Families and friends came together Friday, May 12, to honor the bold achievements of the more than 1,700 College of Western Idaho (CWI) graduates. CWI’s 14th Commencement Ceremony, held at ExtraMile Arena in Boise, celebrated graduates as they embark on a new chapter in their lives.
“It is exhilarating to witness the electricity in this room, to witness the power, passion, and purpose of you, the graduates, who have toiled valiantly, to reach this hallmark moment in your lives: graduation,” said Vice Chair of CWI’s Board of Trustees, Cherie Buckner-Webb. “I feel the energy, excitement, and pride in this place. I honor your sacrifice and preparation.”
“I see before me men and women from a wide range of disciplines, with a multiplicity of perspectives and expertise, ready to build communities where all can flourish. It’s an amazing time in Treasure Valley!”
The 2022-2023 academic year saw 1,763 CWI students graduate from the College, ranging in age from 17 to 75 years old, and earning 1,911 degrees and certificates. Other highlights included:
- 603 Graduates with Honors
- 302 Graduates with Multiple Degrees
- 111 Veteran Graduates
- 3.277 Average Graduate GPA
- 251 Apprenticeship Graduates
- 47 Associate of Arts Degrees Awarded to Dual Credit Students
- 41 GED Graduates
The success of this year’s graduating class prompted remarks from Idaho State Board of Education President, Dr. Linda Clark. She reinforced the message to graduates they are ready for what comes next in life, thanks to the education and resources they received at CWI.
Clark urged graduates to continue to support higher education in the future.
“Support the College through its programs and outreach,” she said. “Share your success story at CWI with others. Let them know the life-changing differences that post-secondary training and education make in one’s life. Your continued personal commitment and support for education will make it possible for others to enjoy access to the world of opportunities that your CWI education has opened for you.”
CWI President Gordon Jones shared his immense pride and gratitude to be able to have been witness to the graduates’ hard work and dedication. The stories of the thousands of students who attend CWI to better themselves and those around them are what move him.
“Today, we celebrate not just your academic achievement but also your resilience and determination,” he said. “We are a community college. Community is at the heart of what we do, and we are defined by those of you whom we serve.”
Stories like Liberal Arts graduate, Megan Hall, who was identified at an early age as hard of hearing, inspire Jones.
At Commencement, Hall shared about herself and how asking for help had always been one of her biggest struggles in life. She was often met with belittlement or rejection every time she reached out for assistance — that was until she came to CWI and interacted with faculty and staff.
Through accommodations at the College, Hall felt academically engaged like never before and she could see new possibilities that had once been too far out of reach. Hall said her experience at CWI gives her hope for other students who share similar stories to her, and for those who need other types of support.
“For some of us, we are continuing our education, others are ready to start their careers, and some have just completed what was necessary to further a career they are already in,” Hall said. “Nonetheless, CWI has given us a basic foundation to further our aspirations. I will take these experiences with me as I continue to reach for my goals and hope you all do as well.”
Before Commencement came to a close, Jones reminded graduates they are not just walking away with a degree or certificate, but with the power to shape their own future.
“You have the tools, the knowledge, and the skills to take on whatever challenges come your way,” Jones said. “Whether you choose to continue your education, enter the workforce, or pursue other passions, you have the ability to make a difference in the world. You are not alone, and you now have a community that supports you every step of the way.”