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 12, 2013

Dear Friends,

It’s been a busy week meeting great alums in Boston and New York. It also included a fantastic performance Jay and Sandy Mauchley – the Mauchley Duo – at the Lincoln Center. These international Steinway Artists and University of Idaho professors emeriti shared their talent with a house that included many appreciative Vandal alumni and friends.

Next week, I’ll be back in Moscow where we will recognize many more of our gifted faculty and staff with annual awards. We’ll also hold the grand opening of our Confucius Institute.

Though there’s not room enough to share all of the honoree’s names in this letter, I do want to congratulate them all. These fine men and women, and those they work with, are the heart and hands of our fine university. They deserve thanks from all of us.

One step we’ve made in recognizing outstanding individuals is the addition of two excellence awards -- the University Distinguished Professor rank and the Presidential Mid-Career Awards. The UDP rank is conferred upon faculty members who have national or international recognition and have brought distinction to the university through their teaching, research, and outreach activities. The mid-career awards recognize gifted faculty who early in their career have shown the potential to be of UDP stature in the future.

I’m proud to announce that on Monday we’ll name our third class of University Distinguished Professors: Sanford Eigenbrode and Larry Forney. Sanford is an outstanding teacher and respected adviser with an international reputation as an entomologist. He’s written and lectured extensively, and has captured more than $26 million in competitive research grants. This includes the largest single grant in the university’s history.

Larry is also a world-renowned scientist and scholar whose expertise in microbial ecology has provided answers to a wide range of human health issues. He’s also a prolific writer and diligent teacher, who'd had significant success in gaining competitive research funding. He’s known for helping to grow the U-Idaho Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies into an interdisciplinary research center that benefits many. He’s also been named a fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology.

Likewise my congratulations go to our second class of Mid-career Award honorees: Kenneth Cain, Stacey Camp, Barbara Cosens, Elizabeth Fortunato, Brian Johnson, Alexander Karasev, Allen Kitchel, Sanjay Sisodiya and Nancy Sprague. Their expertise spans many disciplines and includes exceptional teaching, extensive writing, and millions in research funding and business savings.

Another major event on Monday will be the official opening of a Confucius Institute on the Moscow campus. This center will provide culture, language, and history programs in partnership with the Chinese government. We’re told this will be the last one funded anywhere on the globe. We see this program as a way to extend our abilities to prepare our students to engage in a globalized world, especially in the Pacific Rim.

Our faculty and staff make a difference. It’s our investments in them that open the way for even greater gains with our students, our research, and our outreach. That’s why we’re committed to retaining our best and brightest through awards, opportunities, and special programs like endowed chairs. I encourage you to take a look at our efforts in the Inspiring Futures Campaign.


M. Duane Nellis

Geologists Help with Earthquake Hazard Preparedness in Blaine County. Geologists from the Idaho Geological Survey at the University of Idaho are working this month to identify areas in Blaine County that would be most affected in the event of a damaging earthquake. The results of the survey will inform county leaders and residents how to better prepare for seismic hazards. “Scientists from Idaho State University recently discovered new evidence for an active fault in the Sawtooth Range less than 30 miles from Ketchum,” said William Phillips, IGS research geologist. “This fault could potentially produce earthquakes large enough to strongly shake the Sun Valley area. Our work is designed to identify areas in the Wood River Valley which are susceptible to amplification of shaking or ground liquefaction during an earthquake.” Read more.

New Version Of Idaho Waters Digital Library Increases Resources, Search Options. The U-Idaho Library’s Digital Initiatives department is pleased to announce the release of the new and improved Idaho Waters Digital Library. The Idaho Waters Digital Library provides access to information about water issues in key Idaho river basins with particular emphasis on the Coeur d’Alene and Boise Basins. The collection presently emphasizes Idaho Water Resources Research Institute reports and publications from 1958 to 2012. Read more.

Vandal Alum Never Misses A Chance To Support Vandal Athletics. For Thomas M. ’58 and Alice Hennessey, 2013 marks 30 consecutive years of supporting the University of Idaho Athletics. Tom, a retired businessman and cattleman, appreciates the role Vandal athletics has played in his family’s life. Not only did his son, Thomas Nelson Hennessey ’87, play football for the Vandals, but so have two of his grandsons, Jake and Thomas Blaine Hennessey. Their affinity for the football program led Tom and Alice to support the Quarterback Club since its inception in 2006. This helps provide summer session educational opportunities for student-athletes participating in football. The Hennesseys have also supported many other athletic priorities, including the Vandal Scholarship Fund, the Kibbie Dome Renovation and Expansion and the Vandal Athletic Center. In addition to their financial contributions, which span six decades, the Hennesseys have volunteered countless hours to the Ada County Vandal Boosters, including Tom’s on-going role as the auctioneer for the annual VSF Gala. To learn how to join the Hennesseys in supporting Vandal Athletics, contact Joe Church at (208) 334-2087 or