Commentary: Reflecting on Dr. Marlene Tromp’s State of the University address

Photo by Elise Ledesma | The Arbiter

Over the past three years at Boise State, our student body and faculty have faced many challenges. Despite these challenges, we as a university have persevered, and these efforts are coming to light.

On Aug. 17, 2022, Boise State’s President, Dr. Marlene Tromp, delivered this year’s State of the University address to an audience both in person and online. She remained fairly optimistic about the past, present and future of the university. Despite the smoke and mirrors, Tromp delivered a heartfelt speech which touched on many aspects of the university both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The speech goes on to reveal a “clear-eyed focus” on the university’s goal regarding the development of students, development of new knowledge and development of relationships. Taking into consideration the generic promise of continuing to become better as a university, it feels mildly underwhelming to hear the redundancy of these given statements. 

According to her speech, Tromp strives in every aspect to lead us — the student body, staff and faculty — to reach the promised higher standard of excellence. 

As expected, Dr. Tromp spoke about the  challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, including those that took a direct toll on faculty, staff and students alike. However, Tromp confidently stated that the university had completed its mission of greater academic excellence and saw a record number of graduates during this time, which is reassuring.

As a society, it has become a general expectation that we treat each other with an equal amount of respect and open mindedness when responding to opposing opinions.  However, not everyone can hold a healthy and constructive conversation with those who hold differing perspectives.

Regarding the feelings of optimism that Dr. Tromp mentioned in her address, it was almost condescending to hear the push for maintaining an open mind. Upon certain observation, it seems that there is a divide of the student body amongst many corners of the university, whether it be in Greek life or extracurriculars. 

Many of those who grew up in Generation Z, find that it’s difficult to converse with older generations because of this issue that Tromp is attempting to eliminate in the Boise State community. Tromp states that this idea of treating people with respect and open perspectives has been known by teachers and professors for generations, but it seems she is implying that younger generations on campus are close-minded and lacking the respect she thinks our older generations have.

state of the university
[Dr. Marlene Tromp speaks at the State of the University address in the Morrison Center.]
Photo by Elise Ledesma | The Arbiter

The naivety behind this assumption is what currently plagues the waters for our young generations.

However, the confidence within Tromp and her team seemed to feel relatively structured for a successful future as an administration and university. 

The administration is thinking of new ways to both create and serve a community, while simultaneously connecting, listening and learning from each other to “become better.”

It will be curious to see how these abstract thoughts will become concrete actions to make sure every student, faculty and staff member feels seen and heard. 

The Blueprint for Success is the aforementioned abstract thoughts that are set to build the university up in respect and notability. 

In her address, Tromp maps the blueprint to ensure everyone’s access to enrolling to and attending the university and to question strategies of innovativeness. 

As a student body, it is not certain whether or not a professor or another student will agree with the opposing opinions, but to Tromp, it is expected that we strive to listen and learn from one another this year going forward. 

The university is finally coming out of hibernation, as are many other universities across the nation. However, there is a higher expectation to be held against Boise State’s administration for keeping everyone safe, happy and successful both academically and socially.

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