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ISU-Meridian recognizes student excellence honorees at May 11 Commencement and confers 257 degrees

May, 12, 2015

Accelerated nursing graduate Lori Price received Idaho State University-Meridian’s 2015 Student Excellence Award at the campus’ May 11 commencement ceremony in Boise.

Accelerated nursing graduate Lori Price received Idaho State University-Meridian’s 2015 Student Excellence Award at the campus’ May 11 commencement ceremony in Boise.

“I was so excited. What an honor.  It’s so cool to represent ISU a second time,” she said, clutching her certificate and honorary plaque.

Price, who received her bachelor’s degree in nursing, is a 1981 graduate of ISU’s dental hygiene program.  She’ll put both degrees to good use in early June when she travels to Nicaragua as part of a triage team providing medical and dental care to young girls rescued from human trafficking.

“It’s an issue very tender to my heart,” she said.

Price was one of eight finalists for the 2015 Student Excellence Award. The other honorees are Lynn Bohecker, counseling; Jeanie Chapin, communication sciences and disorders;  Kate Christiaens, audiology; Jacqueline Fitch, physician assistant studies; Lindsey Hunt, pharmacy; Jennifer Montzka, speech language pathology; and Kathryn Norton, medical laboratory science.

Patrick Gray, a 2004 graduate of ISU-Meridian’s accelerated nursing program, was commencement speaker. An advocate for the disabled community, Gray is co-creator of  I’ll Push You: A 500-Mile Journey Between Two Best Friends, which chronicles his 2014 pilgrimage along the rugged Camino de Santiago trail in northern Spain with childhood friend Justin Skeesuck.

Gray pushed Skeesuck—unable to walk because of an autoimmune disease—in a wheelchair.  Gray told the new graduates the pilgrimage has served as a metaphor for life’s most important lessons—that what might seem impossible at first is indeed possible and the best leaders are those who embrace their vulnerabilities.“Regardless of your position, you have the power to impact those you come in contact with,” he told the new health professions graduates.

ISU President Arthur Vailas told students their newly minted degrees represent an “important benchmark in their lifelong journey. Enjoy this moment,” he said.

ISU-Meridian conferred 257 degrees, most in the health professions and health sciences. Forty-seven Renaissance High School students received Associate of Arts degrees in general studies through a partnership with ISU and the West Ada School District.

Here’s the breakdown of graduate, professional and undergraduate degrees: two Doctor of Philosophy (Counselor Education and Counseling); eight Doctor of Audiology; 34 Doctor of Pharmacy; five Master of Counseling; 10 Master of Physical Education/Athletic Administration; 29 Master of Physician Assistant Studies; four Master of Public Health; 23 Master of Science (Medical Laboratory Science, Nursing and Speech Language Pathology); four Master of Education (School Psychology, Secondary Education); 73 Bachelor of Science (Medical Laboratory Science, Nursing, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Educational Interpreting, Psychology, Sign Language Interpreting); 18 Associate of Science (Sign Language Studies, Nursing, Paramedic Science, and Geomatics) and 47 Associate of Arts (General Studies).

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