Skip to Main Content
Mobile Menu

President’s Letter to Friends of Boise State

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.

Earlier this month, our partners at Micron Technology, Inc. committed $13 million to the creation of a doctoral-level program in materials science within our College of Engineering. It is the largest gift to the university in its nearly 80-year history and, by investing in Boise State, Micron is investing in the future of the high-tech workforce and the proud tradition of American creativity.

This new Ph.D. has the potential to drive the creation of critical new technologies, industries and ways of life in areas as wide ranging as health care, construction and national defense and will position Boise State’s materials science program as one of the top research engines in the region. Related research at Boise State ranges from using DNA as nanoscale scaffolding for groundbreaking biomedical devices to developing new materials to withstand extreme heat, corrosive gas and radiation. Globally, the ability of these scientists to manipulate and create materials is essential to emerging technologies in an industry worth an estimated $550 billion.

This gift also marks the successful conclusion of Destination Distinction, the first comprehensive fundraising campaign in school history. It is an appropriate capstone to a seven-year journey in which donations large and small helped us raise more than $175 million in private support for the people, places and programs of Boise State University. Our sincere thanks goes out to all of the donors who helped us achieve this goal. In reaching this milestone, we have built a solid foundation for our next fundraising campaign.

For many reasons, we are grateful for our long-standing relationship with Micron and the Micron Foundation and for the continued support of CEO Steve Appleton and his executive team.

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


Bob Kustra



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

Student speaker Tabatha Renz, honorary doctorate recipient John Elorriaga and 1,300 graduates were the stars of the show at Spring Commencement Saturday, May 14. There were 2,118 students eligible for 2,281 degrees and certificates, and 467 students eligible for honors: 273 cum laude, 162 magna cum laude and 32 summa cum laude. Renz graduated with highest honors with a bachelor of science degree in health science studies. Originally from Dillon, Mont., she is a first-generation college student and was recently named a Boise State University Top Ten Scholar for the Class of 2011. The university also awarded an honorary doctorate to Elorriaga, an avid supporter of education in the Northwest and a past recipient of the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Martin Schimpf, a faculty member for 21 years who has been a professor, department chair and college dean, has been named the new provost and vice president for academic affairs at Boise State after a national search. Schimpf assumes his new assignment immediately. Since last fall, he has been serving as Boise State’s interim provost in addition to his responsibilities as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS). Schimpf joined Boise State in 1990 as a professor, was chair of the Department of Chemistry from 1998-2001, served as the COAS associate dean from 2001-2005 and then became dean in 2006.

Lisa Harris has been appointed as the new vice president for student affairs at Boise State. The former associate vice president for student affairs at Mississippi State University will provide leadership for all student affairs programs and activities at the largest university in Idaho, with nearly 20,000 students. Harris’ professional career has been devoted to student life with more than 30 years of experience in student affairs from Mississippi State, University of Alabama, Louisiana State University, University of Tennessee and Clemson University. Harris will be responsible for 20 units within seven major departments at Boise State.

Boise State will offer a new master’s degree in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in fall 2011. The new degree program, which will be offered through the university’s Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Foundational Studies in the College of Education, is designed to address a growing national emphasis on student improvement in STEM subjects and to meet growing demand for qualified high school STEM teachers. The new degree is part of a larger and wide-ranging interdisciplinary initiative at Boise State to conduct research, leverage resources and create opportunities for overcoming a shortage of teachers qualified to teach STEM subjects.

Boise State has named six faculty members to the inaugural group of Distinguished Professors for their achievements in the combined areas of teaching, research and service. Having received one of the highest honors that can be accorded to a faculty member, Distinguished Professors are expected to make special contributions to the intellectual advancement of their home departments and colleges, as well as to Boise State as a whole. In addition to recognition, the Boise State University Distinguished Professorship includes $3,000 per year to support scholarly activities. The 2010-11 Distinguished Professors are: Les Alm (Public Policy & Administration), Matthew J. Kohn (Geosciences), Gary F. Moncrief (Political Science), Julia Thom Oxford, (Biological Sciences), Alex Punnoose (Physics) and Gregory A. Raymond (Political Science).

This entry was posted in 2010-2011, Dear Friends. Bookmark the permalink.