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 9, 2012

Dear Friends,

"The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example." ~Benjamin Disraeli

November brings many opportunities to remember the legacies entrusted to us.

Today we honor veterans – living and fallen – in Veteran’s Day ceremonies that include a wreath laying ceremony in Memorial Gym at 11:11 a.m. followed by a Fallen Comrade remembrance.

These shared events bring us together to recognize those individuals who have served in the United States Armed Forces; and I want to specifically recognize those from our own University community -- our students, faculty and staff -- who have served or are now serving our nation. I’m proud, in particular, that our students who answer the call of duty carry out our legacy of leadership and citizenship to a remarkable degree.

Our University also is committed to honoring the service of members of the military through the power that education has to transform lives. We created our Operation Education Scholarship Program for those veterans who have been seriously injured in service since 9/11. This program is distinctive for its flexibility to provide educational support individually tailored to the educational needs of a permanently disabled veteran and/or spouse. It’s also a program that we’ve been helping other colleges start on their campuses.

We also continue to invest in other legacies, which add to our understanding and the rich tapestry of our nation. For example, this week the Native American Student Center and the American Indian Studies Program presented "According to Coyote: Traditional Nez Perce Stories" that honored the history of one of the important Native peoples of this area.

We recognized individuals as well this week such as Carol Grupp who was honored as an Idaho Treasure by the University of Idaho Retirees’ Association. This award recognizes living, retired U-Idaho faculty, staff or family members who in their retirement years have made significant achievements in leadership to the university. Carol is a stalwart former U-Idaho employee who retired after 25 years of service and then began serving the retirees and the broader university community.

These are just a few of the many examples from this week and this month, but they underscore one of the many reasons why I’m so honored to be investing myself in our university, which has benefited generations past and will do the same for generations to come.

Vandals have always answered the call to lead in the military, Foreign Service, charitable organizations, businesses, the arts and more. Often, wearing more than one mantle. This is the legacy of leading personified and applied practically to the demands of life.

Here’s to you Vandals! Thank you for creating the legacy of a great institution and a great inheritance to share with those preparing to leave their marks.

May you all be seen as heroes by those in whom you invest and protect.


M. Duane Nellis

Vandals In Afghanistan Share Common Source Of Success. Alumni Steve Schmidt (’99 and ’01) and Kevin Sirucek (Sirucek ’06) serve in the same battalion years after graduation. Alums Steve Schmidt and Kevin Sirucek both attended University of Idaho, but graduated at different times but, both found themselves as company commanders in the same aviation battalion in Afghanistan. Each credit their success to the education they received here.

Sirucek, originally from Shelby, Montana, graduated in general studies with minors in German and history. “My degree has been the key to my success in personal and professional growth . . . the study of history has made me a better person…” he said. “From a cultural history perspective, I understand that at the end of the day, all cultures have some basic things in common that we can all use to find some common ground. Pride in a cause, or the desire for respect, or as simple as a hope to improve themselves or their family’s welfare motivates most people—and if I can identify with an individual or a group of people on some basic level, I have a chance at discussing any problem with the intent of resolution.”

“A degree from the University of Idaho didn’t only give me an education; I feel like I gained a community and a family that I still speak with to this day,” he added.

Major Steve Schmidt, Sirucek’s fellow company commander, is another member of that Idaho community. Originally from Lewiston, Idaho, Schmidt earned both a B.S. and an M.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences. “My journey from a UI graduate to where I am now has been incredible. When I graduated in 2001, you could have never convinced me I would be where I am today,” said Schmidt. “Being a Vandal is one thing that I will always be proud of.” See more.

U-Idaho Welcomes New Faculty -- Engineering. The university welcomed 47 new faculty members this year. Hasan Jamil (B.Sc., 1982, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh; M.Sc., 1984; Ph.D., 1996, Concordia University, Canada.) joined the university as an associate professor of computer science. Jamil came from Wayne State University in Michigan, where he had served as a professor since 2003.

Nominate A Future Vandal. 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, quality faculty and programs, offer a path for future success. If you know a potential student who would make a great Vandal, click here to continue the legacy of leading by nominating them today.

Annual Lecture Series Created To Honor Retiring Senator Denton Darrington. The College of Law is collaborating with the Idaho Supreme Court and the Idaho State Bar and Law Foundation to create the Denton Darrington Annual Lecture on Law and Government. The annual lecture series will feature national, regional and state speakers on a wide range of topics in the administration of justice of interest to public officials, students and faculty and the general public. The inaugural lecture will be held at the Idaho Supreme Court building in 2013 and subsequent lectures are expected to be held at the planned Idaho Law Learning Center. The College of Law has received a generous contribution from the Idaho Judiciary to initiate this lecture series and will seek additional support for the lecture fund. Darrington is the longest-serving senator in Idaho history and was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 23 years. This lecture series is designed to honor and recognize Senator Darrington’s service to the state of Idaho and his work on behalf of the Idaho Judiciary. For more information on giving to the College of Law, contact Terri Muse, director of development, at (208) 364-4044 or