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

November 16, 2012

Dear Friends,

I’m thankful for many things.

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving nationally, it’s common to think of these things -- family, friends, opportunities and more.

There are so many great Vandals and friends for whom I’m thankful. I’ve shared with you stories about many of them: faculty, staff, donors, students and the many partners who are part of the university community and who make this university a special place.

However, there’s one large cross-section of our staff who are unsung heroes, working tirelessly behind the scenes. They’re the ones who ensure things work even when most people have left for the day from our more than 70 facilities across the state. We have very special people who invest year round in making things look good and work well.

Hundreds of full-time, part-time and seasonal employees work as groundskeepers, cleaning specialists, heating/cooling technicians, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, animal caretakers, research technicians, information technology specialists, and in other specialties. The main campus requires constant care given that we live and work in some of the oldest buildings in Idaho.

We also have gems like the arboretum and the landscape design of the central campus that reflect the historic designs of the world-class Olmsted Brothers, who designed New York City’s Central Park and the grounds of the Washington State Capital. However, it’s those who carefully groom and care for these grounds and maintain the associated infrastructure who ensure these gems are tended for the enjoyment of the people who are part of the university and the great State of Idaho.

In addition to the constant need for “normal” maintenance, unexpected challenges arise too. After last summer’s Naval ROTC Science Building succumbed to fire, a cross-disciplinary team sprang into action. Interior design technicians, steam plant specialists, electricians, a plumber, an IT specialist, an access coordinator, and a hazardous material abatement coordinator refurbished 4,000 square feet of office and classroom space to house the displaced Navy ROTC program in just five weeks.

To all of you who work around the clock to make this university great, thank you! You are an invaluable part of the Vandal family.

And thank you, Vandals, for your support. I hope you all will enjoy a gratifying Thanksgiving season.


M. Duane Nellis

U-Idaho Outdoor Rec Program Named National Best. The Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education awarded the U-Idaho Outdoor Program its David J. Webb Program Excellence Award at the 2012 the annual conference of in Snowbird, Utah, held Nov. 8-10. The award honors one outstanding non-profit outdoor program each year that demonstrates the highest degree of innovation, customer service, and professionalism while also benefiting the programs of other organizations. The U-Idaho program serves the university community through more than 350 programs and events each year with nearly 13,000 participating in 2011. It began in 1973 thanks to Jim Rennie who continued to grow the program until his death in 1995. Mike Beiser began working with the program in 1983 and followed Rennie as program director. Beiser and the program’s other two professional staff, Steve Mims and Trevor Fulton were recognized at the conference.

Longtime U-Idaho Music Professor Receives National Teaching Award. After dedicating nearly 35 years to teaching and inspiring generations of music students, the University of Idaho’s Dan Bukvich is receiving the 2012 U.S. Professor of the Year Award in the state of Idaho. “Winning this award is humbling. Whenever people win these awards, it means a lot of people behind the scenes did a lot of work. So I’m very appreciative of what I’m sure was volumes of work,” said Bukvich. Sponsored by CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the U.S. Professors of the Year program salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country. Criteria include excelling in teaching and positively influencing the lives and careers of students. See more.

U-Idaho Welcomes New Faculty – Art And Architecture. The university welcomed 47 new faculty members this year. Three joined the College of Art and Architecture faculty. Val Carter (B.F.A., 1994, University of Idaho; M.F.A., 1997, University of Arizona) moves from teaching part-time here to teaching full-time as a senior instructor and studio shop technician. Rachel Fujita (B.A., 2004, Fordham University; M.F.A., 2007, School of Visual Arts) joins the college as an assistant professor of art and design after service as a lead instructor at the Art Institute of Cincinnati and an instructor at the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. Stephen Guynup (B.S., 1992 Rochester Institute of Technology; M.S., 2003, Georgia Institute of Technology; D.C.D., 2010, University of Baltimore) joins the college’s Virtual Technology and Design Program as a Clinical Assistant Professor. He comes to the University of Idaho from the University of Baltimore.

Long-time Professor Gives Back. Giving to the University of Idaho comes in many different forms. Donors give time, money, experience and sometimes even cherished items. Earlier this year, the Lionel Hampton School of Music in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences needed to replace some well-used pianos. Hearing of this need, Christine Moffitt, a professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife in the College of Natural Resources, decided to donate a beloved Steinway grand piano that had belonged to her mother. “Music and the arts have nurtured my soul throughout my life,” she said. “This piano was the cherished possession of my mother, a fine pianist for whom music was a life thread. It is fitting that this instrument be enjoyed by the faculty of the Lionel Hampton School of Music." In addition to this recent gift, Moffitt has given generously of her time and money to the Idaho Repertory Theatre and to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. Moffitt's willingness to support interdisciplinary programs at the University of Idaho speaks not only to her generosity but also the collaborative environment for faculty and staff at the University. For more information about giving to the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, contact Laura Preece at (208) 885-5013 or

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