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

January 18, 2013

Dear Friends,

It’s been said that: “Behind every brilliant performance were countless hours of practice and preparation.” I believe this is true of people and of institutions.

You can see it in our recent graduates as well as your university as a whole.

Jessica Aldecoa came from the Boise Valley to study engineering and found success waiting for her in the aerospace industry after her graduation in 2012. Her investment in preparation took her beyond her expectations.

Shawn Tiegs also found this to be true as he worked towards the completion of a master’s degree in December as a Wright Fellow. Already known as an outstanding teacher, this investment has benefited him, his students, and other teachers.

“It would be impossible to participate in the Wright Fellowship program and not improve yourself as a teacher and a human being,” he told an interviewer. “It was a great experience, great professors, great peers and a great school!”

In addition to benefiting his current students, Shawn is now mentoring a former student turned U-Idaho student teacher.

Maria Vanegas graduated in December debt free with a degree in accounting and the knowledge that anything is possible. She began work as a farm laborer at the age of seven and had little hope of an education. However, being granted a visa in 2004 opened the door to opportunity. Moving to Meridian, Idaho, she quickly learned English and excelled academically. She continued that pattern in college while working three jobs during the school year and two in the summer to earn her degree in five years.

Maria is one of the many success stories among our first-generation college students, who comprise nearly one-third of our student body. She also recognizes the value of this experience: “I recently have been thinking about how amazing life is,” she said. “I am just so happy I got this opportunity.”

Next week, I’ll be in Boise to make a case for funding more of these success stories.

I’ll be speaking to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Wednesday at 8 a.m. Mountain Time. You can view the presentation live here. John Foltz, interim dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences will follow me with a presentation on the Agricultural Research and Extension Service program.

For nearly 125 years, it’s been our mission to invest in the future by preparing our students today. I think the demands of the 21st century require we continue to invest for the future; however, this is a vision not everyone shares.

I encourage you to join with me in sharing our message with the leaders and legislators of our state during this legislative session.

Together, we will shape Idaho's future.


M. Duane Nellis


P.S. The priority admissions and scholarship application deadline for new students is February 15. 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 -- the University of Idaho -- nominate them today. Your nominees will ensure our legacy of leading continues far into our future.

Idaho Geological Survey and U-Idaho Explore for Geothermal Energy. In an effort to provide the most accurate assessment of high-temperature geothermal energy potential in the region, the Idaho Geological Survey recently drilled new wells near Soda Springs in southeastern Idaho. “These new thermal gradient wells will provide the first accurate picture of the heat flow regime beneath this important volcanic province,” said project leader John Welhan, University of Idaho faculty member and Idaho Geological Survey research geologist.The wells allow researchers to precisely measure heat coming out of the Earth, which will help them better understand Idaho’s geologic framework, in addition to offering insight into the region’s geothermal energy potential.

Permanent Building Fund Approves Request for Historic Ada County Courthouse. The Permanent Building Fund Advisory Council recently approved legislative appropriation requests that include $1.5 million for continued renovation of the old Ada County Courthouse on the Capitol Mall in Boise. The old courthouse, which served as a hall of justice for eight decades, is undergoing phased renovation in preparation for planned use as the permanent home of the Idaho State Law Library and as an educational center for College of Law classes, continuing judicial education programs, and law-related civics education for the public. These synergistic uses will provide a new life for the historic building, and an efficient return on the investment of public resources.

Business Alumni Highlight Importance Of Quality Faculty.David ’87 and Heidi Butler made the first major gift to kick start the Mario G. Reyes Faculty Fellowship for Excellence in honor of the new dean for the College of Business and Economics. “I fondly remember my time on campus,” said David “The faculty, including Dr. Reyes, were an important part of my college experience.” Dean Reyes told us “faculty fellowships are an important part of the Inspiring Futures campaign for our college in order to recognize the efforts of our current faculty for teaching and research excellence plus recruiting talented new faculty.” Bryan ’79 and Susan Norby also contributed to the endowment as did new University of Idaho Foundation board member, Bill Kearns ’81. The three CBE alums have added a total of $60,000 to the new faculty endowment, directly impacting the quality education delivered to business students. “I gained so much from my experience at the U of I and the college,” said Kearns. “I am excited about how the college is improving and excited to give back.” For more information about giving to the College of Business and Economics, contact Toni Broyles at or (208) 885-2634.

Ronald F. Baldus ’74,’75, ’79 and Michael Myers ’88, ‘89 recently attended a dinner and reception on campus in recognition of Lou Edwards, an emeritus professor, who retired last spring after 50 years of inspiring the futures of students. To recognize Lou’s commitment of excellence in teaching and his positive role in guiding and encouraging students, the Baldus and Myers each contributed to the $3 million Lou Edwards Endowed Chair Campaign. Baldus is the president of the Capstone Technology Corporation and Mike is the company’s chief financial officer. The company currently employs many U-Idaho engineers for its custom computer programming services. “The Lou Edwards Endowed Chair will provide funds to help attract and retain exceptional faculty and provide an educational experience that transcends the classroom,” said Larry Stauffer, dean of the College of Engineering. With these gifts, Ron and Mike join a growing group of very loyal Vandals dedicated to this effort with the aim of positively impacting not only future engineers but also the state and the nation. For more information on the endowed chair or to support the College of Engineering, contact Mary Lee Ryba at (208) 755-4916 or or Nat Reynolds at (208) 724-0623 or