Along with the graduation ceremonies, Boise State presented honorary doctorates to Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya and Idaho Judge Sergio Gutierrez.
Hamdi Ulukaya launched Chobani in 2007 with the mission and vision of making better food more accessible. Ulukaya has made helping people and having a positive impact on communities a priority for Chobani.
“There is nothing I love more than sitting in my office, looking at these gorgeous mountains, with the sun shining on my face, thinking: building in Idaho is one of the best decisions I ever made.”
Sergio Gutierrez was Idaho’s first Latino judge, and served southwest Idaho from the bench for 25 years. Judge Gutierrez urged graduates to pursue a new kind of American Dream.
“Having successfully navigated these halls of learning and earned your degree, I submit that your task is now twofold: to pursue a means by which you might use the knowledge and skills you’ve learned here to impact the world around you, while also providing for yourself and your family. To me, that is the American Dream.”
Student commencement speakers
Visual art graduate Madeline Fluharty is a Minnesota native who came to Boise State to pursue an education in sculpture. She spoke of overcoming her own doubts and insecurities about entering into a male-dominated field, her fears of not working hard enough to succeed and becoming a “starving artist.”
“Fear is crippling. It holds us back from pursuing the things and the people we love in this very short life we get to live,” Fluharty said. “As we go forward from here and begin this exciting new chapter in life I want to encourage you all to be bold.”
Nardos Ayele Ashenafi
Since enrolling at Boise State in 2015 from her home country of Ethiopia, Nardos Ayele Ashenafi’s insatiable curiosity and drive to learn have served her well. She turned X-rays of knee joints into 3D models in order to discern what physiological features make patients prone to patella dislocation; mentored young Ethiopian girls; and worked with Idaho Power to find areas in which local companies can improve energy use, waste disposal, recycling and water use.
“I don’t know what each one of you thinks is your greatest achievement in college but I want you to really internalize the fact that all of us just finished obtaining the greatest, most influential superpower across time and space; one that can never be stolen, disregarded or disposed of; one that can be passed by will, expanded by practice and improved with the need for more: knowledge,” she said.