April 22, 2009
Dear Friend of Idaho State University,
There are many rites of spring, and none in academic life carries as much significance as commencement. While the ceremonies and celebrations are still a few weeks away, it is not too early to turn our attention to the Idaho State University Alumni Association's tradition of honoring our Outstanding Student and Professional Achievement award winners. These awards and their honorees renew and strengthen our devotion to providing a quality education that nourishes individuals and society.
The 11 Outstanding Students represent the top achievers in their respective colleges. They come from as far away as Connecticut and as close as right here in Pocatello. They come from large urban areas such as Columbus, Ohio (metro area 1.7 million population) and small towns like Declo (population about 350). One was an All Big Sky Conference outside linebacker and an Academic All-American; another helped found the Pocatello Co-op. Our Outstanding Students come from diverse backgrounds and are devoted to a wide range of praiseworthy activities outside the classroom. I am proud of each of them.
I feel the same way about our Professional Achievement Award winners. It only makes sense that outstanding students go on to greater achievements, and each of our nine Professional Achievement Award winners is proof of this.
The diversity and depth of their accomplishments are impressive. A speech graduate has gone on to produce award-winning documentaries for a Chicago film company she co-founded. A graduate with a biological sciences degree has flourished as a co-owner and vice president of a multi-million dollar marketing company specializing in promoting high-tech companies. Who would have thought a dental hygiene graduate would also become an inventor, creating a Dental Remote Access Terminal, a simple foot-operated computer mouse, and be named one of 50 Idaho Women of the Year? Education opens doors to endless possibilities, as these Professional Achievement Award winners attest.
It will be with great interest that we track our Outstanding Students and see how their lives, careers and successes unfold. Will our Outstanding Student in clinical sciences advance as a medical caregiver or research scientist creating new drugs to better treat disease? Will the Outstanding Student earning an engineering degree have a remarkable career as a project manager for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Spitzer Space Telescope, the most sensitive infrared telescope ever launched into space, as one of Professional Achievement Award winners has?
Spring's spirit is that of potential. Graduation is an end, but even more of a beginning. Our students and alumni are living testaments of that.
Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
President, Idaho State University