CLASS Notes, May 9, 2018
Alumni, friends and colleagues,
This year, the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences will award 466 total degrees to 399 students. What inspires me most is not the sheer number of graduates – CLASS in fact will be giving 30% of the university total degrees this spring – but rather the people and stories that these numbers represent.
For instance, our graduating class includes 26 students earning their bachelor’s degree online, the most ever by the college. Our online graduates include an elementary school paraprofessional in Coeur d’Alene, a professional athlete in Mississippi and an administrative assistant in Idaho Falls. They represent four states and 14 different cities throughout the state of Idaho. CLASS’s ability to offer degree completion opportunities to these students is part of our statewide mission and is one of the most fulfilling things that we do. Congratulations to all of these students.
In addition, we have some amazing students graduating with one (or more) of our on-campus degrees. Below you will meet our 2018 Lindley Award recipient Zachary Lien, as well as single dad and history graduate, Bruce Berry. Be sure to also check out the links to stories about three other graduates including an international music student who came to U of I from China, a 31-year military veteran earning her degree in theatre arts and a psychology student who has found his niche in research. While these stories are different from one another, they are a snapshot of the diversity of students that make up our college. They are what make CLASS so great.
Thank you for your support of these newest graduates and the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences.
Around the College
- Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2018 Vandal Giving Day! CLASS raised more than $10,000 for its initiatives and the Vandal Marching Band raised more than $24,000 for new uniforms!
- This week, Kara Billington from Moscow, Idaho will become the first student to graduate from the University of Idaho with a degree in Film and Television Studies.
- Six CLASS researchers received Seed Grants from the U of I’s Office of Research and Economic Development. Congratulations to Bert Baumgaertner (Politics and Philosophy), Ruby Fulton (Lionel Hampton School of Music), Omi Hodwitz (Sociology and Anthropology), Aleta Quinn (Politics and Philosophy), Bal Krishna Sharma (English) and Zachary Turpin (English).
Catch up on all the latest news from our CLASSy faculty, students and staff on the CLASS News page.
2018 Lindley Award Recipient Zachary Lien
Commencement 2018: A Promise to Succeed
Single dad, Bruce Berry, overcomes obstacles to earn his degree in history from the U of I
That’s what time it was when Bruce Berry’s life changed forever.
It was the moment that his son, Brayden, entered the world — a black and blue newborn who fought his way into the world after 12 hours of labor.
“He grabbed my finger right away,” Berry said. “I kneeled down and said, ‘Hi Brayden. I’m your daddy.’ He looked at me straight in the eyes. He stopped crying and room fell quiet. I fell in love — and my life was changed.
“That moment changed everything.”
Berry was 23 when Brayden was born, and his path hadn’t been smooth so far. He dropped out of junior high at age of 15; he struggled with drug addiction; and by age 18, Berry was homeless.
“When my son and I first made eye contact, my life took an abrupt change,” Berry said.
He never wavered from the commitment he made to Brayden to start a new life. This spring, Berry will see that effort come to completion as he graduates with his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Idaho’s College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences.
Other 2018 CLASS Commencement Stories
- Breaking Barriers with a Saxophone: Graduate student Yue Lu brings Chinese culture to his American music studies and breaks cultural barriers with his saxophone
- A Path Through Research: Psychology student Jordan Becker finds a niche, and his future, in the lab
- U of I Student Graduates with a Degree in Theatre After 31-Year Military Career: Robin Bonta, fulfills a lifelong dream to be in theatre and earns her BFA in Theatre Arts, after serving in the Marine Corps and the National Guard
Dates & Deadlines
- May 12 – Spring Commencement, 9:30 a.m., Kibbie Dome, Moscow
- May 12 – CLASS Commencement Reception, 12 – 2 p.m., Memorial Gym
- May 15 – Boise Commencement, 7:30 p.m., Boise Centre
- July 9 – 27 – Summer Drama Camp, open to youth ages 7-16, Moscow.