Family and friends filled ExtraMile Arena for two ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, to celebrate more than 2,500 new Boise State University graduates.
In all, 2,519 students who finished their coursework in summer and winter 2023 were eligible for 2,951 degrees and certificates. The ceremonies also featured a record 33 graduates earning doctoral degrees. They join more than 180,000 living alumni of Boise State.
“Whatever you do with your degree — go to work on the family farm, start a business, serve in a nonprofit, become a parent, provide healthcare, teach, or create art that teaches and moves people — you will make a mark in a way only you can do and, in part, because you honored their [supporters’ and nation’s] investment and yours to develop your talents,” said Boise State University President Marlene Tromp.
Chinma Njoku and Josie Kennedy were featured student speakers for the ceremonies. Morning speaker Njoku is earning a Bachelor of Science in Health Studies with an emphasis in science and a minor in psychology, and represented the College of Health Sciences. She’s from Pocatello, Idaho, and was a member of the Boise State women’s basketball team.
“Fellow Broncos, if I could get through my hurdles, everyone here can and will get through anything,” Njoku said. “It takes time and perseverance but those are traits you all are fully equipped with. I can confidently say this because of our accomplishment today… You are not defined by your hardships, and do not let your hardships define you. You are the writer of your story. Use your hardships as motivation. I dare you to go out and achieve all of your heart’s desires.”
In the afternoon ceremony, Kennedy, graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences with a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology and minors in environmental studies and sociology, encouraged her graduating peers as they take their next steps.
“As we navigate the uncharted territories ahead, may our hearts guide us towards a future where the imprints we leave are etched in kindness, love and a shared humanity that connects us all,” said Kennedy. “As we step into our next chapter, embrace the notion that life is long. Cherish your past, for it has made you who you are today. Take in your present, speak up, your voice is valued. And be mindful of the future, as it is also the pathway of our next generation.”
As part of the ceremony, teachers Shannon Nicholson from Grace Jordan Elementary in Boise and Sarah Wang from Endeavor Elementary in Nampa, received the Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching. Each honoree will receive $2,000, and their schools will receive $500.
Boise State also awarded a Silver Medallion Award to Royanne Minskoff, managing general partner for 2220 Equities Management LP and general partner of A.R.M. Minskoff Family LP. Boise State University’s highest honor, it recognizes those who make outstanding contributions to higher education and Boise State. Minskoff is a member of the Boise State University Foundation board, previously serving as chair, the Unbridled Campaign committee and Honors College advisory council.