Boise State University will confer an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on Marilyn Shuler, former director of the Idaho Human Rights Commission, at the 2014 Spring Commencement.
The traditional ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 17, in Taco Bell Arena and will include a processional and recessional, individual recognition of graduates and the hooding of doctoral candidates. No tickets are required.
Shuler, who earned her master of public administration degree at Boise State in 1978, is known for her untiring efforts on behalf of human rights. She co-founded, built and promoted the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, is a founding member of the Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment, supported the development of the Idaho Black History Museum, founded the Peaceful Settlements Foundation and established the John Shuler Fund at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in support of foster care.
“For many years, Marilyn Shuler has been an incredible advocate for human rights and has given voice to countless people of all ages and at all levels of society,” said President Bob Kustra. “Her indefatigable spirit and selfless service to the community in areas as diverse as public education and civic affairs are an inspiration to all of us here at the university and beyond. She truly exemplifies the very best of our Boise State alumni.”
“Through periods of great controversy, Marilyn Shuler has been the steady, reasonable influence at the moral center of Idaho,” said former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus. “She has done more with the resources of a tiny agency and a tiny budget to advance the cause of human rights and individual dignity than anyone ever has in Idaho. She has been a persistent guardian of the rights of all members of society.”
In addition to her work as a guardian ad litem for foster children and as a Boise River Greenbelt patrol volunteer, she is a program chair for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Boise State, a board member for the Boise Commission on Foreign Relations, the Casey Family Program Community Advisory Board and other organizations, and a volunteer lead teacher for the YMCA Kindergarten Project, among other activities.
She helped establish public kindergartens in Idaho, encouraged the state to implement some of the strongest laws banning malicious harassment and paramilitary training, helped create the Martin Luther King Jr./Idaho Human Rights Day, helped organize the Ada County Human Rights Task Force and more.
“Marilyn Shuler is a saint and, I would add, a very busy saint,” noted YMCA Director Jim Everett.
Boise State previously recognized Shuler with an Alumni Honored Scholar Award, as a Top Twenty Alumni from the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs and as a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
Boise State awards honorary doctoral degrees to recognize individuals of outstanding accomplishment in scholarship, creativity, public service, education or contributions to human welfare. Previous recipients include Michael Hoffman, former Gov. Cecil Andrus, Steve Appleton, John Elorriaga, Ralph Peterson, Barbara Morgan, Bethine Church, Velma Morrison and Allen Dykman.