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
On July 1, 2019, Dr. Marlene Tromp became the seventh President of Boise State University. Since her arrival, she has developed an endowment for the Presidential True Blue Scholarship to assist more Idaho residents with the opportunity to attend college. She has spearheaded the Community Impact Program, providing educational opportunities to Idaho’s rural communities and the Hometown Challenge, which helps students return home to give back in their communities. She formed strategic partnerships with industry, higher education and government by launching the Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity and the HUB, a site of institutional and industry partnership. She oversaw a record breaking year of $68 million in research awards. She propelled Boise State as a national thought leader through efforts focusing on student well being: including serving as a founding member of REP4, a national effort to engage students in redesigning higher education, so it works better for them; creating Project Launchpad Summit, a collaborative national effort to respond to the challenges our students are facing; and supporting Bronco Gap Year, which has provided students with a low-cost, flexible and individualized college learning experience. She deepened Boise State’s community engagement through the creation of a President’s Professor of Public Scholarship and Engagement and the Institute for Advancing American Values.
She presently serves as the Vice Chair of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, one of the nation’s six higher education accrediting bodies. She is one of 24 members of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors from the hundreds of Division I institutions across the country. She is one of a handful of presidents selected by the Federal Reserve Chair of San Francisco to consult on higher education. She also supports our local community by serving on the Community Planning COMPASS Board, the Alzheimer’s Association Board of Directors, and on the City of Boise’s Economic Recovery Taskforce.
Prior to joining Boise State, 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 entering the University of California system – broadly recognized as the premier public university system in the country – Dr. Tromp served as Arizona State University’s vice provost of the West campus and dean of the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.
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 trona mines led an economic boom. Her father worked at one of the mines and then in a regional power plant. 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 literature and exploring the human condition and social issues. Instead, she went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in English, came home to Wyoming to complete a master’s degree and then studied 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 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.”