Olympic Gold Medalist Kristin Armstrong to Speak, 100,000th Graduate and Others Honored at Idaho Commencement

Tuesday, April 20 2010

Written by Tania Thompson

MOSCOW, Idaho – Approximately 1,518 students statewide are eligible for graduation this spring from the University of Idaho – bringing the total number of graduates from the state's land-grant institution to just over 100,000.

In Moscow, home to the largest of the five statewide commencement ceremonies, 1,346 students are eligible to graduate. They have applied for 994 baccalaureate degrees, 84 law degrees, 33 doctoral degrees, 3 specialist degrees and 265 master’s degrees. Final graduation numbers will be available following the semester's end. Some students will have earned multiple degrees.

Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong '95 will deliver the commencement address. She became only the second American woman cyclist in history to claim an Olympic gold medal; the first gold was won by Connie Carpenter Phinny in 1984. Armstrong's Olympic gold medal came in the 2008 summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, when she won the 14.6-mile time trial in just 34 minutes. It was a moment she'd been training for since childhood and she called the win "the most amazing day of my life."

In addition to the Olympic gold medal, Armstrong is a two-time Olympian and five-time U.S. national champion. On the world stage, she has a total of four medals putting her in exclusive company with Greg LeMond as the only other American cyclist with four World Championship medals. In 2006, she became the third American in history to win a World Championship in the elite women's time trial. She repeated this accomplishment one year after her Olympic medal in September 2009. Armstrong was born into a military family in 1973 and grew up in Tennessee, Italy, California, Japan and Idaho – where she now resides. She graduated from the University of Idaho College of Education in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in sports physiology.

Honorary degrees will be granted to Arden Bement Jr. '59, director of the National Science Foundation; Stanley P. Desjardins '58, aviation and aerospace researcher; and Gary E. Strong '66, university librarian, University of California, Los Angeles. Three alumni will be inducted into the Hall of Fame: Pete Cenarrusa '48; Daniel Frye '79; and Nancy Morris '83, executive vice president, Allianz Global Investors of America. Morris also will give the commencement address to College of Law graduates at 3 p.m. Wellington C. "Skip" and Bee Pierce will receive the President's Medallion.

The University of Idaho's main commencement ceremony in Moscow will take place in the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center beginning at 9:30 a.m. The ceremony will stream live on the university's U-Idaho Live Web site: www.uidaho.edu/newsevents/uidaholivepage.aspx.

Statewide during the spring commencements, 1,518 students are eligible to graduate this spring, including candidates who have applied for 1,043 baccalaureate degrees, 52 doctoral degrees, 20 specialist degrees, 84 law and 352 master’s degrees.

All degree candidates participating in the ceremony and faculty members, in their regalia, will meet at the Administration Lawn at 8 a.m. to form a procession to the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center. In case of inclement weather, students and faculty are instructed to come to the Administration Lawn for directions. Led by bagpipes, the procession will begin at 8:30 a.m., and will move down University Avenue to the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center, 1000 Stadium Way in Moscow.

College celebrations for the graduates, their friends, family and faculty will be held immediately following the ceremony.

Honorary Degrees
Honorary degrees are awarded to a person deserving honor by virtue of scholarly distinction, noteworthy public service or significant contributions to the state. Three individuals will receive honorary degrees: Arden Bement Jr., doctor of science; Stanley P. Desjardins, doctor of engineering; and Gary E. Strong, doctor of humane letters.

• Arden L. Bement Jr. '59 was sworn in as the 12th director of the National Science Foundation in 2004 after serving seven months as acting director. Prior to his confirmation as NSF director, he served as director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the Department of Commerce from 2001-04. He also served nine years as the David A. Ross Distinguished Professor of Nuclear Engineering and head of the School of Nuclear Engineering at Purdue University. From 1954-92, Bement held positions in industry, government and academia. He holds an engineering of metallurgy degree from the Colorado School of Mines, a master’s degree in metallurgical engineering from the University of Idaho and a doctorate in metallurgical engineering from the University of Michigan.

Stanley P. Desjardins ‘58 has more than 50 years of experience in the research and development of aerospace systems and components. He founded two companies that develop technology and products to improve occupants’ chances of survival in airplane, helicopter and vehicle crashes. Energy-absorbing, crashworthy seats, whether designed by him or others who followed the principles he developed, have saved many lives and prevented debilitating injuries. Desjardins also was responsible for major revisions in the U.S. Army’s “Aircraft Crash Survival Design Guide,” which was considered the authority on crash-resistant aircraft design criteria. In 2002, Desjardins founded a new company, Safe Inc., to continue research to advance the state-of-the-art in crashworthy seats, as well as other interests. Desjardin has been awarded six patents, as the inventor or co-inventor, and his many awards include recognition from the American Helicopter Society in 2003 for his contributions that increase aircrew and passenger safety. He also has been nominated for induction into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

• Gary E. Strong ‘66 has been a librarian and library administrator for more than 40 years. He currently serves as university librarian at the University of California, Los Angeles, one of the top 10 academic research libraries in North America. From humble beginnings as a student library worker at the University of Idaho Library, he's gone on to positions as director of the Queens Borough Public Library in New York, and state librarian of California, the top administrative post in the California State Library system. In addition, he has been a consultant and adviser to the Library of Congress.

Hall of Fame

The University of Idaho Alumni Association Hall of Fame was created in 1962. It recognizes individuals who have achieved national or international distinction through their accomplishments and leadership. Three individuals will be inducted: Pete Cenarrusa '48, Daniel Frye and Nancy Morris '83.

• Pete Cenarrusa '48. Cenarrusa served nine terms in the Idaho House of Representatives, including three terms as Speaker of the House, and seven terms as Secretary of State. He was an Idaho elected official from 1950 until his retirement in 1998, and remains the longest serving elected state official in Idaho’s history. His leadership, service and interests extend far beyond the political arena. He was a member of the 1940 University of Idaho boxing team that won the national intercollegiate championship. After earning a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Idaho, he was a high school educator and coach, and introduced the first agriculture classes in both the Cambridge and Carey school districts. In 1942, he enlisted in naval aviation and served as an instructor and pilot during World War II. He remained in the Marine Reserves and retired in 1963 with the rank of major. He also was a lifetime rancher, farmer and woolgrower. The son of Basque immigrants who developed a range sheep business in Carey, he learned the Basque language at home. In 2001, he received the honor “Basque of the World” from the Sabino Arana Foundation in Bilboa, Basque Country.

• Daniel Frye '79. Frye achieved international distinction through his career at IBM, where he currently serves as vice president of open system development, including management of IBM’s Linux Technology Center. He leads a worldwide software development team of more than 1,500 software professionals at IBM. In 2002, he was named one of the “50 Most Powerful People in Networking” by Network World magazine. Prior to his current responsibilities, Frye was a member of IBM’s Emerging Technologies and Business Opportunities team where he worked on company-wide technical strategies that predicted future trends and transitions in the Information Technology industry. It was during this time that Frye co-authored the original IBM corporate strategies for both Linux and open source software. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Idaho in 1979. He later earned a master’s degree in physics and a doctoral degree in theoretical atomic physics from Johns Hopkins University.

• Nancy Morris '83. Morris currently is executive vice president at Allianz Global Investors of America, where she serves as chief U.S. regulatory counsel. She also has achieved great distinction through her leadership and service in the public sector at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Morris has held the position of SEC secretary from 2006-08 – the first woman to hold the post. Then-SEC chairman Christopher Cox credits Morris with leading an effort to help investors gain easier and quicker access to SEC information and historic documents and records. She held previous appointments at the SEC from 2004-06 and 1985-92. Morris also worked in the private sector as vice president and associate legal counsel to the investment management firm, T. Rowe Price Associates, and as an attorney for Fidelity Investments. Morris earned her law degree at Idaho in 1983, and was editor-in-chief of the Idaho Law Review. She currently serves on the College of Law Advisory Board, and received the Award of Merit from the law faculty in 2006.

President's Medallion
The President’s Medallion is presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the cultural, economic, scientific and/or social advancement of Idaho and its people, and have provided exceptional service to the state or nation that has influenced the well-being of humankind.

Wellington C. "Skip" and Bee Pierce will receive the President's Medallion. They are longtime Boise residents who generously support their community, the University of Idaho and the state. Skip earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Idaho and a master’s degree from the University of California. He spent his career in the field of science, and now is the retired partner and managing director of Treasure Valley Laboratory. He is active in the Boise chapter of the Service Corps of Retired Executives, an organization that links new entrepreneurs with experienced business people who serve as mentors and offer advice on developing business plans. He also has served on the Beta Theta Pi Corporation board of directors. Bee earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Oregon State University and taught school in Idaho before she and Skip were married. She is active in the Philanthropic Educational Organization, a group that promotes education opportunities for women. She was named an honorary alumna of the university in 2002. The Pierces support tennis and other athletic programs in Ada County through the Boise Swim and Racquet Club. They have provided their time and energy to support the College of Science, the Alumni Association, the former College of Letters and Science, the Vandal Scholarship Fund and the University of Idaho Foundation.

College of Law
The College of Law, the university's only First Professional degree program, will hold its own graduation and celebration Saturday, May 15, beginning at 3 p.m. in the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center, 1000 Stadium Way in Moscow. Law degree candidates will meet, dressed in regalia, on the front steps of Menard Law Building at 2:15 p.m.

Nancy Morris '83 will give the commencement address to graduates.

A reception will follow the college ceremony at the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center.

Additional Details
A shuttle bus from parking lots on the east side of campus to the Idaho Commons and the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center will run prior to the ceremony. Following the commencement ceremony, shuttles will provide transportation to the individual college celebrations and will return to local hotels after these celebrations. Rayburn Street, immediately east of the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center and the College of Law, will be closed to traffic. Additional disability parking will be provided for the event.

Complete information about all University of Idaho commencement ceremonies, including information for visitors, is available at www.uidaho.edu/commencement.aspx.
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. The university is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.