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President’s Letter to Friends of Boise State

September 8, 2008

Dear Friends,

We are at a defining moment in the history of Boise State.

At the start of a new academic year, we are focused on creating a residential campus culture, enhancing the academic profile of the student body and placing even more emphasis on faculty research and scholarship.

After setting an all-time state enrollment record last year, we expect even more students on campus this year – nearly 20,000 – marking an increase for the 20th time in the last 23 years. Through programs like the Langroise National Merit Scholars, Boise State Capital Scholars, and Presidential Civic Leadership Scholars, we not only increased the size of our student body, but have dramatically improved its academic profile as well. This year we’ve seen a 10 percent increase in the number of incoming students who ranked in the top quarter of their high school classes from 2003 to 2007.

A key reason behind the improvement and growth of our student body is the accomplishments and enhanced stature of the Boise State faculty. Boise State has been home to the Idaho Professor of the Year 11 times since 1990, chosen for undergraduate teaching excellence, and faculty members such as Kris Campbell in engineering, Alex Punnoose in physics, Denise Wingett and Kevin Feris in biological sciences, and Brady Udall and Tony Doerr in English have garnered national acclaim for their work and research.

A more concrete example of Boise State’s changing dynamics is the creation of a dominant residential campus culture. A new student housing initiative that will more than double the residential units on campus is in the planning stages. As part of Boise State’s campus master plan, the new student housing would be just steps from the Student Union Building. The first phase could provide up to 900 beds by the fall of 2010 in potentially a 2,500-bed community.

These are just a few of the exciting things we’re focusing on as we move full steam ahead into the fall semester.

As usual, thank you for everything you do for Boise State. Go Broncos!


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

  • Boise State University researcher and geosciences professor Shawn Benner is co-author of an article published in the July 24 edition of the prestigious interdisciplinary science journal “Nature.” Benner served as the lead hydrogeologist on the research highlighted in the article, which focuses on the causes of elevated arsenic in groundwater in Asia, a problem that adversely impacts about 100 million people. Benner’s work was in collaboration with researchers at Stanford University.
  • Boise State kicked off a new academic year with 42 new tenure-track faculty members on board. Some new professors come to campus fresh from Ph.D. programs, while others are attaining permanent status following a stint as a guest lecturer, or entering academia from successful careers in the private sector or other prestigious universities.
  • Astronaut and Idaho educator Barbara R. Morgan joined Boise State this summer as its Distinguished Educator in Residence, a new position designed to fit her unique ability. Through a dual appointment to the colleges of engineering and education, Morgan will advise, lead and represent the university in its policy development, advocacy and fundraising in science-, technology-, engineering- and math-related programs, scholarships and initiatives. She will serve as a Boise State ambassador for scientific literacy in the community and education policy in Idaho. Also, she will direct Boise State’s efforts to bring NASA education programs to area school districts, and serve as a guest lecturer and student mentor in departments across campus. The appointment came just weeks after Boise State awarded Morgan an honorary doctorate degree for her accomplishments as NASA’s first educator astronaut. Morgan flew aboard the space shuttle Endeavor last August.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation has recognized Boise State as a “Best Workplace for Commuters.” The program recognizes institutions that value and support efforts to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and provide environmentally friendly commuting options to its employees and students. Notable programs that assisted in Boise State earning this recognition were the free bus and shuttle programs for students, faculty and staff; car pool programs; the Kinesiology Bike Barn that provides indoor bike storage, lockers and showers for bike commuters; and participation in and support of other programs offered through agencies such as the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and the Clean Cities Coalition.
  • A year after launching “Destination Distinction: The Campaign for Boise State University,” the drive to raise $175 million has surpassed its halfway mark and is quickly closing in on $100 million. Combined gifts at of the end of July totaled more than $96.8 million. Additionally, a goal of $10 million has been established for future bequests and expectancies. To date, more than $7 million of that goal has been met.
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