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Students Celebrate Opportunity to Graduate with Friends

May 25, 2024
2024 Commencement

The 133rd graduating class from The College of Idaho had a unique distinction.

For most of the graduates, it was their first time walking across the stage to accept a diploma at a commencement ceremony.

The Class of 2024 came to the College amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant most high school seniors did not get a traditional graduation ceremony.

“Last time, it was me, alone, in a cafeteria and that’s all I got for graduation,” said Megan Gilbert, a history and political economy double major. “It was nice hearing the crowd cheer. Before, it was my dad and my mom clapping, which was great but hearing the whole crowd was amazing.”

A total of 252 graduates were honored on Saturday, including Samantha French, whose parents accepted a posthumous bachelor of arts diploma on behalf of their daughter after she passed away last fall. The College also awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters to Mike Shines, a beloved member of the campus community for more than three decades who passed away in late 2023. The degree was accepted by Shines’ wife, Donna (Price) Shines. It was a moment that touched many, including Emma Anderson, who was one of the graduates seated near the Boone Hall steps that served as the ceremony’s stage.

“He was such an important role model to me. After that, I started thinking about everyone else that has been a huge factor in my development and making me who I am,” said Anderson, the outgoing student-body president who graduated with a double-major in psychology and chemistry. “I’m a mosaic of everyone I’ve ever met and everyone I’ve ever known, so it got me really emotional thinking about all the people around me that I may never see again, but they made me.”

It was a message echoed by senior student speaker Sibusiso Mahlangu, who encouraged his fellow graduates to take in the moment as much as possible, especially after so many didn’t get this moment when they graduated high school four years ago.

“I didn’t get to do this in high school so that was a really cool experience, just getting to get everything set up for this day,” said Tyler Robinett, a business administration major who is returning to the College next year to complete the graduate-level Sport Administration certificate program while completing his athletic eligibility on the basketball court. “It was fun getting to see everyone I’ve grown with over the last four years get to walk across the stage.”

It was the final time on stage for co-president Jim Everett, who is stepping down from the role in June. Former presidents Robert Hoover and Marv Henberg were also in attendance at Saturday’s commencement, as was Anselme Sadiki, whose accomplished career locally and internationally earned him a Presidential Medallion from the College. It was a fitting celebration of so many people.

“Walking across that stage is one of the best things I could have ever imagined,” Anderson said. “It was so much more than I hoped for.”

To see a gallery of event photos from Commencement, click here. Downloadable photos of each individual graduate are available on the College’s Flickr page.

The College of Idaho has a 133-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including eight Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit