It is exciting to have our students return this week for the spring semester at our main campus and our centers across the state.
Snow welcomed many of them in true Idaho January fashion. Likewise, the winds of a new political season began with the governor’s State of the State address on Monday. It is notable that some of the governor’s key initiatives involve areas of University of Idaho leadership.
Governor Butch Otter’s address began with a focus on matters predating the state. As you know we’ve already celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act that made us the state’s land-grant university. Additionally, the governor noted that this spring will also mark the 150th anniversary of Idaho formally becoming a U.S. territory under another act signed by President Lincoln. One of the territory’s first major institutions was the University of Idaho, founded in 1889.
The governor also touched on efforts that speak to our core mission of educating students for the future. He recognized Vandal alumna Katie Pemberton of Canfield Middle School in Coeur d’Alene, who is Idaho’s 2013 Teacher of the Year. You might remember last year that I mentioned the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation’s $3 million grant to the University of Idaho (which the governor praised) to establish a technology learning and innovation center for teachers on the Moscow campus.
Importantly, Gov. Otter also made a case for adding five more seats for Idaho students in the WWAMI – Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho – Medical Education Program, directed for the state by our university. As you know, we currently have the same number of seats today as we did when the program was started in 1972, yet our state’s population has more than doubled since then. These additional seats will train more medical students to practice rural medicine -- an essential part of improving health-care access for Idaho’s citizens.
However, most of the governor’s words focused on a related but broader mission of promoting Idaho’s growth. In this context, Gov. Otter mentioned the promise of his IGEM -- Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission -- initiative that was approved in the last legislative session, and in which the University of Idaho is a key player.
This includes work in the UI LASR (the Laboratory for Applied Sciences Research) in the Coeur d’ Alene/Spokane knowledge corridor, of which we are a partner in the shared pursuit of preparing a future workforce to spur Idaho’s financial success. And the governor was particularly excited about the collective work of the state’s universities.
“I can tell you that never before have our research universities worked together more collaboratively or been more committed to finding common ground and mutual benefits with our business leaders,” he said.
The governor also touched on other research efforts of which we’re a major player. This includes the Center for Applied Energy Studies (CAES) that we collaboratively oversee for the state from our Idaho Falls Center. Related to CAES and the opportunities nuclear energy provides in our state is the work of the governor-created Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission, or LINE, of which I am a member. Work at CAES and LINE promise new business and research opportunities that benefit the entire state.
This has been a key part of our work in the state -- to move past regional interests and politics to provide the best for our students and our state.
As Idaho’s only statewide land-grant institution with significant investment of people and resources in every county, we take seriously our role in leading in these endeavors.
We’re not just the University of Idaho. We’re the University for Idaho - dedicated to inspiring futures for all of Idaho.
M. Duane Nellis
P.S. We’re in the final weeks of selecting students for the academic year that begins in Fall 2013. More than 100,000 alumni can attest that a University of Idaho degree is something special. Our national position, unique brand of hands-on education and quality faculty and programs offer a path for future success. If you know a potential student who belongs at your university, nominate them today by clicking here. Your nominees will ensure our legacy of leading continues far into our future.
The University of Idaho has appointed Paul Joyce as dean of the College of Science while John Foltz has been named interim dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Joyce, a professor of mathematics, statistics and bioinformatics, has served as interim dean of the College of Science since June 2012. Foltz has served since 2004 as associate dean and director of academic programs for the college and its 1,200 students. He has played an active role on the dean’s management team, helping to oversee CAL’s 360 employees statewide, 10 research and extension centers, and faculty in 42 of Idaho’s 44 counties.
Wilhites Share Their Blessings By Blessing Others Via A Scholarship Endowment. Claud ’65 and Diana ’67 Wilhite believe in the value of higher education. To recognize both the impact that a quality education made on their lives and their on-going association with the University of Idaho, the Wilhites have created a provision in their will to establish The Claud and Diana Wilhite Scholarship Endowment. This endowment will provide scholarships to deserving students in the Navy ROTC program at the University of Idaho, a program that Claud was involved in during his time at the University. “Diana and I are blessed to be in a position to assist deserving students of the Navy ROTC at the University of Idaho,” said Claud. “Because the Navy ROTC played a very important role in our lives, it is very rewarding to be able to help young men and women to succeed in achieving their educational goals as well as ensuring our country will have outstanding naval leaders. As we can attest, education plays a key role in an individual’s future and military training provides a solid foundation for the values that makes our country great.” A great university not only benefits our students, but it enriches the state, the nation and the world. For more information on planned giving opportunities, contact Robert Scholes at (208) 885-5371 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shane Honors His Wife While Inspiring Future 4-H Opportunities. William H. “Bill” Shane ’59, known by many for his generosity, has lived a life of service. Shane taught in various parts of the University of Idaho Extension system, actively participated in the local Shriner’s International Chapter, served as president of the University of Idaho Retirees Association in 2010 and served his country in the military. Shane is also a long-time football season ticket holder and generously gives annual support to the Vandal Scholarship Fund. He has chosen to continue his philanthropy by honoring his late wife, Ruth Johannesen Shane ’55 through the Inspiring Futures: Invest in the University of Idaho capital campaign. He’s committed to furthering the 4-H and home economics programs within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “Though not a 4-H’er as a youth, I came to realize the importance of the program through Ruth’s family’s involvement,” said Shane. “This later led to my career in the College of Ag and Life Science.” Shane’s gifts established the Ruth Johannesen Shane Memorial 4-H Scholarship Endowment and will also assist with the renovation of the foods lab in the Niccolls Building. A portion of the project will be named the Ruth Johannesen Learning Station in her honor. For more information on giving to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, contact Kim O’Neill at (425) 359-2411 or email@example.com.