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Dec. 17 Winter Commencement Honors Rod Lewis, Nearly 2,000 Graduates

By: Sherry Squires   Published 9:53 am / December 6, 2016


Boise State University’s winter Commencement will honor graduates with a traditional ceremony and pay tribute to Rod Lewis, one of Idaho’s longest-serving Idaho State Board of Education leaders.

The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, in Taco Bell Arena. Arena doors open at 8:30 a.m. and attendees are encouraged to arrive early. Open seating will be on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Winter Commencement, photo by Patrick Sweeney

About 1,000 students are expected to participate in the university’s 99th Commencement ceremony. In total, 1,937 students are eligible to receive 2,144 degrees and certificates. Of those, 322 are eligible for honors: 209 cum laude, 97 magna cum laude and 16 summa cum laude. View a full list of graduates here.

Seven doctoral students will be hooded. Boise State has Idaho’s largest graduate school and awards more degrees each year than any other Idaho university.

lewis_rod_2400x3000Rod Lewis will receive the Silver Medallion, Boise State’s highest recognition of service to the university. Lewis served Idaho’s higher education institutions and its citizens for 15 years as a member of the State Board of Education and Board of Trustees for Boise State University. Lewis was appointed to the Board in March 2000 and is one of the longest serving members in board history. He held every officer position at least once, including serving two terms as President of the Board. He chaired the search committee that found a new Boise State University president in 2003. More recently, he served as a member of the Governor’s Task Force for Improving Education.

Lewis is the only board member in recent history to be appointed to serve three terms by two different governors. His leadership and advocacy as a member of Boise State’s Board of Trustees during a period of significant growth and transformation were instrumental in the university’s success. Boise State expanded its research profile over the last decade and added doctoral programs in biomolecular sciences, materials science and engineering, educational technology, public policy and administration, and nursing practice in just the past four years. The university was recognized in February as a doctoral research institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Lewis helped to champion this vision for Boise State with the board, elected officials and industry, and challenged the university to serve students and Idaho citizens through well-balanced offerings and programs.

Lewis retired as vice president of legal affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary for Micron Technology Inc. of Boise after 22 years with the company. He oversaw the growth of Micron’s legal department from a staff of six, serving one manufacturing plant in Boise, to a staff of more than 30 with operations around the world. He also served on the Micron Technology Foundation board. The Micron Foundation has supported the university with a number of gifts in recent years, including $25 million last year to establish the Micron Center for Materials Research.

Winter Commencement, Photo by Allison Corona

Winter Commencement 2015

The winter Commencement student speaker is Bethany Poythress from Kuna, who is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in French and international business. Poythress has been recognized consistently on the Dean’s List with High Honors and has served as a peer mentor for Boise State University’s Honors College. She was a member of the International Business Organization, the French Club, the Boise State University Student Foundation, the Honors Student Association and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She volunteered at the Idaho Humane Society, and both volunteered and completed an internship at Zoo Boise, where she taught visitors about wildlife conservation, demonstrated proper animal-handling skills for children and implemented an adopt-an-animal program, among other duties.

The Pesky Awards for Inspirational Teaching also will be presented to four outstanding Idaho teachers: Maura Goddard, North Junior High School, Boise School District; Michael Casey Mattox, Renaissance Magnet High School, West Ada School District; Bill Lavin, North Star Charter School, West Ada School District; and Nikki Clark-Vega, Boise High School, Boise School District. Alan and Wendy Pesky, founders of the Lee Pesky Learning Center, created the Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching with Boise State University’s College of Education through a mutual vision to honor and recognize inspiring teachers. This is the only known award of its kind in the country.

The Commencement ceremony will include a processional and recessional, individual recognition of graduates and the hooding of doctoral candidates. Widescreens will be set up so family and friends can see the graduates up close as they are individually recognized. Parking is free.

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