October 24, 2014
Most mornings I start my day by walking through the main entrance to our
iconic Administration Building. On the north wall in the great arched
entryway is a small historical marker, one you may have seen yourself.
The inscription reads: “Erected by the Commonwealth of Idaho for the
training of her future citizens to their highest usefulness in private
life and public service.”
Those words represent the state’s commitment to a robust investment in
public education, as well as the university’s promise to students.
Student success is at the heart of our mission at the University of
Idaho. It is vital to future prosperity — for our students, for our
state and for our world.
The University of Idaho is working to meet the state’s goals for an
educated citizenry. The Idaho State Board of Education, our
institution’s Board of Regents, has established the Complete College Idaho
initiative, with a goal of 60 percent of state residents ages 25 to 34 having attained a degree or certificate by 2020.
For individuals, this goal is critical. We know how important a
well-paying job is to lifelong success. The average college graduate
earns $800,000 more
over a lifetime than an individual without a degree, according to a
study by the Federal Reserve. And while money still can’t buy you
happiness, a well-paying job is a major factor in how many self-report as “thriving.”
College graduates don’t just earn more — they are often happier, more engaged citizens.
Recently, the Social Mobility Index
released a list of higher education institutions that succeed in
helping disadvantaged citizens climb the economic ladder, measuring
affordability, the background of students, graduation rates and graduate
earnings. Our institution ranked No. 21 nationwide, joining
institutions such as the University of California-Berkeley and UCLA in
the top 25.
This semester, 36 percent of our students will be of the first
generation in their families to go to college. An affordable,
high-quality education means they are in a great position for a
rewarding career, an effort we will support to our utmost. Our
university is truly an engine for social mobility.
It is no secret that students graduate into an increasingly global
economy, where a highly skilled workforce is needed to propel innovation
and industry. More and better-paying jobs in technology, agriculture
and other growing sectors mean healthier communities and brighter
tomorrows for future generations.
The University of Idaho is doing its part to provide the workforce essential for our state — a talent pipeline
for industry, but also a prosperity pipeline for individuals, families and communities.
However — and you may spot this as a now-common refrain of mine — we can do more. We can be better.
To help achieve the state’s 60 percent goal, and to reach more students
with a transformative experience, we have to work hard. We must grow
enrollment. At 77 percent, our freshman retention rate is strong,
matching the national average for institutions like ours, but it can be
stronger. We must also continue aligning our curricula to the demands of
We will get there. The challenges are great, but so are the
opportunities. Daily, the graduates of the University of Idaho see
returns on the investment in their education. As an institution, we
strive to increase the state’s return on investment in its future, one
student at a time.
Here's the Latest News from the University of Idaho
New Leader for National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology
The University of Idaho College of Engineering announced Tuesday the selection of civil engineering professor Ahmed Abdel-Rahim
as the permanent director of the National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT)
. Abdel-Rahim has been serving as interim director since the spring and has been an active NIATT researcher since 2000.
“Ahmed brings a rare combination of excellent research credentials and
discerning leadership skills to the NIATT directorship,” said Jon Van
Gerpen, associate dean for research in the College of Engineering. “I
have been impressed with his problem-solving skills and willingness to
Abdel-Rahim’s research focuses on traffic operation and controls,
transportation systems, modeling, highway design and traffic safety,
and, most recently, security and survivability of transportation
Award-Winning UI Tree Nursery Featured for Forest Products Week
As part of Idaho Forest Products Week
festivities, the new Tom and Teita Reveley Nursery Facility
the University of Idaho Pitkin Nursery will be offering tours,
educational activities for school children and information about Idaho’s
forests and wood products from 3-6 p.m. today.
The open house event, co-sponsored by the College of Natural Resources
and the Idaho Forest Products Commission, is free and open to the
public. Kids' activities will take place from 3-4:30 p.m. Nursery tours
will begin at 3:30 p.m. and run every 30 minutes. Light appetizers will
be served and prize drawings will take place all afternoon.
Ritters Establish Engineering Scholarship Endowment
The College of Engineering is grateful to Susan and Jim Ritter ’68, ’71
for committing to provide perpetual support of students through the
establishment of the James H. Ritter Family Engineering Scholarship
Endowment. “This donation allows us to continue a strong relationship
with the University of Idaho, encourage the education of future
engineers, and provide an educational experience that is unique and
innovative,” said Jim, a 2014 inductee into the university’s Academy of
“These permanent funds allow our engineering students to have an
exceptional, well-rounded learning experience,” said Dean Larry
Stauffer. “Without financial aid, students are not always able to put in
that added energy and focus into their academics, or participate in
extracurricular activities and internships.”
Jim is the retired President, Chairman/CEO of Aviation Manufacturing
Group LLC and currently works with the Boise Angel Alliance to help fund
start-ups. For more information on giving to the College of Engineering
, contact Mary Lee Ryba at 208-755-4916 or email@example.com