May 18, 2011
Dear Friend of Idaho State University,
Last week, more than 2,000 students walked across the stage at Idaho State University commencement ceremonies in Pocatello and Meridian, and continued on to the next adventure in life.
Each year, I am excited to be a witness to this event — watching our well-prepared graduates take what they have learned at Idaho State University to their communities, and to the world.
Idaho State University has a long tradition of excellence. Our alumni go on to serve their communities, make new discoveries, create successful businesses, and make a difference in the world.
They are leaders in their fields, such as Bart Hendrickson, an ISU alumnus who has composed music for dozens of major films such as "Gladiator" and "Pearl Harbor," and Roger Williams, the greatest-selling pianist in history.
Idaho State University has educated Olympic gold medalists and NFL football greats. A member of the U.S. Ski Mountaineering team hails from Idaho State University.
Our alumni are making new discoveries in the field of medicine. Recent doctoral graduate Vikas Bhardwaj is currently doing cancer research at the prestigious MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Alumnus Dr. Rafi Ahmed is director of the Emory Vaccine Center at Emory University, where he is considered one of the world's leading immunologists.
Among the graduates that received degrees this spring are men and women who have already overcome trials in life, or who have already made a difference in the world around them.
Idaho State University-Meridian Health Science graduated a record number of students May 9, conferring more than 200 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including the first Doctor of Philosophy degree in counselor education and counseling.
Among them was honors graduate Maria Del Pilar Figueroa, whose 88-year old grandmother traveled from Guatemala City to witness the first person in her family graduate from college.
Maria received a bachelor's degree in communication sciences and disorders and plans to enroll in ISU's master's program in speech-language pathology at a later date. Born in Guatemala City, Figueroa moved to Nampa at age 14. She decided to study communication sciences after discovering the importance of speech pathology in the rehabilitation of a relative, who'd undergone treatment for a brain tumor.
I have confidence that Maria and the next generation of Idaho State University alumni will continue our tradition of success. Congratulations to all graduates and their families.
Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
President, Idaho State University