will be held on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. in the Jordan Ballroom Student Union Building at Boise State University.

We also celebrate the life of our friend and Bronco family member Marge McDonagh. Marge, also known among family and friends as Maggie, and Bob or “Old Coot” as he prefers to be called, are longtime supporters of Boise State. Maggie and Old Coot were two of the very first Boise State donors I met when I moved here in 2012.  They have a special place in my heart because they went out of their way to make me feel welcome in my new home.  Maggie would reach out with special touches — a box of chocolates at Christmas time, an inquiry about my canine child — just to let me know she cared.  Nurturing seemed to come naturally to her and, perhaps, that’s what led her to a career in nursing.  Maggie was a registered nurse who worked for several physicians at the Caldwell Memorial Hospital and she shared her career experience as a member of the Friends of Nursing advisory board for the College of Health Sciences.

Once, when I still didn’t know many people here, I invited Old Coot and Maggie to join me at a basketball game in Taco Bell Arena.  Maggie was so kind and humble in declining my invitation saying that I should invite someone else who might not otherwise attend the game; she and Old Coot didn’t need any special treatment.  When I arrived at the game, I understood why, in addition to what she’d told me, she’d declined my invitation.  There were Old Coot and Maggie sitting in their court-side seats!  I then always looked forward to seeing and waving to them across the court.  If Old Coot and Maggie were there, all was right with the world.

Maggie’s impact on Boise State came in very personal ways, reflecting her values and humility, through the quiet support of many, many students through scholarships, facilities and programs for student-athletes, future nurses, students showing innovative approaches to their education, and lifelong learners.  With Old Coot by her side, she was changing the world one life at a time.

In the loss of such giants as Marilyn and Maggie, I take comfort in seeing their impact and legacy live on in the lives and communities they’ve enriched.  God speed, dear friends.  And thank you.



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

Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

At Boise State University, we strive to provide our undergraduate and graduate students academic excellence that prepares them to become leaders in their communities, lifelong learners, and engaged colleagues inspired by innovation and creativity in their respective fields. We know that providing access to high-quality education provides personal and professional growth that engages students to focus on their success. And to ensure our students are receiving the best possible education to enter today’s challenging workforce, we’ve made it a priority to increase access to graduate education as well.

This year, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of doctoral education at Boise State.  Boise State has seen significant growth in its graduate programs in recent years, particularly with the addition of doctoral programs in biomolecular sciences, materials science and engineering, education technology, ecology and public policy and administration. The growth of these programs offered through the Graduate College contributes to more than 75 distinct offerings leading to master’s and doctoral degrees.

Graduate students at Boise State are mentored and collaborate with top-flight faculty to solve today’s critical problems, while gaining insights to become the next generation of leaders, thinkers and innovators. The successful growth of graduate programs certainly contributed to Boise State’s 2016 designation as a doctoral research institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

In addition, the university has seen an increase in graduates in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math — awarding more Ph.Ds. in 2015 than any other Idaho university.

While the Carnegie classification helps researchers secure additional funding from agencies like the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, other opportunities for collaboration and support have emerged. For example, Micron Foundation, a longtime supporter of Boise State, helped establish and grow the materials science and engineering bachelor’s degree and electrical engineering Ph.D. programs. The foundation also has supported teacher education, science and engineering outreach programs for K-12 students, scholarships, buildings and research activities. This long relationship culminated in the largest philanthropic donation in the university’s more than 80-year history: a $25 million gift that will help build a new Micron Center for Materials Research Building on campus. Partnerships with leading industry such as Micron, Boeing and the Idaho National Laboratory provide opportunities that prepare our graduates to be sought after colleagues in their respective fields.

Preparing the nearly 2,500 graduate students to be tomorrow’s leaders is one of our top priorities at Boise State. We also want to ensure students enter the workforce without significant financial restraints due to pursuing graduate education.

Funding for scholarships, fellowships and other support allows students to explore future opportunities to their fullest potential. Due to reductions in federal financial aid, and the increases in student loan debt, we continue to look to the private sector to help support the education, research and other expenses needed to earn an advanced degree.

Take for example the Stephen R. Kustra Fellowship for the Masters of Fine Art in Creative Writing. Established by President Bob Kustra and his wife Kathy in honor of their late son, the fellowship provides assistance for tuition, fees, books and more for students pursuing an MFA degree in creative writing.

Support of graduate education comes in many forms such as the Alfred M. Dufty, Jr. Award. Created to honor the memory of Dr. Al Dufty, a much-loved friend and mentor to many at Boise State, funds from this award are used to pay the travel expenses of one or two outstanding graduate students each year, enabling them to present their research results at a professional meeting.

The Wendy and Alan Pesky Fellowship supports graduate students earning a master’s in teaching in special education through the College of Education by providing funding for supervised teaching opportunities with the Lee Pesky Learning Center.

These are just a few examples of how donor support enhances the lives and academic careers of Boise State students engaged in graduate education. It is through these donor and industry partnerships that we can ensure that the great potential of our students is not left unrealized due to the inability to bear the cost of graduate education.

Your support of our graduate programs over the past 20 years and into the future is deeply appreciated.



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

Grant Funding Exemplifies Community Engagement

Some of you know University Advancement as the university’s fundraising team.  Others of you know us from alumni programs, and still others of you know us as donor services and appreciation.  All of those roles center around engaging you — our alumni, friends, donors and community partners — in advancing the mission of the university through your support in many forms.  We also support our university colleagues, programs and departments in their own community engagement efforts and work to ensure that our metropolitan environment thrives. Take for example a recent $240,000 grant awarded to Boise State Public Radio (BSPR) from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. These funds will be used to provide upgrades to key technology and equipment for BSPR’s transmission network, and network operations center.

The project will enhance BSPR’s mission of service and education.  It will allow BSPR to maintain ongoing reliability, mitigate power outages, more efficiently address emergencies and ensure the network operations center is operated by the latest in broadcast and transmission technology. Key components include installation of three new transmitters, upgrades to main and auxiliary transmission technology.

Annual community support of BSPR from listeners in the broadcast region shows us how committed you are to its valued programming. And this grant will help ensure that BSPR can reach every community across the current coverage map, ensuring that people throughout the state can connect to the issues and ideas that affect our communities, our nation, and our world.

Improving service to remote areas and working to expand the coverage footprint is an important issue of funding. BSPR’s goal is to eventually expand our coverage area with the installation of additional technology so new listeners can continue to enjoy the best in broadcast journalism, as well as classical music and smart entertainment programming. And also enjoy unique and original programs like President Kustra’s Reader’s Corner.

BSPR and the university’s growth and improvement are collective.  What we do is a team sport, and we need and appreciate your role — and that of partners like the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust — on the team.  Go Broncos!



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

2016: A Year of Growth for On-Campus Engagement

For many of us, this time of year provides an opportunity to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and lessons learned.  Here at Boise State, we reached several objectives to meet the needs of our students, expand opportunities for faculty research and enterprise, and engage our communities in mutually-beneficial partnerships.

Boise State’s more than decade-long evolution to a metropolitan research university of distinction reached a pinnacle milestone earlier this year when the University was classified as a doctoral research institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education — the nation’s premier college classification system.

And we kicked off the fall semester welcoming 400 more first-year students into residence halls than the previous year. This record number of students living on campus came after years of work to expand the “Living Learning Communities” initiative and to make the on-campus living experience more positive and focused on learning. Boise State’s ongoing efforts to boost support and resources for on-campus residents resulted in rising average GPAs for on-campus residents over the last two years and increased retention rates.

Also, we continue to expand our campus footprint with the opening of the Alumni and Friends Center Building, as well as planning for future construction projects that will enhance our student’s learning experiences. The Micron Center for Materials Research Building and Fine Arts Building projects are moving forward, with the Idaho State Board of Education’s recent bond approval on the latter development and continued fundraising for both projects.

Another initiative that’s seen impressive expansion, and has unlimited potential to affect our students’ experience, is our Bronco Parent & Family Association.

The Bronco Parent & Family Association was formed to create an opportunity for parents and family members to collaborate with other Bronco families in support of student learning, development and success. Open to all family members of students, the association will periodically send news to keep members informed of upcoming events and important dates, changes at the university, advice for families, and personal stories from students and families. Serving as the voice for the association with university leadership and others, the Parent and Family Council is comprised of current association members from diverse backgrounds, geographic locations and interests.

A collaborative effort between the Division of Student Affairs and University Advancement, the association focuses on the continued development of the Bronco Family experience including cultivating opportunities for family members to learn about campus resources and build community through networking opportunities. Members also promote the idea of lifelong engagement to our future alumni.

This campus-wide effort focuses on four key strategies:

  • Participation

Boise State offers parent and family members a variety of events and activities to help them stay involved and connected with the campus.

  • Sharing

Parent and family members are invited to share their Boise State story and the experience of their student. The university shares resources and information needed to help families stay informed about campus.

  • Advocating

Parent and family members are encouraged to have a voice on behalf of their student as well as shape the Bronco family experience.

  • Giving

Giving takes place in multiple forms including giving time, expertise or financial contributions to support students’ success.

We’re excited to see more growth of the Bronco Parent & Family Association as an important partner in our collective success, and we look forward to expanded Bronco Day and Parent & Family Weekend. If you are a parent or family member of a current or future Bronco student, consider joining the Bronco Parent & Family Association today.

Thank you for your generosity towards the values and mission that guide Boise State. You — our dedicated alumni, friends, and partners — play a key role in our achievements of the past and those of the future.

For those who are considering year-end gifts, there are several possible benefits of contributing appreciated assets and other gifts now rather than in 2017. Given the uncertainty of a possible deduction cap and other changes to the tax code that may be proposed by the new Washington administration, many financial advisors are telling their clients to give now while the tax-related effects of charitable gifts are certain.

Please consult with your financial or tax consultant for information pertaining to your particular situation.  University Advancement and Foundation staff will be on duty over the holiday break to assist with year-end gifts.

Best wishes for a very happy holiday season and prosperous new year!



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