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Boise State marks its 108th commencement ceremony

Boise State University Spring Commencement, John Kelly photo

Boise State University honored spring graduates during two commencement ceremonies on May 8 at Albertsons Stadium.

In all, 3,032 students were eligible to receive 3,666 degrees and certificates. Of those, 1,036 students were eligible for honors; 532 cum laude, 395 magna cum laude, and 109 summa cum laude. This year, a record 31 students were eligible for doctoral degrees in biomolecular sciences; curriculum and instruction; electrical and computer engineering; educational technology; ecology, evolution and behavior; materials science and engineering; and doctor of nursing practice.

Boise State President Marlene Tromp urged new graduates to persevere through this era, one characterized by a global pandemic, economic challenges, as well as political and cultural strife.

Let me share with you a thought, a phrase that the authors of the ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ screenplays used to capture the theme of those novels,” Tromp told graduates. “‘Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.’  Now, none of you is ‘ordinary.’ There is quite literally no one in the world who has precisely the experience and gifts that you have. So imagine, pairing that singularity with the hardships of this period: you are on the path to an extraordinary destiny. You will be unstoppable.” 

Boise State Spring Commencement, John Kelly photo.

In her remarks, Tromp remembered students Bobby Skinner and Carl Stadie who died in 2019 and 2021, respectively. The university awarded posthumous degrees to both.

Boise State continued its tradition of featuring a student speaker at each ceremony. Olivia Thomas, who earned degrees in both computer science, and games, interactive media, and mobile technology, spoke during the morning ceremony. Kylie Rodgers, who is graduating with a degree in theatre arts and a minor in dance, was the afternoon speaker.

Thomas grew up in Boise. She said the high points of her academic career included participating in a program in which students work with NASA to create new technology for astronauts, and being part of the team that developed Bronco Beam. The GPS-beacon system combats food insecurity and waste by alerting students and others when leftover food is available on campus.

Boise State Spring Commencement, John Kelly photo.

“This moment is an inseparable mosaic of each of our amazing journeys that brought us to this day: everything that we have learned and become, all of the people and experiences that have shaped us, and all of the challenges and triumphs we have found along the way. All of that, including the messiness and the disappointment of our present time, is an ineffable gift,” Thomas told morning ceremony attendees.

Rodgers came to Boise State from Vancouver, Washington. As a student, she devoted her time to acting, dance, directing and choreography, but also playing the roles of seamstress, lighting tech, stagehand, carpenter, and many others. She performed or took part in more than 20 productions during her college career.

Boise State Spring Commencement, John Kelly photo.

“All in all, as you head into the world, find something that excites you and pursue it. Even if you don’t feel ready, you are. There is a path set for your life that is good and exciting and you are worth so much more than a life devoid of joy. Never settle for less,” Rodgers urged her classmates. 

The ceremonies honored graduates who are active military or veterans and included a moment of silent reflection for those who are currently serving.

A separate ceremony took place on Friday, May 7 to honor the class of 2020, whose in-person commencement ceremony was postponed because of COVID-19.