ISU Headlines

Idaho State University celebrates accomplishments of Bengal Class of 2014

Posted May 10, 2014

On Saturday, May 10, Idaho State University graduates participated in one last communal Bengal roar in celebration of their graduation.

During the commencement program, the University awarded an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree to Jack R. Wheatley, recognized the achievements of the 2014 Outstanding Students, acknowledged the alumni accomplishments of the 2014 Professional Achievement Award recipients and announced the 2014 Distinguished Faculty.

ISU President Arthur Vailas conferred degrees at commencement.The Class of 2014 included 2,450 graduates receiving 2,537 degrees, with 87 students receiving multiple certificates and/or degrees. In conferring the graduates’ degrees, ISU President Arthur C. Vailas acknowledged the family support students received, and asked family members to take a bow.

“We know that today’s graduates have worked very hard to get to where they are today,” Vailas said. “We also know that it would have been much harder for them without the support of their families. Would the families of today’s graduates please stand? We would like to thank you for your dedication, sacrifice and support.”

The breakdown of graduates included 35 Doctor of Philosophy degrees, six Doctor of Education degrees, three Doctor of Arts degrees, four Doctor of Audiology degrees, 18 Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees, 99 Doctor of Pharmacy degrees, six Educational Specialist degrees, 547 master’s degrees, 10 Graduate School certificates, 1,198 bachelor’s degrees, 429 associate degrees and 182 certificates from the College of Technology.

Kale Bergeson, from St. Anthony, Idaho, celebrates after being awarded his degree.In addressing the graduates, ISU Alumni Association President Larry Satterwhite encouraged the students to celebrate this major achievement and stay connected to ISU. “We share a common bond as alumni of this great institution,” he explained. “The culmination of everything – every event, every experience – while at ISU is now your touchstone, your reference to lean on throughout your life.”

The Bengal roar punctuated the end of a speech delivered by outgoing Associated Students of ISU President Matt Bloxham, who urged graduates to keep on learning.

“No matter where we are in life, whether it’s fifth grade or 50 years old, we are always starting new chapters or stories in our life,” Bloxham said. “The best part is that we are each the author of our story. So continue to take charge and strive to write the greatest novel anyone could read. Go forward and do amazing things with your life.”

The crowd cheered as Wheatley, a benefactor to ISU and other universities and former northern California real estate developer, accepted his honorary doctorate degree. Jack, and his late wife Mary Lois, have donated more than $1 million to ISU for campus beautification projects and student scholarships. They are in the ISU Foundation’s highest donor recognition category, the Gem Legacy Diamond Society.

“The Wheatley family’s vision and generosity has changed the lives of thousands of students and helped transform the Idaho State University campus, making it a warm and inviting place for generations to come,” said Kent Tingey, ISU Vice President for Advancement, who presented Wheatley with his doctorate. “Take a look around ISU’s campus and you’ll see the fruits of the Wheatley’s generosity.”

Terrell Kelly accepted a posthumous degree for his son, Joshua, walking with Josh's service dog Cletus. For more on this visit expressed gratitude for his education.

“ISU was a stepping stone for my life,” Wheatley said. “We learn as we go along and in the choices we make, and one of the important things of my life was to recognize the gifts and talents I was given and to magnify them.”

He urged students to recognize their own talents, to find out what they can do well and magnify their own calling.

“Excellence is our lifelong goal and we hope to be able to see you taking the mantel and going forth to change the world for the good,” Wheatley said.

Faculty members recognized for distinguished service by ISU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Laura Woodworth-Ney were Kelly Fanning Pesnell, nursing assistant clinical professor, Distinguished Teacher; Lawrence Beaty, faculty member, chair and executive director of the Idaho State University, Energy Systems Technology and Education Center, Distinguished Service Award; and Alan Hunt, research associate professor of physics, Distinguished Researcher.

Graduates and friends are encouraged to share their memories on social media using #isugrads.