Prepared for the Future

Wednesday, April 25 2012

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – The academic year is drawing to a close and that means commencement time for students at the University of Idaho-Idaho Falls.

In Idaho Falls, 52 degrees will be given at this year’s commencement ceremony including, 24 master’s degrees, 17 baccalaureate degrees, nine doctoral degrees, one doctoral of education degree and one education specialist degree.

Statewide this spring, five commencement ceremonies celebrate the accomplishment of 1,628 University of Idaho students who are eligible to graduate, earning a combined 1,705 degrees. This year’s commencement brings the university’s all-time totals to 104,797 graduates and 112,486 degrees.

The Idaho Falls commencement ceremony will take place Thursday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Willard Arts Center Colonial Theatre in downtown Idaho Falls. The commencement speaker will be J.W. (Bill) Rogers, Jr.

Rogers is the director of the Center of Advanced Energy Studies (CAES), a research and educational partnership between the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the University of Idaho, Idaho State University, and Boise State University focused on nuclear science and engineering, advanced materials, geofluids energy science, bioenergy, energy policy, and modeling and simulation.

From 2005-2011 Rogers was the associate laboratory director for Energy and Environment S&T Directorate at the INL, overseeing the basic research and applied engineering efforts of three major R&D Divisions: Energy Systems and Technologies, Environmental and Natural Resource Management, and Science and Engineering. The programs and initiatives associated with these divisions contribute significantly to INL’s multi-program national laboratory status.

Prior to his INL experience, Rogers was at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) (1999 – 2004) serving as chief research officer, director of William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), a national scientific user facility; and, associate laboratory director for Fundamental Science

The president’s office will host a reception immediately following the ceremony. Friends, family and faculty are invited to join in congratulation the new graduates. Light refreshments will be served. Tickets are not required, however seating is limited.

The University of Idaho-Idaho Falls proudly presents the President’s Medallion to Harold Blackman. 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.

Blackman is the director of Research, Materials and Fuels Complex, Idaho National Laboratory (INL). He oversees research that addresses some of the nation’s most pressing energy and security issues. Previously, he served as the director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES). While at CAES, Blackman worked with economic development initiatives that explored the connections between the research at CAES and future energy needs.

In 1997, Blackman received a NOVA technical excellence award from Lockheed Martin Corp. for his significant contribution in the field of human factors engineering to improve the safety and reliability of aviation and nuclear industry operations. He was recently honored by the Partnership for Science and Technology, a community science advocacy group, for his contributions to the energy field.

In addition, the University of Idaho-Idaho Falls will be awarding the Nathan A. Chipman Outstanding Affiliate Faculty Award to James Larson.

In 1964, Larson joined the instrument development branch of Phillips Petroleum Company at the Naval Reactor Test Site (NRTS) in Idaho Falls. NRTS is what is now known as the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). The position with Phillips paved the way for Larson’s next job at the applied physics division of Argonne Laboratory at the INL. He played a lead role in instrument development at Argonne’s Zero Power Physics Reactor from 1968 until his retirement from the lab in 1995.

For 30 years, Larson taught engineering and technology courses for University of Idaho-Idaho Falls while working fulltime. His enjoyment of the association with the students, and his talent at bringing idealized textbook material to life were evident to his students. Larson also found that teaching the material was a great asset to his own career in that it broadened and strengthened his knowledge base. Now retired, Larson continues to have an impact on education by providing assistance to local engineering students.
# # #

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 than 70 additional 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, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Learn more: