Dr. Marlene Tromp is the 7th president of Boise State University. She is committed to supporting students and faculty, serving and advancing the state of Idaho, and helping the university foster research excellence to increase discovery for its students and the world.
Meet Our President
Before joining Boise State on July 1, 2019, Dr. Tromp was the campus provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of California at Santa Cruz, ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 26th best public university in the country. Before joining the University of California system – broadly recognized as the premier public university system in the country – Dr. Tromp was the dean of Arizona State University’s New Interdisciplinary College of Arts and Sciences and the vice provost of the university’s West Campus.
Tromp was praised at Arizona State for overseeing new academic programs, including a new interdisciplinary forensics major and a cybersecurity initiative, and for creating mentoring programs for first-generation students. She also co-chaired a university-wide task force aimed at combating sexual assault. At the University of California Santa Cruz, she launched faculty development initiatives, new support programs for staff, and led the community in the creation of a new Strategic Academic Plan.
She grew up in Green River, Wyoming, a trona mining town along Interstate 80 that saw its population jump three-fold in the 1970s when nearby mines led an economic boom. Her father worked at one of the mines. Neither of her parents were college graduates, but they supported their two daughters’ college aspirations – especially when Tromp decided she was going to become a doctor. She earned scholarships to Creighton University, nearly 800 miles away in Omaha, Nebraska, but the financial challenges remained tangible.
Though bound for medical school, she fell in love with Robert Browning’s poetry. Instead, she would go on to earn her bachelor’s degree in English, come home to Wyoming to complete a master’s degree and then study for her doctorate at the University of Florida. There, she wrote a dissertation on Victorian novels and the new laws being written then on domestic violence.
Her revised dissertation became the first of several books and dozens of articles exploring gender, social justice and cultural issues in 19th century life and literature – a time close enough that contemporary society can understand the people who lived it and their motivations, but far enough away to have “critical distance,” as she noted in an interview she gave during her time as president of the North American Victorian Studies Association.
“If we can look critically at something that’s happening in the 19th century, it may help us read our own cultural moment a bit better,” she said, “and that is one very important reason to study history.”
Boise State University is a public, metropolitan research university providing leadership in academics, research and civic engagement. The university offers an array of undergraduate degrees and experiences that foster student success, lifelong learning, community engagement, innovation and creativity. Research, creative activity and graduate programs, including select doctoral degrees, advance new knowledge and benefit the community, the state and the nation. The university is an integral part of its metropolitan environment and is engaged in its economic vitality, policy issues, professional and continuing education programming, and cultural enrichment.
(Approved by the State Board of Education 2/16/2012.)