Just a few short weeks ago, the Bengal community came together to celebrate our graduates, from all walks of life, as they crossed the stage at commencement. This moment honored their achievements, their dedication, and ultimately symbolized the bright future of our more than 2,550 graduates.
I have been able to get to know many of these students personally over the last year, and it was an honor to shake their hands. This was a moment that meant a lot to me. And then there were several others who I saw with tears in their eyes proudly cross the stage.
I saw the friends, families, staff, and faculty who have supported these students share in the excitement. These moments are profound to me, and, I think, to all of us who support Idaho State. They are a reminder of WHY we are here and WHY our efforts matter. Our students are worth every ounce of hard work and perseverance that is given to helping them achieve their educational goals.
On a related, but different, note, I was also recently deeply moved by another moment in the last couple of weeks. I read this article written by one of our graduate student-athletes, Haley Harrison.
It is her personal story of how she struggled with crippling mental and emotional health, and if not for the support of our athletic department, our caring campus community, and her own personal grit, Haley might not be with us today.
I am grateful to Haley for sharing her story, and proud that she is part of our Bengal family. When I reached out to her after reading her story, I told her how proud of her I was.
I also told her how I thought her showing the courage to share her story will help many others, including people she may never meet or know about. She replied and told me she thinks that “ISU is a great university.”
She is right.
One of the leadership tips that I often share is that “leaders must be willing.” From the above examples, it is clear that we must be willing to support our students when and how they need us. We must be willing to care about them as people and help them to grow. We must be willing to support them, challenge them, teach them, and cheer them on as they step out into the world and change it for the better.
I see examples of that willingness across our campuses every day, one example of which Haley shared in her story. I am proud to be a part of a team who understands this responsibility and who helps it play out as it did at commencement. Always remember that each of you are an essential part of our educational mission, the experience of our students, and together, we are changing lives.
Lastly, here’s a short list of highlights and recent accomplishments:
n During the last week in April the University came together for an amazing celebration of the institution, its history, and its future. The inauguration events celebrated our students, our alumni, our donors, and friends. If you missed it, here are a few words that I shared that week.
n Our students have been doing some amazing things. Biology student Jennie Nelson recently earned a Barry Goldwater Scholarship, a prestigious national award given to top students in the sciences. Jennie hopes to earn a doctoral degree in neurosciences and study the human brain.
n A group of honors program students raised $15,000 to help bring Idaho State branding to Old Town Pocatello. The students worked with city officials, business owners and community leaders, and will be adding pennants, neon signs, and paintings on buildings to give the Old Town area a Bengal look and feel.
n Career Path Internship Program Manager Emily Jahsman recently gave a presentation on our innovative CPI program at the Western Academic Leadership Forum’s annual meeting. The CPI program was selected as one of eight finalists for innovative higher education programs.
n Our faculty in Meridian are setting an example in interdisciplinary work. A team of faculty, including nursing faculty Susan Tavernier, pharmacy faculty Barbara Mason, counseling faculty Logan Lamprecht, dietetics faculty Barbara Gordon and speech language pathology faculty Shauna Smith, were chosen to participate in a National Cancer Institute-sponsored project to develop interdisciplinary education for cancer care.
n The team will be addressing palliative care learning-needs of students, rural community members and practicing clinicians across the state.
n Interim Dean of Nursing Karen Neill has been appointed to the Idaho Board of Correction by Gov. Brad Little. As a forensic nurse, researcher, and educator, I know she will bring great expertise and knowledge to the board.
Roar, Bengals, Roar!
This column was written by Idaho State University President Kevin Satterlee.