Seattle Philanthropists Create Endowed Chair and More at U-Idaho

Friday, February 1 2013

MOSCOW, Idaho – A Seattle couple has donated $3.3 million to the University of Idaho to benefit faculty, students and facilities. The gift, from husband and wife Tom Alberg and Judi Beck, will establish the university’s first fully funded endowed chair, a pair of graduate student fellowships, establish a separate faculty excellence fund and pay for costs associated with the construction of a new classroom building at the university’s Franklin H. Pitkin Forest Nursery in Moscow.

“This generous gift from Tom and Judi is a landmark moment for the University of Idaho,” said President M. Duane Nellis. “Their philanthropic kindness and engagement in our continued vision as a national research university is inspiring.”

The recipient of the new Tom Alberg and Judith Beck Chair is professor Anthony S. Davis in the College of Natural Resources. Davis directs the college’s Center for Forest Nursery and Seedling Research in Moscow. He is a professor of native plant regeneration and silviculture in CNR’s department of forest, rangeland and fire sciences.

“Having a named endowed chair allows the university to attract and retain the finest faculty members to our university and programs,” said Nellis. “Anthony S. Davis is a leader in his field and a leading faculty member in his department and the college.”

The donors said one reason they chose to give to the university is because they appreciate the quality education their son, now a senior, has received at the University of Idaho.

Here’s the breakdown of how their gift will be distributed:

• $2 million will fund the endowed chair in perpetuity

• $1 million will fund two, new graduate fellowships for a ten-year period: Each fellow will spend one year in residency at the Oxbow Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment, a nursery in Carnation, Wash. and a second year of residency on campus. Funding will also support research expenditures, faculty advising and travel

• $225,000 will cover costs associated with constructing a new classroom building at the Franklin H. Pitkin Forest Nursery to support research, teaching and nursery operations

• $100,000 will create an endowed faculty excellence fund in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

In addition, the Oxbow Graduate Fellowships will enable the college to attract top-tier graduate students whose education will include first hand knowledge of the commercial side of their profession, said Kurt Pregitzer, dean of CNR.

Chris Murray, vice president of University Advancement, said the couple’s generous gift brings total contributions to the Inspiring Futures: Invest in the University of Idaho campaign to nearly $180 million. The campaign aims to bring in $225 million by the end of 2014, the 125th Anniversary of the university’s founding.

For more information on the Inspiring Futures: Invest in the University of Idaho, visit

For more information on the Center for Forest Nursery and Seedling Research, visit
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About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho inspires students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Through the university’s $225 million Inspiring Futures capital campaign, private giving will enhance student learning, faculty research and innovation, and a spirit of enterprise. Learn more: