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President’s Letter to Friends of Boise State

February 28, 2012

Dear Friends,

Igniting innovation that breaks ground in new fertile fields of commercial endeavor and creates knowledge-based jobs right here in Idaho is a defining purpose of Boise State’s emergence as a metropolitan research university.

A new initiative proposed by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter promises to support Boise State’s focus on economic development with the resources, strategic initiative and expertise of the State of Idaho, our sister higher education institutions and Idaho industry. Known as IGEM, the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission is an outstanding common sense initiative that melds the realities of the marketplace with the talents and resources of our universities, all to the great benefit of Idaho’s economy.

It is a critical time for Idaho as a number of neighboring states have implemented comprehensive plans for economic development by investing in higher education. We are acutely aware of our job creation role in this technology-sophisticated economy. Boise State has the core faculty, research programs and facilities in place to effectively leverage the IGEM investment, especially with our strengths in materials science, nanotechnology, sensor development, energy policy and biomolecular science.

IGEM is one of the higher education budget recommendations that we support along with the proposal to fund the enrollment workload adjustment. Our students deserve a funding formula that follows them to attend the public university of their choice – thereby defraying some of the cost of their education. Since 2006, 71 percent of the new students entering the state’s public university system have enrolled at Boise State. Currently, we serve 43 percent of Idaho’s full-time resident university students. When we tallied the number of students who took courses over the fall, spring and summer sessions in fiscal year 2011, we were amazed to see that we had served more than 29,000 distinct students. This figure is a more accurate indicator of our increasingly metropolitan outreach and far in excess of the 19,664 that we reported on the 10th day of fall enrollment per state guidelines.

Those daunting numbers not only drive our annual funding needs, but they have compelled Boise State to reinvent its academic and business practices, develop key competencies among our faculty and programs, and allocate resources that promote innovation, effectiveness and responsible risk-taking. Mindful of serving our students and our community, the university recognizes, too, that it must be nimble and transformational in its approach to higher education.

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:

Our Department of Music has entered into a unique partnership with the Boise Philharmonic to create four new graduate fellowships. The fellowships are partially funded by private donors and Boise State’s Arts and Humanities Institute. The graduate string fellows will be full-time students pursuing master’s degrees in music with an emphasis in performance, pedagogy or music education. The fellowships will provide tuition and fees as well as $10,000 per year for two years to study at Boise State and perform with the Boise Philharmonic.

A group of engineering students known as Greenspeed were showcased at the prestigious Washington (D.C.) Auto Show last month where they displayed the world’s fastest vehicle that runs on vegetable oil. Amid the likes of Audi, Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz and Buick, Boise State was part of the ‘Advanced Technology Superhighway’ that focused on safety and sustainability in motion. It was an incredible accomplishment for our students to be invited.

Another Nobel Laureate is visiting our campus in March as part of the Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series. Climate scientist and MIT professor Susan Solomon is an internationally recognized leader in atmospheric science. The Distinguished Lecture Series features speakers who have had major impacts in politics, the arts, science, business or other realms of contemporary significance. Past speakers include Nobel Laureate in Economics Joseph Stiglitz, biologist E.O. Wilson and Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former president of Poland Lech Walesa, among others.

Next fall Boise State will implement a new way of learning that takes our undergraduate curriculum from black and white to high definition. The Foundational Studies Program emphasizes student learning through shared experiences, no matter what major or area of study. When students graduate, they will have four years of learning outcomes in problem solving, communication, innovation, teamwork, ethics and diversity that are relevant for the workplace and life. At the doctoral level, we are pleased to begin new Ph.D. degrees in 2012 in biomolecular sciences, materials science and engineering, and a fully online doctorate in educational technology.

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