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Randi McDermott, Vice President

Randi McDermott
Vice President for Campus Operations and
Chief Operating Officer

    • Campus Operation’s role in serving the common mission
    • Boise State history and governance
    • Leadership
    • How dogs make everything better

  • Email:
    Phone: (208) 426-1233
  • Randi McDermott has spent the last 25 years working in the public higher education sector in Idaho. She attended Boise State University and earned a bachelor of science in Political Science in 1993. She landed a position with the Idaho State Board of Education, where she started in grants administration, but quickly moved into government relations and policy. During those years, the Board’s oversight extended to all public education in Idaho, K-12, including serving as the governing board for all state colleges and universities plus Idaho Public Television, Professional-Technical Education, and Vocational Rehabilitation among others.  

    In 2003, after completing a master’s degree in public administration and staffing the search for a new president at Boise State, she accepted a position with the newly hired president Bob Kustra as Special Assistant. She became chief of staff in 2009, further expanding her role collaborating with the executive team in planning, organizing, guiding and executing the president’s initiatives. In 2018, Randi was appointed Vice President for Campus Operations and COO.

Fonda Portales, Office of the Chief Operating Officer, Allison Corona photo

Fonda Portales
University Art Curator and Collections Manager

    • Public Art on Campus
    • Temporary and Permanent Exhibitions at the Student Union Building
    • Curating Department Spaces with University Artworks
    • Incorporating Campus Art into Your Course Curriculum
    • The World Museum in August 2019
    • The Art of Making a Mixtape

  • Email:
    Phone: (208) 426-2541
  • Fonda Portales joined the Division of Campus Operations in 2016 to fill the newly created role of University Art Curator and Collections Manager. Prior to this position, she served as Adjunct Faculty in the Art Department for eight years, teaching survey and upper-division Art History. She continues to be a passionate educator and enjoys developing student engagement with the visual arts on campus.

    In her role as University Art Curator and Collections Manager, Fonda manages the University’s permanent visual art collection, curates Student Union Building gallery spaces, and directs public art commissions on campus. She also works across departments to co-create and curate content for the upcoming world museum in the new Fine Arts Building. As Chair of both the University Arts Advisory Committee and the Student Union Fine Arts Advisory Board, she works with faculty, researchers, students, and community leaders to seek out and approve new acquisitions and exhibitions, and write policy regarding visual arts culture on campus.

    Prior to joining the university, Fonda worked as the Director of Development and Public Education at the ACLU of Idaho, a Marketing and Development Associate with the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs, and a Resident Artist at the archaeological site of Urkesh, in Mozan, Syria, where she established an on-site museum of artifacts.

    Fonda earned a bachelor’s degree in English Education from Northwest Nazarene College, in Nampa, Idaho, and master’s degree in Art History from California State University, Los Angeles. Her academic focus is on the transcultural iconography of Mesoamerican and Spanish influence. Her drawings of Aztec and colonial works can be found in the Oxford University Press Handbook to Life in the Aztec World.

Emily Burns 

Emily Burns
Executive Assistant

    • Meeting with Randi
    • Organizational charts
    • Calendar choreography
    • New restaurants to try

  • Email:
    Phone: (208) 426-1233
  • Emily has been at Boise State for five years. She worked in the President’s office assisting Randi McDermott, Bruce Newcomb, and Roger Brown for four years and was interim assistant to President Kustra for his last several months. Before that, she began her time at Boise State in the Office of General Counsel. Additionally, she completed her master’s degree in public administration at Boise State, December 2017.

    Prior to moving to Boise, she worked as Administrator for a non-profit legal aid firm, Pisgah Legal Services, in Asheville, North Carolina. There she also worked for five years in property management. Also during her time in Asheville, she helped found an all-female sketch comedy group, LYLAS, with which she wrote and performed SNL-like sketches poking fun at local issues and dating rituals.

    She was born in Ohio, grew up mostly in Chapel Hill, NC, received her bachelor’s degree in Theatre and English from Trinity College in Hartford, CT and lived in Asheville, NC for twelve years before she and her husband moved to Boise to be near his family. They love traveling and trying new restaurants. She is excited to continue working with Randi and to learn the many facets of Campus Operations.