Materials shape our lives. The aluminum can of soda sweating in its cupholder, the composite wood flooring beneath our feet, the tablets we watch our favorite movies on. Everything we interact with is a material, whether we stop to think about it or not. At Boise State, innovation drives the research, development and implementation of new materials every day.
Boise State has a history of diving into the extraordinary world of materials. Since the founding of the university’s materials science program in 2003, there have been remarkable changes — growing from a small interdisciplinary minor to the largest STEM-based PhD program in Idaho, achieving a 331% increase in research in the last five years, and reaching 41% female representation in the undergraduate program, which positions Boise State among the nation’s best for female enrollment.
Most recently, the university celebrated the opening of the new $50 million Micron Center for Materials Research, named for the Boise-based international computer storage and memory technology company. The center is a campus and community innovation hub for materials research and serves as the home of the recently named Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering. This state-of-the-art building was made possible through the support of multiple generous donors.
“We are grateful for the contributions of Micron to materials research on our campus,” said College of Engineering Dean JoAnn Slama Lighty, also noting Micron’s investment in the Ph.D. program in Electrical and Computer Engineering, the establishment of the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering, and the Ph.D. program in Materials Science and Engineering.
The 97,000-square-foot building provides research laboratories and spaces, state-of-the-art learning environments, a 250-seat lecture hall, two large classrooms, offices and work spaces for faculty members, staff and graduate students advancing materials education and research at Boise State.
“We are the only school, that I know of, in the U.S. named after a global semiconductor company,” said Will Hughes, a professor in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering. “We carry this banner with great pride as we strive to make materials that matter. We do this by embracing inclusive practices, supporting campus and community collaborations, and maintaining an unshakable focus on student learning.”
“Micron and its foundation are proud to support Boise State and grow the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering,” said Dee Mooney, executive director of corporate citizenship at Micron. “We believe the School and the building will provide resources to develop students into the visionaries and leaders needed to advance technology and change the world.”
The Micron Technology Foundation Inc. gave the lead gift of $25 million — the largest single gift in Boise State history — for construction of the Micron Center for Materials Research. Micron has been a partner with Boise State in shaping the future of Idaho since the company, and later the foundation, were formed. To date, its support of Boise State has exceeded $75 million.