Idaho WWAMI Leader Receives Honorary Degree
As a high school senior in Boise, Rod Gramer attended a journalism workshop on the University of Idaho’s campus that would forever change his life.
Gramer declined an out-of-state scholarship, became a Vandal, met his future wife and enjoyed a successful career working as a reporter, newspaper editor and television news executive that took him from Idaho to Oregon to Florida.
Gramer returned to his native state in 2013 to serve as CEO and president of the Idaho Business for Education (IBE). The Chair of Idaho WWAMI’s Advisory Board, Gramer received an honorary doctorate from the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences at the May 2021 commencement ceremony.
“The education and experience I gained at the University of Idaho has been key to whatever success I’ve had in life,” Gramer said. “I was the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college, and I truly believe that education is the way we can set kids up for success in school, work and in life.”
While attending U of I, Gramer double-majored in journalism and history and was editor of The Argonaut. He worked at the Lewiston Tribute the summer between his sophomore and junior year and for the Idaho Statesman between junior and senior year. As an undergrad, Gramer also covered two sessions of the legislature, working with U of I professors to earn class credit remotely while in Boise.
Today, with IBE, he collaborates with business leaders, educators and legislators to improve schools, shape policy and advocate for a skilled workforce to strengthen Idaho’s business climate and economy.
(Gramer) has established himself as a highly valued Idaho citizen and is an exceptional advocate for U of I and for WWAMI.Jeff Seegmiller, director of WWAMI at U of I
“I’ve always felt that journalism was a calling. With IBE, it’s a supercharged calling,” he said. “This work is an opportunity to give back to the state that I love and do something that will set up the next generation for success.”
Gramer serves on several community boards, including the Frank Church Institute Board, the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights and U of I’s School of Journalism and Mass Media. He has chaired the Idaho WWAMI Advisory Board since 2016.
“My involvement with WWAMI is important personally and professionally,” he said. “Idaho is the most under-physician’ed state in the nation, and to me, it’s a public service to help get doctors educated here.”
Jeff Seegmiller, director of WWAMI at U of I, helped nominate Gramer for the honorary degree.
“As the Advisory Board chair, he has been instrumental in helping the University of Idaho strategically meet needs within our state and to better communicate the importance of our medical school,” Seegmiller said. “He has established himself as a highly valued Idaho citizen and is an exceptional advocate for U of I and for WWAMI.”
Byline: Article by Lindsay Lodis, WWAMI Medical Education Program at the University of Idaho
Photo Attribution: University of Idaho Creative Services
Published Date: June 2021