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A BSU winter apperitif to take our minds off a certain former coach and let me brag on my wife.

Boise State University’s winter Commencement will honor graduates with a traditional ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20, in Taco Bell Arena. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. No tickets are required. About 800 graduates are expected to participate in the ceremony. There are 1,518 students eligible for 1,649 degrees and certificates, and 255 students are eligible for honors: 161 cum laude, 85 magna cum laude and 9 summa cum laude. Boise State confers more than 40 percent of all public university bachelor’s degrees in Idaho each year. Highlights of winter Commencement include the hooding of 13 doctoral candidates, a record for Boise State. Sixteen doctoral candidates are eligible for degrees; 13 will participate in the ceremony. They include the university’s first Ph.D. graduate in materials science and engineering, as well as the first doctor of education in curriculum and instruction student to graduate with a specialization in special education. The university also will present its Silver Medallion to alumna Deb Riedel, who earned a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1977 and a master’s degree in music/performance in 1999. She is a first vice president and wealth management portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley. She has served on the board of the Boise State University Foundation since 2000, including a term as its president from 2004-2006. The Silver Medallion is Boise State’s highest recognition of service to the university. The winter Commencement student speaker is Tiara Thompson, a double major in English and theatre arts. A native Idahoan, she has served as a peer advisor for Advising and Academic Enhancement, an officer with the Theatre Majors Association and was selected to help organize the Theatre Arts Department’s regional conference in February 2014. She also has acted and served numerous technical roles in Theatre Arts Department productions. Following graduation, Thompson plans to work with the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, teach English abroad, attend graduate school and eventually join the Peace Corps. The Pesky Awards for Inspirational Teaching also will be presented to some outstanding Idaho teachers. Ardent supporters of improved education and founders of the Lee Pesky Learning Center, Alan and Wendy Pesky funded the awards to recognize K-12 teachers in Idaho who “ignite a fire in students at some point in their life to set as a goal becoming a teacher and then lighting a similar fire in the lives of the children they teach.” The Commencement ceremony will include a processional and recessional, individual recognition of graduates and the hooding of doctoral candidates. Widescreens will be set up so family and friends can see the graduates up close as they are individually recognized. Boise State also will stream the ceremony on the Web at http://academics.boisestate.edu/provost/commencement-webcast for those who are unable to attend. A reception for graduates and their families, hosted by the Boise State Alumni Association, will be held immediately following the ceremony in the Student Union Building. Each college will have a designated area where graduates can meet family after the ceremony to take photos and introduce them to faculty. Parking for Commencement is free. Due to limited handicapped parking, those who cannot walk to the arena can be dropped off at entrances 1 and 2, where volunteers can assist them while their families find parking. For special accommodation information, visit http://commencement.boisestate.edu.

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