Spring Commencement Includes 170 Degrees from the Treasure Valley and Twin Falls

Tuesday, April 12 2011


BOISE, Idaho – Graduating students are eligible to receive a combined 170 degrees this spring at the University of Idaho Boise campus.

Candidates from the University of Idaho Boise applied for 10 baccalaureate degrees, 25 law degrees, 12 doctoral degrees, 24 specialist degrees and 79 master’s degrees. Some students will have earned multiple degrees.

In Twin Falls, where the university offers classes at the College of Southern Idaho campus, candidates have applied for 14 baccalaureate degrees, one specialist degree and five master's degrees.

Statewide this spring, five commencement ceremonies celebrate the accomplishments of 1,556 University of Idaho students who are eligible to graduate, earning a combined 1,638 degrees. This year's commencement brings the university's all-time totals to 102,703 graduates and 110,394 degrees.

The Boise commencement ceremony will take place Monday, May 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the Boise Centre, 850 W. Front St. in downtown Boise. The commencement speaker will be Donald Burnett.

A native of Pocatello, Burnett is the College of Law Dean and Foundation Professor at the University of Idaho. During Burnett’s deanship, the college has adopted a pro bono service requirement for all law students, reflecting its commitment to high standards of professionalism and honor. The College has established curricular emphases in Natural Resources and Environmental Law, including the interdisciplinary Waters of the West program; Native American Law; Litigation and Appropriate Dispute Resolution, including mediation; and Business Law and Entrepreneurism. The College also has implemented a third-year program in Boise, advancing the university’s unique statewide mission in legal education and complementing the university’s full three-year law degree program in Moscow.

Burnett has earned the Idaho State Bar’s Professionalism Award, Outstanding Service Award, and, in 2009, the Distinguished Lawyer Award – considered to be one of the highest honors a lawyer can receive during his or her career. Together, the awards recognize demonstrated and uncommon devotion to public service, the improvement of the administration of justice and a career-long demonstration of diligence, ability, civility, integrity and dignity. Burnett has chaired the Professionalism Committee of the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and the University of Idaho Steering Committee on Diversity and Human Rights. He currently chairs the university’s Ethical Guidance and Oversight Committee.

Burnett earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University; a juris doctorate from the University of Chicago; and a master of laws degree (LL.M.) from the University of Virginia. He graduated on the Commandant’s List from the Command and General Staff College of the U.S. Army, later receiving the U.S. Armed Forces Legion of Merit Award for exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of key assignments as a Reserve officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

During his civilian career, Burnett has served as: judicial clerk to the Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court; assistant attorney general for the State of Idaho; lawyer in private practice; Idaho State Bar president; judge of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Court; judge of the Idaho Court of Appeals; and as an educator and administrator, serving as dean of the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville in Kentucky before returning to his native state to accept the dean’s post at the University of Idaho in 2002.

Lineup for commencement begins at 6:45 p.m. Students or guests with disability-related needs should contact Stephanie Fox at the University of Idaho Boise at (208) 364-6137 as early as possible to allow time to arrange needed services and access. Requests are very difficult to arrange on the day of commencement.

The University of Idaho Boise will host a reception immediately following the ceremony. Friends, family, and faculty are invited to join in congratulating the new graduates. Light refreshments will be served. Tickets are not required.

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.

The University of Idaho Boise proudly presents the President’s Medallion to two University of Idaho graduates who are partners in life and partners in community contribution: Kaye and Lawrence Knight. Their contributions to the University of Idaho have resulted in both receiving the Jim Lyle Alumni Award for volunteerism and the Silver and Gold Award for outstanding service to the University of Idaho.

• Kaye Knight
Kaye, who received her education degree from Idaho, has made a career of community involvement. She has been a member of the Junior League for 40 years, serving in numerous leadership and mentoring roles. Kaye initiated and directed the Meridian School Volunteers; previously, there had been no program allowing parents to volunteer in the Meridian Schools. For seven years, she served Ada County as a zoning commissioner, a planning commissioner and a member of the Board of Adjustment. As the president of the Idaho State Medical Society Auxiliary, Kaye successfully lobbied the Legislature for the first children’s seat belt restraint bill. Continuing her focus on the welfare of children, she served as president of the Board of Directors of Idaho Ronald McDonald House, and the chair of the Nominating Committee on the Women’s and Children’s Alliance Board of Directors. Not neglecting the Arts, Kaye also served as president of the following organizations: Morrison Center Auxiliary, Friends of the Philharmonic and Boise Philharmonic Association Inc. Board of Directors. Kaye has also served on the Advisory Board for the College of Education at the University of Idaho. For her extensive service to the community, Kaye has received awards and recognition from the Idaho Statesman, Boise Junior League, the Silver Sage Council of the Girl Scouts of America and the Women’s and Children’s Alliance.

• Dr. Lawrence Knight
Lawrence graduated in pre-med at the University of Idaho and completed his medical degree at the University of Washington. His specialty of pathology led him to serving as the chief pathologist in the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center, chief pathologist at St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise, consulting pathologist at St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise and Holy Rosary Hospital in Ontario, Ore., as well as the chief of Laboratory Services and as consulting pathologist of the Boise VA Medical Center. Lawrence was a founding partner of Treasure Valley Laboratory in Boise, and has served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corps. He has served as president of the Ada County Medical Society, the chair of the Idaho Medical Association, chair of the Red Cross Blood Services (Lewis and Clark), a member of the Executive Committee of the Mountain States Tumor Institute, and an instructor in pathology at the University of Washington. He has held officer positions in Kiwanis International, Women’s and Children’s Alliance, and the Citizens’ Advisory Board of the Idaho National Laboratory. Lawrence has served on Boards of Directors of the University of Idaho Alumni Association, the University of Idaho Foundation and the Vandal Boosters. He also received the President's Circle Leadership Award for his financial support of the University of Idaho.

More information about the Boise commencement is available online: 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 land-grant 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 classified by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation as high research activity. The student population of 12,000 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. For more information, visit www.uidaho.edu.