President's Office

Administration Building
Room 105
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3151
Moscow, ID 83844-3151
Phone: (208) 885-6365

Friday Letter Office of the President

April 19, 2013

Dear Friends,

Increasingly universities must provide high quality education for their students while searching for new funding sources.

We’ve been working hard to reduce costs, capture new research grants, promote technology transfer, grow enrollment, and recruit donors to keep the university moving forward. We’ve made progress in each category, but the reality is that since fiscal year 2001 state support for the University has decreased nearly 67 percent in actual dollars. In this same time period, there has also been a 50 percent decrease in state endowment funds. Inflation, unfunded state obligations, and other factors have added to the funding challenge.

We must ensure our students have access to quality higher education, but they are also a source of educational funding. That means we need to be thoughtful when we ask for an increase in student tuition and fees. We don't want to shut the door on students who face financial challenges or that come from under-served populations, such as the more than 30 percent of our student body who are first generation college students.

How do we balance these realities? First, we make sure we remain one of the best educational institutions in the United States in both quality and costs, as recognized by Forbes magazine. In fact, we rank among the lowest in in-state tuition among our 50 national peers. Only Utah State University and the University of Wyoming charge lower tuition and fees. With Idaho’s median household income being higher than that of 21 other states, we’re clearly providing great value.

Secondly, we continuously work to become more efficient. Since fiscal year 2001, we’ve cut costs and increased effectiveness resulting in a 20 percent net gain in institutional efficiency.

Finally, we re-worked our financial aid formula to ensure we don’t exclude the neediest students and are also asking students who are able to, to pay just a little more. The 5 percent increase in tuition and fees for full-time, in-state students approved yesterday by our State Board of Regents will cost our in-state students about $300 more in the coming academic year.

I’d like to express my thanks to the Board for its confidence and support. We also appreciate the new investments in our university the Idaho legislature made in the session that just ended a few weeks ago. Together, these public investments help the university continue to provide a nationally recognized, high-quality education for all students looking to be a part of our long legacy of leading.

On the private investment side, our Inspiring Futures capital campaign is a powerful example of our bold belief that the University of Idaho must and can lead the way for our students, our state, and our nation. We continue to make progress towards our $225 million capital campaign goal. These private funds significantly advance our university in ways that government funding alone cannot.

I’m enormously proud of our commitment to serving students. The impact we have on them and the impact they in turn have on their professions and communities is inspiring and at the heart of our future as a country.

With your help we will continue to inspire futures!


M. Duane Nellis

First University Doctorate Recipients, Harry Bettis To Be Honored. The University of Idaho will present an honorary degree and recognize pioneers doctoral studies at the University of Idaho at spring commencement in Moscow on May 11.

Harry Bettis will receive an honorary doctorate of administrative science degree recognizing his lifelong support of the University of Idaho and the state of Idaho. He is one of the state’s most distinctive and generous citizens. He is a fourth-generation Idahoan who with significant interests in cattle, banking and oil.

The first seven students to earn doctorates through the University of Idaho will also be recognized. This includes Florence Aller who earned the first education doctorate in 1962. John A. Morford received the second in 1963. The first five PhDs were also awarded in 1963 to the following students: Newman H. Fisher (mathematics), Daniel E. George (chemistry), Bruce D. Gesner (chemistry), Richard A. Hermens (chemistry) and Dean E. Metter (zoology). Read more.

Two Alumni Named To Hall Of Fame. The University of Idaho Alumni Association recently announced its 2013 Alumni Hall of Fame inductees who will be recognized May 9-11, the weekend of spring commencement in Moscow. Honorees are Matthew J. “Matt” Espe ’80 of Newtown Square, Penn., who earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing in the College of Business and Economics, and John Rosholt ’59 ’64 of Twin Falls, Idaho, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences followed by a law degree from U-Idaho’s College of Law. Espe currently leads Armstrong World Industries and previously led Ricoh Americas. Rosholt is a founding partner in the Twin Falls and Boise firm of Barker Rosholt & Simpson LLP. Read more.

Endowed Chair in Power: Building a World-Class Power Engineering Program. POWER Engineers - an international leader in power delivery specializing in energy, facilities and communications - has pledged $200,000 to the Endowed Chair in Power Engineering in the University of Idaho’s College of Engineering. This builds on the company’s $500,000 gift in 2009, which established U-Idaho’s POWER Center for Power Engineering Excellence. “With POWER Engineer’s partnership, we are working together to help build the student pipeline and enhance power engineering education,” said Larry Stauffer, dean of the College of Engineering. “We are able to focus on research challenges related to national objectives and educate undergraduate and graduate students with the skills and knowledge needed by today’s industry.”

POWER Engineers, Idaho’s largest engineering firm, is consistently ranked in the top 100 largest engineering firms nationwide and is headquartered in Hailey. Bill Eisinger ’75, executive vice president at POWER, sponsored the donation within the company. He continues to give back to Idaho through personal support, encouraging investment by industry and serving on the College of Engineering Advisory Board. Joining Eisinger at POWER are more than 100 University of Idaho alumni.

For information on giving to the College of Engineering, contact Mary Lee Ryba at (208) 885-6774 or or Nat Reynolds at (208) 724-0643 at