Galen Schuler (’85) has a unique view of Boise State University. As an ad hoc member of the Boise State Alumni Association Board of Directors’ executive committee, he plays an important role in how the university works with its graduates to promote Bronco culture on and off campus. As a kid who grew up in northern Idaho and as a public servant who created the Idaho Gem Community program in the 1980s while working as a rural development specialist at the Idaho Department of Commerce, he has a lot to say about Boise State’s many initiatives aimed at statewide impact. As the general counsel for a large timber company, he also has a heart for people who work in resource industries and rural communities.
“Boise State can identify as an urban university, but it has to care about the rural places to be relevant, providing a service to all of the taxpayers of Idaho,” he said. “In her State of the University speech, President Tromp said we’re reaching out to all of Idaho with scholarship programs. If a student doesn’t have a bunch of money or a family tradition of going to college, what’s the value proposition? If I go to Boise State, what’s my return on investment? We need to offer a higher education that will make a difference in the life of the student.”
Rural Idaho isn’t a new horizon for Boise State, but it is growing. So is the cohort of students who’ve graduated in the previous 10 years — Broncos of the Last Decade, or BOLD alumni. Schuler knows all about them: All three of his sons attend or have attended Boise State. He said his sons “got lots of Boise State love” growing up attending football games, but each son went his own way at the growing university. Their father said they have a lot in common with other BOLD cohort members.
“It definitely makes sense to pay attention to BOLD folks,” he said. “They’re filled with energy and ambition, and they want to stay connected to the university, to be part of the volunteering, scholarships and institution-building. That’s the cohort you need to tap into for your investment in the future.”
Boise State is a different university from the one Schuler attended in the ’80s, adding value to its degrees by emphasizing the student experience and growing its research emphasis. Whether students want to pursue a career after college or continue in academia, Boise State has the faculty, programs and facilities to give students an advantage.
“If you’re thinking about the value proposition, Boise State is very upfront about career planning and the practical piece. If you come here and you really want to become an academic, that works, too, because you can excel in whatever discipline you’re here for,” he said. “And, if you want to go on, you can get into a lot of great graduate schools and not find yourself in a load of debt.”