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Category Archives: 2010-2011

December 5, 2011

Dear Friends,

We spend a significant amount of time talking about research here at Boise State. It truly is the future of this university and I take every opportunity possible to tell our friends how the research conducted in our labs, our studios and the field strengthens the education of our students, fuels economic growth in the community, and enhances our University’s reputation and the value of our degrees.

This fall, we’ve made tremendous strides in not only creating a world-class academic and research environment at Boise State, but also in making sure the world knows about the phenomenal faculty members behind it.

This semester alone, Boise State has added two new doctoral programs and plans to ask the Idaho State Board of Education to approve a third in early December. These new advanced degree programs – one each in education technology, biomolecular sciences, and materials science and engineering (pending approval in December) – are essential steps in deepening Boise State’s research portfolio. The graduate students they bring to campus will offer unique expertise as protégés to our top researchers in some of the university’s most advanced fields of study. Their addition to the advanced degrees we already offer – including doctorates in geophysics, geosciences, electrical and computer engineering, and education, curriculum and instruction – represent a significant advancement in key areas of scholarship, expertise and research.

This fall we also launched a new website featuring the faculty members behind the myriad of research programs here at Boise State – Intended to showcase the expertise and innovative spirit that infuses all aspects of Boise State life, the website features an ongoing series of podcasts from faculty experts introducing a variety of topics to the casual listener. Visitors to the site can listen to podcasts or link through iTunesU, where they can download past podcasts and subscribe to receive automatic downloads of new content whenever they open iTunes.

Every day, we focus on advancing Boise State’s place and reputation as a metropolitan research university with the singular goal of creating an institution of learning that makes you proud.

As usual, thank you for all that you do for Boise State University. Go Broncos!


Bob Kustra

Here are a few recent or upcoming items of interest from Boise State University:

Boise State is now Idaho’s first All-Steinway School thanks to an unsolicited $1 million from Boise benefactors Keith and Catherine Stein. The gift allows the Department of Music to exclusively feature Steinway & Sons pianos for all teaching, rehearsals and performances by providing 35 new pianos. Boise State becomes one of about 135 All-Steinway colleges, universities and conservatories worldwide, joining the company of institutions such as Yale University, The Juilliard School, Carnegie-Mellon University, Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Oberlin College Conservatory.

Winter Commencement will bring the Boise State community together for a traditional ceremony in the Taco Bell Arena to celebrate August and December graduates at 10 a.m., Dec. 16. The ceremony will include the processional and recessional of candidates as well as individual recognition of each person and hooding of the doctoral candidates. Also, Alan and Wendy Pesky and Boise State’s College of Education will honor four distinguished Idaho K-12 teachers and their schools with $10,000 in awards at the ceremony.

Members of Boise State’s intrepid student club Greenspeed are now the proud builders of the world’s fastest vehicle that runs on vegetable oil. The Greenspeed team made two record-breaking runs in November shattering the existing 109 mph record for vegetable oil-fueled vehicles with runs of 139 mph and 155 mph. Next summer, the team of undergraduates from the College of Engineering hopes its souped-up 1998 S-10 pickup will prove that vegetable oil works as well as fossil fuels by overtaking the existing 215 mph record for petroleum-fueled trucks in their division.

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has been especially generous to Boise State in recent weeks. A $3 million grant to the Boise State University Foundation will help expand the football athletic complex, create an academic center within the complex, and continue the Foundation’s Go On awareness campaign in conjunction with Boise State Athletics. Additionally, a $3.85 grant to Boise State Center for School Improvement will provide Idaho’s superintendents and principals with the training and capacity to become effective leaders and create high performing schools where every teacher is supported and all students succeed.

The National Science Foundation has awarded a Boise State University biologist more than $270,000 to study hawkmoths and certain noises they make to discourage predatory bats from hunting them. Jesse Barber, assistant professor of biological sciences at Boise State, will study thousands of different types of hawkmoths from around the world to determine the reasons behind the noises they make when bats are attacking them. To conduct the study, Boise State researchers will pit lab-raised bats against hawk moths in an imaging facility outfitted with multiple high-speed cameras for 3D reconstruction of predator-prey battles. The study will take about four years to complete and will be the first to examine the interactions between bats and hawkmoths.

September 12, 2011

Dear Friends,

It is a time of new beginnings at Boise State University and the optimism for the future that accompanies a new academic year means more than usual this fall. As our students settle into the promising routines of a new semester, Boise State celebrates the conclusion of the most successful higher education fundraising campaign in Idaho history and the awarding of a new prestigious grant that marks our university’s path forward as an emerging metropolitan research university.

I am very pleased to tell you that we have exceeded our ambitious goals for Destination Distinction, our recently completed comprehensive fundraising campaign, by raising $185.4 million for the people, places and programs of Boise State. This remarkably successful endeavor was Boise State’s first comprehensive campaign, and in typical Boise State fashion, we set and surpassed the very high standard we established for ourselves.

At its official end on June 30, the seven-year campaign engaged more than 23,000 donors and included gifts as small as a few dollars up to a very generous $13 million gift from the Micron Technology Foundation. It provided funding across campus in the form of new and refurbished buildings, new doctoral programs, graduate assistantships and fellowships, faculty support, including nine new faculty endowments, and 376 student scholarships.

The forward momentum that drove our successful campaign is leading to other successes across campus, including the news that Boise State researchers have received the university’s first grant from the prestigious W.M. Keck Foundation.

The highly competitive $1 million grant will support the development of an inexpensive and portable device that can detect up to 250 diseases through the real-time analysis of blood, saliva and other body fluids – similar to the way a home pregnancy test works. The new system could fundamentally change early-stage disease diagnosis and treatment worldwide, especially where medical equipment and resources are scarce.

Will Hughes, assistant professor of materials science, leads the interdisciplinary team of professors in chemistry, biology and engineering as well as a wide range of local and national collaborators in this cutting-edge research effort. This recognition by the Keck Foundation, known for funding high-risk, high-return research, is a testament to pioneering work among our faculty that could have a profound global impact.

Successes like these assure me that bright days and brilliant discoveries are ahead at Boise State and I cannot wait to see the results.

As usual, thank you for all that you do for Boise State University. Go Broncos!


Bob Kustra


Here are a few recent or upcoming items of interest from Boise State University.

Alzheimer’s research conducted at Boise State University has led to the development of an antibody that will help researchers who are trying to determine triggers for a number of degenerative diseases. Biology professor Troy Rohn formulated the antibody, known as caspase-cleaved beclin-1, as part of his research into the causes of Alzheimer’s disease, and Boise State has signed a licensing agreement to make the antibody available to biomedical researchers around the globe. It is the first antibody developed at Boise State to be licensed.

The Boise State University Alumni Association will present its Distinguished Alumni awards at the fourth annual Presidential Gala at 6 p.m. Oct. 21 in the Stueckle Sky Center. Honorees include Steve Decker (Elementary education, ’81), a recently retired 34-year Boise School District teacher; Michael Knopp (Business administration, ’79), president of Remotec/Northrop Grumman; Deb Riedel (Music, ’77, ’99), first vice president and wealth management portfolio manager at Smith Barney; and Ronald Wilper (Communication, ’77), Ada County district judge. Tickets are $50 for members and $65 for nonmembers by calling (208) 426-1698. A portion of the proceeds generated from this event will support Alumni Legacy Scholarships.

In early October, two of Boise State’s major campus lecture series will present national experts. Both events are free and open to the public, and will be located in the Student Union Jordan Ballroom. Free parking is available in the Lincoln Avenue Garage. On Oct. 3, the Brandt Foundation Lectures presents public policy and legal expert Robert A. Levy at 7 p.m. The lecture is co-sponsored by Boise State’s College of Business and Economics and the John and Orah Brandt Foundation. And on Oct. 6, the Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series presents Raj Patel, the author of “Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System,” at 7 p.m.

Students returning to classes this fall were once again met with a changed landscape as the university opened the five story, 97,000-square-foot Environmental Research Building (ERB) across from Bronco Stadium along University Drive. With modern laboratories and study space, the building enhances research aimed at the pressing issues of the West, including the environment, energy, transportation, water, land use and community planning. Boise State’s first building dedicated solely to research, the ERB is home to the departments of Geosciences, Civil Engineering, Public Policy and Administration and Political Science, as well as a community and regional planning program, the Environmental Finance Office, the Public Policy Center and the Frank Church Institute.

Boise State will offer a new online doctorate in educational technology, building on the College of Education’s successful thesis-based and professional online master’s programs. With the approval of the Idaho State Board of Education last month, the new program will examine the use of current and emerging technologies for effective and efficient teaching and learning in a dynamic, global society. The first full cohort of doctoral candidates is expected to start their studies in fall 2012.


May 18, 2011

Dear Friends,

Boise State University’s advancement as a metropolitan research university is typically achieved with steady, relentless day-to-day progress. Yet, we recently celebrated a rare opportunity to take a giant step forward in our university’s future success. (more…)

February 28, 2011

Dear Friends,

In recent presentations before the State Board of Education (SBOE) and the Idaho Legislature, we have expressed our concern over funding equity for Boise State University students. An examination by the SBOE clearly demonstrates that a per-student funding inequity exists among its four institutions of higher education, especially for Boise State students, who receive the lowest amount of state funding per capita. (more…)

February 9, 2011

Dear Friends,

Here at Boise State, we have a theme that sums up the way we approach everything we do, from financing the prolific construction projects you see on our campus to blazing modern curricular paths for our students to conducting the leading-edge research being done in our laboratories. (more…)