Graduates Inspired by Vandal Alumnus

Tuesday, April 24 2012

BOISE, Idaho – The academic year is almost over and that means commencement time at the University of Idaho Boise, which includes Twin Falls.

Graduates from the Boise location will receive 136 degrees: 78 master’s degrees, 26 law degrees, 13 doctoral degrees, 12 specialist degrees and seven baccalaureate degrees.

In Twin Falls, where the university offers classes at the College of Southern Idaho campus, candidates have applied for a total of 19 degrees: 12 baccalaureate degrees, six master’s degrees and one 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 Boise commencement ceremony will take place Wednesday, May 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the Boise Centre, 850 W. Front S. in downtown Boise. The commencement speaker will be Arthur F. (Skip) Oppenheimer.

A native of Boise, Oppenheimer went to the University of Idaho and graduated in 1968 with a B.A. in history. He also earned a Degree Elementaire from the University of Paris in 1967 and an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1972. He is currently Chairman/CEO of Oppenheimer Companies, Inc., a national food processing, sales, marketing/distribution organization, and President of Oppenheimer Development Corporation, a commercial real estate company that developed a number of buildings in Boise, among them One Capital Center and Wells Fargo Center.

Oppenheimer has held numerous positions of leadership in public policy organizations, with emphasis on health care, education, children and families, and economic development. Oppenheimer was the initial chair of the St. Luke’s Health System, a $1.4 billion organization serving the Southwestern Idaho region and employing over 8,000 people. Oppenheimer is also the founding chair of the Idaho Business Coalition for Education Excellence, an organization founded in 2003 to enhance education quality in the state by working closely with the state governor and key education stakeholders. Oppenheimer played a leading role as the co-chair of the community college “Yes” campaign, which culminated in the creation of The College of Western Idaho. He also served as a commissioner on the Northwest Accreditation Commission of Colleges and Universities from 1993-2002. Currently, Oppenheimer serves as the president of the Western Region of the Boy Scouts of America, which serves over 1 million scouting enthusiasts.

Oppenheimer is married to Esther Brollier Oppenheimer. They have two sons, Josh Oppenheimer who is a teacher at Hillcrest Elementary School in Boise, and Matt Oppenheimer who lives in Seattle and is the CEO of a start-up company named Beamit.

The University of Idaho Boise 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.

The University of Idaho Boise proudly presents the President’s Medallion to Mark Hofflund, managing director of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. 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.

In his 18th year with the Festival, Hofflund and his wife Lynn continue to cherish Idaho’s proud, neighborly and generous way of life. Hofflund started his career as an actor, director and dramaturg while working for 10 years at The Old Globe in San Diego.

Joining longtime colleague Charles Fee in Idaho, Hofflund helped lead efforts to secure and maintain a permanent home for the festival and its production shops. He serves as liaison to the Idaho Foundation for Parks & Lands and the Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation, whose partnership led to construction of the Festival’s 12-acre amphitheater and reserve. The festival’s regional audience now includes 50,000 students K-12 served by two nationally recognized school tours; high school apprentice and collegiate intern programs; and a drama school made possible by a debt elimination campaign and merger with Idaho Theater for Youth.

In community service, Hofflund collaborated on forming the Friends of Barber Pool Conservation Area and the annual Bald Eagle Days, served on the board of The Shakespeare Theatre Association of America, addressed national conferences for the Institute of Outdoor Drama (receiving the Mark R. Sumner Award), and filled a presidential appointment to the board of the National Endowment for the Arts (receiving the Chairman’s Award). Hofflund serves on the boards of the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau and the National Assembly of States Arts Agencies, chairs the Idaho Commission on the Arts, and holds degrees from Princeton and the University of California, San Diego.
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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: