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President’s Letter to Friends of Boise State

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.

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