Video Transcript – 2021 State of the University
[scenes of faculty, staff, and students interacting around campus, most wearing masks]
[President Tromp] I am so proud of the work that you did this year. This past year, we faced challenges much like those faced by other universities across the country. And we’ve faced challenge that they didn’t.
You showed a kind of Boise State and Bronco, resiliency, determination, and you helped our community continue to thrive. We owe that success to you, and I would love it if you would just please give yourselves a huge round of applause.
[President Tromp] In fact, in this very difficult period, what we did is we developed new ways to connect with our students. We faced the challenges of this year, and we actually built new ways of teaching, new ways of giving service, new ways of supporting our community.
In the face of those challenges, we didn’t bend or crumble, we did more, and we learned things that we’ll take with us into future years that have made us a better university. When I met with our leadership team, as we were just beginning to face the pandemic, I said to people, I want us to come out on the other side of this series of challenges, a better university.
And because of you, we did. Our executive team and our leadership team worked so many hours and I wanna give them special thanks. Your academic leaders, the leaders from all the areas of the university did such an extraordinary job. And we have three new leaders this year that I hope you’ll all get a chance to meet soon. Dr. John Buckwalter, our new Provost, Dr. Nancy Glenn, who’s serving as our Interim Vice President of Research and Dr. Ed Whipple, who’s serving as our Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, welcome.
[President Tromp] I am so proud that to be here in front of our Blue Turf and I have to tell you, as you were coming into the stadium and I got to see all that orange and blue, standing here on this field, all I could think about was how powerful it is when our community comes together in this place. We have, I was told this not long after I came here, we have the loudest football stadium in the United States of America. And it’s loud, not just because of the structure, so it was built to funnel that sound on there. And as you know, over here in the corral, our students love to bring false starts and to count them. And we can do that in part, because there’s so much heart in this community, in part because of the passion people have not just for our football team, but for this university and what the university has done for Boise and for the State of Idaho. And we are a place that this blue turf symbolizes this almost indefinable characteristic of who we are, which is that we are innovators, we think outside the box, we challenge what other people know and understand, we do things in a new way. And what excited me when I came here is that I heard people saying things like, well, let’s try something new for our students. And our faculty and staff would say, okay, whatever is going to work better for the students we’ll do that. And at other places I often heard people say, no, no, no, no, no, we’ve got this figured out. At Boise State, you are willing to employ that Blue Turf Thinking right from the outset. You were always willing to think in new ways, if it served our students better, if it served the state better, if it advanced the research mission, if it gave you a way to explore and create new knowledge, if it gave you a way to serve our students better, you were gonna do it. So Blue Turf Thinking is really fundamental to who we are.
(upbeat music) (video begins playing)
[Kelly Myers, Director, Bronco Gap Year] We have a unique mindset here.
[Boldly Blue. Proudly Innovating]
[Camille Stover, Program Director, Respiratory Care] A mindset that helps us blaze new trails.
[Snow researchers working in the snow pack]
[Anthony Ellertson, Director, GIMM] It propels us forward.
[David Estrada, Associate Director, Cente for Advanced Energy Studies] And it changes lives.
[Kelly] So you.
[Camille] So you.
[Clara Adams, Honors College Student] So we can change the world.
[This is Blue Turf Thinking]
[President Tromp] Isn’t that a cool video.
[President Tromp] You’re gonna hear a lot about that in the coming year, because we are so proud of what makes us innovative. And we’re so proud of the kinds of innovation that has put us in that national ranking multiple times. That has held us up as unique and special.
I met with President Crow, who’s the president of the Arizona State University just last week and he said, “You must be so proud of your university.” And I said, “Every single day.” Every single day, I’m so proud of this university.
And during this very difficult year, we saw our university serve in ways that were really extraordinary. We educated healthcare workers, we gave teachers additional support when they were going remote. We have experienced as a university being remote.
A lot of K-12 teachers didn’t. We impacted thousands of students with the service this university did to help teachers be ready to teach in that environment, in the K-12 environment. We supported folks with our creation of masks, which you’ve heard us talk about before.
We’ve done incredible things and we persevered through an incredibly difficult year. And I’ve heard so many students say, I had a great freshman year last year, but I can’t wait to see what it’s like to be at Boise State next year.
So we are so happy to be together again, and to be able to have our students in the classroom and to give them the experiences that make a college experience really extraordinary.
And a lot of that is contact with you. We’re also really proud of our Community Service Award winners. We developed a new award this year and keep watching for an opportunity to nominate folks for that again, this year, this coming year.
This last year’s winners were Amy Vecchione, Associate Professor and Head of Emerging Technology, …
[President Tromp] …and Experiential Learning for Albertson’s Library. She was honored for the role that she and the library’s maker’s lab played in supplying healthcare workers with protective equipment. That was a partnership with the college of engineering. We are so proud of Amy.
We also honored Brett Shelton.
[President Tromp] He’s a Professor in Educational Technology, the Ed Tech department, and he was recognized for his efforts to educate pre K through 12 teachers on effective ways to teach online as school districts moved to remote instruction in the fall of 2020.
So keep your eyes peeled because this will be an annual honor that we’re gonna give out to folks in our community. And we look to you to tell us who is serving, who is serving in a way that makes you proud to be a Bronco?
We also did a lot of service for our external community in terms of thinking about how we protected the health of our community. We opened a public health office, which this university didn’t have before, it has a staff of 65 people. We did massive testing. W
e processed over 30,000 tests this year, and we had vaccination clinics, we had testing clinics, we’re gonna offer more and more research. The Idaho Shakespeare Festival. We served our police department, our fire department, we worked with folks across the city.
When we got a call, when our public health department got a call from our local police department, they went down at 6:00 a.m on a Saturday morning to do their testing, to make sure that our police department would be healthy and safe. We’ve had an incredible service, and I want to take a moment to thank our extraordinary staff for their leadership in this year, and for their service to our community.
Would you please give our staff a round of applause?
[President Tromp] And I’m gonna thank especially our essential workers who we have seated over in this section, would you please rise. Our essential workers who never left campus from our public health office, from our facilities crew, from our security team, thank you all so much for your dedicated and extraordinary service.
These are folks who never left our campus and who did incredible work during this time. We also have always special thanks to folks from our Idaho Policy Institute and our Hazard and Climate Resilience Institute who worked together to create a COVID dashboard that informed so many people about what was happening in our community.
Can we give them a round of applause as well?
[President Tromp] I wanna tell you about some of the amazing things that are happening right now. We’re gonna open this fall, the Catherine and Keith Stein Luminary. It’s in our amazing Center for the Visual Arts. You are not going to want to miss this.
If we are about Blue Turf Thinking this is a Blue Turf way to approach teaching and learning, to approach the experience of coming to art. It’s such an extraordinary space. Now you might think, okay, I can take my iPad and pull up pictures from all the great art museums in the world.
But imagine being in a space where you can experience those pictures at a level of quality, because these are the kinds of images that are created by the Metropolitan Museum of Art itself.
We had these partnerships, where we’re gonna have access in that space, to the world’s art, so that young people from the State of Idaho can see what’s in the Louvre, they can see what’s in the MET.
They can have the experience of seeing great performances and great works of art and understanding their history and like any kind of touchscreen experience, your imagination can lead you across a landscape to understand new things about these works.
You can take it and blow it up. I got to watch young people interact with this space, and it was extraordinary to watch them look at the detail on these works of art. I can’t wait for you to see this.
I have to tell you that Andy Avalose came into that space and said, “Can we get our football team in here to recruit? Play like the Fiesta ball on all those screens?” We’re also innovating in cybersecurity. We launched this last year, our new Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity.
We are determined to be a national leader in this area. I grew up in Wyoming, I look out at these rural communities that I have watched in my home state shrink because there wasn’t a way for people to get access to a job or a career that would allow them to give back to their communities. And as young people moved away, those communities lost basic services.
They lost healthcare, they lost their grocery stores. So what we’re trying to determine is what is a kind of great career that we can give people that makes a difference in the world. Will give them a great way to earn a living. Our new Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity is gonna provide students with a way to have live action experiences.
We’re gonna make an impact in this state. The governor said to me, two years ago, when I came, he said, “I’ve looked at the data. If we trained every man, woman, and child in this country in cybersecurity we’d still not meet the demand, the need.” At Boise State, we’re gonna make an impact on that and cyber security is gonna be for everyone at Boise State.
And we’re creating a new facility called the Cyber Dome that’s gonna allow our students to interact with live businesses and to figure out new ways to create a safe cyber environment and to protect businesses, non-profits, arts, agencies from cyber attacks.
And so this is the kind of work that’s gonna make a difference in our world and for our students and for the State of Idaho. We’re very, very proud that this is a university that even though it does incredible cutting edge research, focuses on student success and commencement my friends. So my second favorite day of the year is when we welcome students on the campus.
And we’re gonna get to see that happening right now. We’ve got people driving into campus right now. But my first favorite day of the year is commencement because that’s when we get to see the culmination of the work that you do, that you do every day, that makes a difference in the lives of those students.
And if you ask students after they graduate, what do they remember most? What they say they remember is you, your impact on them, the person who directed them to the building that they needed, the person who helped them when they were struggling.
They remember you. So the work that you’re doing, the contribution that you’re making, no matter what part of the university you serve, to lift up those young people, we serve more than 33,000 students annually. We have reached as of this May a hundred thousand living graduates, a hundred thousand living Bronco graduates. That’s extraordinary.
[President Tromp] More than half of all the bachelor’s degrees from any public institution in the State of Idaho come from Boise State University.
[President Tromp] And we are doing this work with excellence. We were one of the trailblazers in online education and remote learning. And we have nationally ranked online programs that we are so proud of that give students the kind of flexibility to do the learning in the way that works for them.
We should be awfully proud of that. I like that we’ve got people giving each other high fives down here. We are also building because we recognize that in the State of Idaho, a significant proportion of our counties are rural and we have a lot of rural young people who don’t wanna leave home to get their education. We are reaching out to them.
We have a new scholarship fund that’s dedicated to Idaho students. We endowed the True Blue scholarship. We have an Idaho Go On Community Impact scholarship, We have a program for first-generation college students, which so many of our students are.
And we have a hometown challenge, which invites people to go back to their home towns and imagine how they can serve in their hometown community. So we’re giving people these incredible opportunities and our Community Impact Program, which we launched at Payette Mt. Home and McCall this year, saw not only incredible success, but this is so extraordinary in the communities where we rebuilt that program.
While around the rest of the state, we saw an incredible decline in college attendance from rural communities, in those communities where we built that program, we saw an up to 28% increase in students outside of the program. Which tells us that when Boise State shows up, it makes a difference. You are making a difference. Thank you.
[President Tromp] I’m also really proud of, and we have received national recognition for, our Bronco Gap Year program. When I went to our leadership team last fall, and I said, how do we ensure that we are serving people when high school students are losing their access to their mentors and their guidance counselors, how do we ensure that we help those young people stay connected to school?
If a young person has to stay home because they have a family member who’s ill or they’re facing financial challenges because of everything that people went through with job loss and hardship during the pandemic, how do we ensure that we keep connected to those young people so they don’t lose access to an opportunity to go to school?
And our leadership team brought us the Bronco Gap Year Program, where they reach out to students and they connect them with a faculty mentor. And those students have the flexibility to stay where they are and study and earn credit for really low cost. But it had that mentoring, that vital mentoring that helps them stay connected and look forward to their future.
And I’m gonna tell you about one of these students. Autumn Lay used the Gap Year Program. When we did this program, we thought it would primarily serve students who were coming straight out of high school. But we found that many of our current students, needed this program too.
After a year of studying mechanical engineering at Boise State, Autumn Lay left school to serve on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. When she returned, mechanical engineering was no longer her dream. And when the pandemic hit and with it as shift to online learning, she struggled, she was one of those students who didn’t do well in that period.
And she knew she needed a break. Bronco Gap Year helped her find new direction without losing her connection to the university, without feeling like that gap meant that she was a failure. She is returning this year as a full-time student and she’s considering a major in education with a minor in engineering.
That’s the kind of impact we’re making with our innovation. We’re keeping those students in school and successful. That’s extraordinary.
[President Tromp] And we’re working hard to make sure that students have access and that finances aren’t a barrier. We have raised over a half a million dollars for the True Blue scholarship for Idaho students. Isn’t that incredible? A half a million dollars.
(crowd applauding) And scholarships are gonna be the focus of how we head forward. We’re gonna really make that a part of any new campaign we do have to raise money for this university because we don’t want finances to be a barrier for students.
We want every talented student in this state to go on and get their higher education. And this year recognizing the hardships that Idaho students have faced in a state where young people don’t go on to college. We have one of the lowest going rates in the entire nation.
We’ve redirected dollars and put new dollars, over a million new dollars into scholarships for Idaho students. And we are so proud of the work our students are doing. We are so proud. You may remember me saying that last year we had two Truman scholars and Harvard had one.
We had another Truman scholar this year, Halima Hamoud. I’m so proud of Halima.
[President Tromp] But that’s not the only way we’re excelling. Look at the list on the screen. Fulbrights, Trumans, Rhodes, Marshalls, Goldwaters. Our students are doing excellent work.
You should be so proud of these students because you bring your innovation to them and they turn it into excellence. They do amazing things. We are so proud of these students.
We have over a thousand students in our honors college, and we’ve had over 41 recent national awards. And we had a 2020 state record because we had five Fulbrights. Isn’t that amazing?
[President Tromp] And it’s not just our undergrads. We are Idaho’s largest graduate school. That is something to be proud of.
(crowd applauding) We have doubled our graduates in the last decade. Our graduate students support incredible research, they support healthy growth in Idaho. We send out graduate students in fields, across the university that make an impact.
It advances the state, it serves our community. And we can’t talk about the incredible work that we’ve done with our students and their excellence and all of their outcomes without making a special thanks to all of our exceptional faculty. Thank you for your leadership.
Thank you for your commitment to our students. We’re also really proud that this university has really focused on building new partnerships. We’ve worked across the tech sector to not just support the tech industry, but to determine ways in which we can actually help people innovate right here at the university.
Entrepreneurs can come in and work with our students, and our faculty to design, prototype, and refine new ideas right here, new products right here on this campus through Tech Help.
We’ve created a way for students to work through Venture College, to create their idea for the future, their entrepreneurial idea, and bring it out into the world through Venture College. We’ve also created the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge, which lets students work with each other and with leaders so they can refine and develop their ideas.
I’ve put on this slide a lot of data, but I wanted you to actually get to look at some of the incredible innovations that are happening at this university in industries, all across the world.
We’ve got our GIM program doing incredible things. We’re working with dairies locally. We’re doing cutting edge research in nanomaterials. I was talking with one of our faculty about what’s going on in nano materials and he said, “We’ll be able to use this technology in surgeries that will help cure illnesses.
We’ll be able to use it in water purification.” The kinds of the kinds of innovations that are happening here are the kinds of innovations that change the world and that’s what you’re supporting. I’m also really proud that we’re sending students out into the community to get real life experience through programs like Bronco Corps.
Which COBE is working to give them paid internships and also working with businesseS to help them succeed and thrive. Our Idaho Policy Institute, I wanted you to see the suite of incredible programs that they did this year, the research that they’ve done and the service that they’ve done for our community.
Across the spectrum from charter schools to rural industry needs, it’s going to impact what we do as a university to have this kind of incredible research. And every year IPI goes and meets with our chief legislators to share with them data about our state. They’re making an impact.
And we’re working closely, we’ve developed a new hub where we’re working with businesses across the state, asking them to tell us what they need to see in our students and partnering with them, with our staff and faculty so that we can make an impact on the State of Idaho, but also help our students be better prepared when they go out in the world. We’re partnering with them as a way to innovate.
Now, many of you know that we have a special relationship to Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, we have faculty and graduate students who research over there. And I had the great privilege to visit Gorongosa this year. And what I’m really excited about, is the prospect of the kinds of partnerships that we can create here in rural Idaho and in rural Gorongosa.
Where our students could have the opportunity to see the world and to see… Imagine what we could do in education, in public health, in nursing if we’re thinking about multiple landscapes and we’re giving our students the opportunity to experience rural Idaho and the world.
And right now we’re doing pathbreaking research there. I was so proud to get to see our students and our faculty in action in Gorongosa National Park. We’re also working across the state with the other presidents and with the other universities. We have, what is really very new in the last few decades in the State of Idaho.
And that’s profound partnerships with our other sister institutions across the state. And that’s better for our students. Instead of seeing each other as pitched competitors, we’re looking at ways that we can cooperate, not just to save resources, but to make sure students find their right fit.
When I first came to Boise State just after I was at a workshop with Scott Green, who’s the president of the University of Idaho. And we took our picture together and put it up on social media. And there was this, like explosion of outrage in the Twitterverse.
Like how can you stand with the president of the University of Idaho? And what we both said is, we’re here to serve the state and we’re here to do it together. And we’re gonna find the right place for all our students.
[President Tromp] We care about our community here on campus thriving and making an impact on thriving our community outside of the university. I am so proud that this fall we are launching the Institute for Advancing American Values.
We’re gonna focus on concepts like free expression, free speech, the free exploration of ideas, the kinds of opportunities that are available here. We’re gonna focus on dialogue. Haven’t we seen too little dialogue in the last couple of years?
When people who disagree cannot talk to each other, we’re gonna be a model for what it looks like for people to actually be in dialogue even when they disagree.
I believe that universities are landscapes where those conversations can take place and it is critical that they do so because as a country, we are so polarized that we have almost forgotten that it’s possible for us to find our shared humanity and to solve our common problems together. And Boise State will be a national leader on this front.
[President Tromp] We are so focused on caring for our students. This last year, we held a national summit called Project Launch Pad, where we gather people together to begin to work across the nation and share ideas about how we could ensure that students who had experienced disruptions during the pandemic would not lose their footing, but would be able to move forward together.
We’ve also built initiatives with our Bronco Fit Program to ensure that our students physical well health and mental health cared for. And I am so proud that Boise State University is the recipient, thank you, special thanks to Lauren Oe of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Grant for Mental Health and Wellness for the benefit of our students.
You’re gonna have an opportunity to collect one of these buttons, when you go to the meal that we’re gonna serve afterwards. This button says, here for you, and it’s a message to our students that we are committed to them in their wellbeing, that they are not alone.
In the State of Idaho, we’ve seen young white men suicide at a rate that is almost unmatched across this country. We have got to help our students and support our students because their talents are critical to our future.
We need to make sure that they get access to education, and we need to make sure that all of our students, whoever they are, that we meet those students, we meet those young people where they are and serve them and support them so they get the education they deserve and they can bring their gifts to the world. That is our mission.
[President Tromp] And we see that desire in our students. This last winter, we had an event on campus where we let students tell us, what did they care about? What were they hopeful for? What were they excited for? And we saw in them an extraordinary hope for the future.
So what I want for Boise State to do, is to be the place that lets them live out those dreams and make them come true. We have the capacity to do incredible things for our students, every day we bring them there. And one of the ways we do that is through research.
I gotta tell you, I was really glad it was 106 out here, but I’m starting to get a little cold. How about you guys? I’m gonna talk fast. We broke another record for research this year during the pandemic. Isn’t that amazing?
[President Tromp] We’ve reached, (Marlene clears throat) excuse me. We’ve reached over 65 million in total research awards. That’s a 58% growth over the last few years. Isn’t that incredible? I just think that’s incredible.
During a pandemic, during a pandemic. I wanna encourage you to look at our university magazines that will tell you about the kind of research our faculty are doing.
We’re doing research on maternal health, we’re doing research on snow and water, we’re doing research that actually makes an enormous difference in people’s lives in the real world. And our students are engaged in that research.
We’ve seen millions of dollars coming into our labs, and I’m very proud to share with you that this year, Stanford University came out with a list with the top 2% of scientists in the world, 13 Boise State Faculty were on that list, 13.
[President Tromp] I just want you to see some of the kind of research that’s happening here. The kind of research that helps people stay healthy and well, that changes their lives.
And I want us to be the kind of research university that fully engages our students in the work of our research. That fully integrates our undergraduates and graduate students into the research work that we do, because what we know is that when students have the opportunity to engage in that research project, it makes them more likely to be retained and more likely to be academically successful.
So we’re not gonna be the kind of research university that does teaching over here and research over here. We are gonna fully integrate those two pieces of the university so that we do incredible research work that you just saw that’s changing people’s lives, but then our students are so integrated into that project, that they become the innovators and leaders that we know can be.
[President Tromp] Now, I have to take a moment to talk to you about Bronco athletics, because we are after all in Albertsons Stadium. You should be so proud of our athletes and not just because of their performance on the field.
Our student athletes are some of the most academically awarded students and recognized students in the country. They don’t just perform on the field of competition, they perform in the classroom, go Broncos. (crowd applauding) And we are of course, launching in this very stadium, a new era at Boise State University.
I had the great privilege of hiring a new athletic director this year and a new head football coach. We welcomed to Boise State University, Jeramiah Dickey as our new Athletic Director and we welcomed back Andy Avalose as our new Head Football Coach.
[President Tromp] I also wanna recognize our national championship e-sports team. I don’t know if you all are aware that our head coach Doc Haskell was named the e-sports Coach of the Year for the whole country and that we had 20 million minutes of watchers, of viewers for Boise State e-sports this year.
[President Tromp] I’m also so proud of our national championship Talking broncos. Do you guys know about this? ‘Cause this is amazing. They have won five consecutive national championships, five consecutive national championships. That’s pretty incredible.
[President Tromp] We are launching the Blueprint for Success because we wanna take all this incredible energy and direct it. And you told us how. So the Blueprint for Success is our incredible strategic plan. And you’ve seen the goals. These are the goals that you helped define, and that you helped articulate.
And your provost will be working with the academic units and the committee that you built will be working with our other units to advance the plan. We are a university that is proud to innovate.
Our new strategic plan the Blueprint for Success will help us drive that work forward in new ways. It will invite you to engage and own that plan. We are doing this work for our students, wherever they are.
We are doing this work for the future. The work that you do will affect generations to come. Our impact as a university, our special location, our special character, who we are as an institution, will not just make an impact on Idaho, it will make an impact on the world. What you do for our students now, will impact this state long after we are all gone.
You are a part of something extraordinary. I wanna to thank you for everything that you’ve done this year, I wanna thank you for the places that we’re going, that you will lead us to, undaunted by the challenges we face and we will face many in the year to come as well. We will teach, we will research and we will serve. Thank you, Boise State University.
[President Tromp] All right. Now we’ve got a little surprise for you. So you’ll get to get moving here in just a second, but let’s do a little warmup when I say Boise, you say state.
[President Tromp] Boise.
[President Tromp] Boise.
[President Tromp] Boise.
[President Tromp] And I’m gonna give you a one, two, three and I wanna hear a go Broncos. Are you ready? One, two, three.
[Crowd] Go Broncos.
(upbeat music) (crowd cheering) (instrumental music) (indistinct) (crowd applauding)