Boise State University’s winter Commencement Dec. 17 honored nearly 2,000 mid-year graduates and paid tribute to Rod Lewis, one of Idaho’s longest-serving Idaho State Board of Education leaders.
About 1,000 students participated in the university’s 99th Commencement ceremony. In total, 1,937 students were eligible to receive 2,144 degrees and certificates. Of those, 322 were eligible for honors: 209 cum laude, 97 magna cum laude and 16 summa cum laude.
Boise State expects to confer around 4,000 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and other degrees this academic year.
The graduating class represented 24 countries, along with 47 states, the District of Columbia and two military bases.
“Here at Boise State, you shared a common bond as Boise State students, enriching and nurturing our campus culture with your own unique experiences and perspectives,” said Boise State President Bob Kustra. “It’s our fondest hope that because of this experience, you are better prepared to face the career challenges and opportunities that await you in a rapidly changing global economy.”
Boise State is Idaho’s largest graduate school and is the state’s largest producer of bachelor’s degrees. Seven doctoral students were hooded at winter Commencement, including the university’s first Ph.D. in public policy and administration.
Lewis received 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. He was appointed to the Board in March 2000 and is one of the longest serving members in board history.
“It has been a challenging and rewarding journey,” Lewis said. “You have taken this university to higher heights and seen the vision of its potential.”
Lewis, who retired as vice president of legal affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary for Boise’s Micron Technology Inc. after 22 years with the company, noted that Micron currently employs more than 600 Boise State graduates, with many of them serving in leadership positions.
Winter Commencement student speaker Bethany Poythress from Kuna graduated with bachelor of arts degrees in French and international business. She encouraged her classmates to seek adventure and give themselves fully to the next phase of their lives.
“To care deeply is to be passionate and passion is a gift,” she said. “It makes life meaningful. Really commit to the cases and people you care about.”
The Pesky Awards for Inspirational Teaching were 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.