Last week at Boise State University, we welcomed the freshman class of 2021 on the same day as the solar eclipse. We have a record 2,800 students living on campus this year, including the 650 students who will move into the brand new Honors College and Sawtooth Hall, a facility very fitting of our thriving honors program and the largest Honors enrollment in Boise State history — more than 900 students.
We have a lot to celebrate on campus. We topped $50 million in research grants and contracts, and raised more than $52 million for scholarships during our scholarship campaign — more than double our goal. For the ninth straight year we’ve had a record number of graduates.
We have plans for a new home for our School of Public Service, which will join the Micron Business and Economics Building and the Center for Fine Arts on the west entrance to campus, and we’ve launched the new School of the Arts designed to bridge disciplines and create new opportunities in fine arts, music, theater and creative writing.
Boise State is also becoming a national leader in preparing students for success beyond the major with new interdisciplinary programs that augment majors and more offerings that will serve students in their first job — programs like Harvard Business School’s HBX CORe, a certificate of readiness delivered by Harvard but earned through Boise State. Courses in basic business skills are open to all majors through the College of Business and Economics — more than 300 are enrolled this semester.
Boise State students can also earn a certificate in leadership from the College of Innovation and Design or launch their own business through our Venture College. We now offer a certificate in Design Ethnography, which takes the skills and techniques used by anthropologists and applies them to business and marketing plans in the corporate setting.
As I noted in my 15th State of the University Address this month, it is critical at this moment in history that we distinguish our campus as a place that embraces diversity and inclusion and that works hard to foster civility, civic engagement and open dialogue on important issues. One way we will do this is through an exciting program inspired and generously funded by Marilyn Shuler, the longtime human rights leader who died in February of this year.
The Marilyn Shuler Human Rights Initiative launches this fall, offering human rights education and smart advocacy skills. It will eventually include an academic certificate in human rights issues and advocacy and offer events open to everyone. The first event is taking place this October and will feature two of the activists who battled North Idaho white supremacists for two decades. Stay tuned for more details.
I watched the eclipse from campus with thousands of students, faculty, staff and guests. Folks who have been here much longer than I have tell me it was the most people they’ve ever seen gathered on the Quad. It was an exhilarating start of the academic year — a year in which we will focus on boosting the success of our students beyond the major and long after they receive their diploma.
As always, thank you for all that you do for Boise State and its students.