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Idaho State University

Well done, graduates! ISU-Meridian awards 200 graduate and undergraduate degrees at commencement

May, 11, 2011

Idaho State University graduated a record number of students from its Treasure Valley programs May 9, awarding more than 200 graduate and undergraduate degrees in the health professions and sciences.

Friends and family cheered the graduates as they walked across the stage at the Boise Centre.  At the ceremony’s conclusion, ISU President Arthur Vailas led the graduates in a round of applause for family, friends, mentors and faculty who’ve supported the students’ academic endeavors.

For honors graduate Maria Del Pilar Figueroa, the evening had special significance.  Not only is she the first child in her family to graduate from college, but her 88-year-old grandmother traveled from Guatemala City to witness the event.

“I’m very happy.  I’m very proud for this big achievement,” said Figueroa’s grandmother, Maria Portillo.

Figueroa, 25, 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.  She’ll also graduate with a degree in biology from College of Idaho May 21.

 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.
Other students honored at commencement include pharmacy graduate Jo Lynne Kiester, who was awarded the ISU-Meridian Student Excellence top honor, and dietetics graduate Kate Erickson, recipient of ISU’s Division of Health Sciences Outstanding Student Achievement Award.

Also recognized were the other six nominees for the Meridian Student Excellence Award. 

  • Jessica Anderson, speech-language pathology
  • Gina Decker, public health
  • Katie Fisher, physician assistant studies
  • Cyndia Glorfield, counseling
  • Jerri Kesler, communication sciences and disorders
  • Linsey Saras, athletic administration

Dr. Karl Watts, president and founder of Genesis World Mission, delivered the commencement keynote address. 

The ISU-Meridian Health Science Center offers more than 20 programs in the health professions, including pharmacy, nursing, medical/clinical laboratory science, physician assistant studies, audiology, dental hygiene, speech-language pathology, counseling and an advanced dental residency.