President's Office

Administration Building
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875 Perimeter Drive MS 3151
Moscow, ID 83844-3151
Phone: (208) 885-6365

The Friday Letter

April 27, 2012

Dear Friends,

          We are on the cusp of two great University celebrations.

          The first celebration we do twice a year – commencement. As is custom, we hold commencements at our Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls and Moscow campuses. There is no more exciting time during the academic year than commencement. Seeing the next generation of business, public sector, and community leaders take a critical step in their lives is truly inspirational.

          And, speaking of Inspiring, the second celebration is the public launching of our comprehensive, university-wide capital campaign, Inspiring Futures: Invest in the University of Idaho. I’ve mentioned this campaign recently, but tomorrow is the official public kickoff and celebration of the largest capital campaign for higher education in the state’s history -- $225 million.

          Both of these celebrations embody commitment, dedication, and the promise of greater things ahead. Both involve building today as a way of investing in the future. Both are community efforts that involve faculty, staff, students, family, and friends. Both require years of preparation.

          I’ll share more about commencement in the coming weeks, but today I’d like to share more about the capital campaign. The Inspiring Futures: Investing in the University of Idaho campaign is a very straightforward way of linking visionaries with visions here at our University.

          We know that there is so much that should be done – could be done – that cannot be covered by shrinking government funds. Donors who support fundraising campaigns like ours provide a critical “margin of excellence” that when combined with state funds, tuition funds and other sources of funding can powerfully move an institution forward. I cannot overstate the importance of these private investment and we’ll be seeking funds along four cornerstone areas.

          First and foremost is Catalyzing Student Success. We have many outstanding and deserving students who come from challenging circumstances. More than 1/3 of our students are the first from their families to ever to attend college. Likewise, even with our low costs, the economy can make tuition a challenge. That’s why nearly 84 percent of our students receive some form of financial assistance, including merit and need scholarships as well as loan assistance. For that reason, we are seeking to raise $54 million to catalyze student success and extend our ability to attract top undergraduate and graduate students while also reaching underrepresented populations.

          Further, we seek the financial capital necessary to move us forward as a leading, land-grant, research university in three other cornerstone areas:

  • Leading Innovation and Discovery - $63 Million: Will help attract and maintain outstanding faculty and staff that are the heart of the university. A great university is reflected in the quality of its faculty and staff and we must build our endowed fellowships, professorship, and chairs in order to be competitive nationally.

  • Building a World-Class Learning Environment - $62 Million: Will add or refurbish much needed facilities to extend our ability to educate, research, and reach out to help others. I’m very excited about the prospect of building the Integrated Research and Innovation Center with seed money from the campaign. This state-of-the-art building will house the best researchers working collaboratively on complex issues facing our world.

  • Distinction and Impact through Enterprise Partnerships - $46 Million: Will bolster existing programs and add new ones that build on our University’s strengths and relationships. Our statewide impact is a reflection of our mission, but we can best fulfill that mission by partnering with business, government and communities.

          Inspiring Futures: Invest in the University of Idaho will change the face of the University forever. That’s why we’ve committed to the capital campaign as a community. And, we need your help.

          Now is the chance to make dreams a reality -- together. You can join play an important role in this campaign in a variety of ways. Visit us tomorrow online at our exciting new website.

          In addition to gifts, we’re looking for University of Idaho ambassadors and advocates who can share campaign details with classmates and colleagues and who can talk with pride about the many, lasting contributions made by our university to the state and the world.

          Thank you for all you do and for ensuring an even brighter future for Idaho’s leading university – YOUR University of Idaho.


M. Duane Nellis

Here's the latest news from the University of Idaho

University Professor/Student Team Presents NASA Space Colonization Research. The University of Idaho, in coordination with NASA, is hosting a panel on the research it has done on alternative energy storage capability and how it can be used on Earth and in future space colonization Wednesday, May 2 in Moscow. Joe Law, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and a team of four student interns will discuss high-speed flywheel designs that could provide safe, reliable and convenient energy storage for intermittent energy generation technologies, such as solar and wind. Law, with the guidance of NASA Glenn Research Center Technical Monitor Ray Beach, began the second phase of his research last September. Flywheel energy storage works by accelerating a rotor, or flywheel, to a very high speed and maintaining the energy in the system as rotational energy. The panel will discuss its advancements in flywheel technology, the future of the project, partnerships created through the grant at the university and the potential terrestrial applications of the research. Interns finishing their senior design project also will present on their contributions to the project. The University of Idaho is one of five universities nationwide awarded $250,000 through NASA’s Ralph Steckler Space Grant Colonization Research and Technology Development Opportunity Phase II. Grant money is being used for research and technology development activities that support a sustained human presence in space, increase understanding of the moon’s environment and develop basic infrastructure for future space colonies.

Boise Graduation May 2: Oppenheimer To Speak. The academic year is almost over and that means commencement time at the University of Idaho Boise, which includes Twin Falls. Graduates from the Boise location will receive 136 degrees: 78 master’s degrees, 26 law degrees, 13 doctoral degrees, 12 specialist degrees and seven baccalaureate degrees. In Twin Falls, where the university offers classes at the College of Southern Idaho campus, candidates have applied for a total of 19 degrees: 12 baccalaureate degrees, six master’s degrees and one specialist degree. The Boise commencement ceremony will take place Wednesday, May 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the Boise Centre, 850 W. Front S. in downtown Boise. The commencement speaker will be Arthur F. (Skip) Oppenheimer. A native of Boise, Oppenheimer went to the University of Idaho and graduated in 1968 with a B.A. in history. He also earned a Degree Elementaire from the University of Paris in 1967 and an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1972. He is currently Chairman/CEO of Oppenheimer Companies, Inc., a national food processing, sales, marketing/distribution organization, and President of Oppenheimer Development Corporation, a commercial real estate company that developed a number of buildings in Boise, among them One Capital Center and Wells Fargo Center. The University of Idaho - Boise will also present the President’s Medallion to Mark Hofflund, managing director of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. Statewide this spring, five commencement ceremonies will celebrate the accomplishment of 1,628 University of Idaho students who are eligible to graduate, earning a combined 1,705 degrees. This year’s commencement brings the university’s all time totals to 104,797 graduates and 112,486 degrees.

Allens And Stoddards Lead In Giving And In Service. The Inspiring Futures: Invest in the University of Idaho capital campaign is being lead by national co-chairs and alumni Richard W. ’73 and Sharon L. ’73 HON ’04 Allen, and Jeffry L. ’75 ’76 and Kristine A. ’75 Stoddard. Through their commitment of time, treasure, and boundless enthusiasm and generosity, the Stoddards and the Allens are an inspiring example to many alumni and friends of the University, said President M. Duane Nellis. Both the Stoddards and the Allens are longtime supporters of the University, including significant support to remodel the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center. The Stoddards have also established a Distinguished Research Scholar Endowment to attract and retain top-notch faculty in the College of Business and Economics. The Allens have contributed to scholarships and program excellence in the College of Business and Economics as well as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. They’ve also given to the Athletics Department and are leading conversations on campus regarding the importance of ethics and ethical decision-making in business today. “I appreciate their friendship, their counsel and their deep commitment to our university,” Nellis said. “They exemplify that unique Vandal spirit and the generosity of the Vandal family.” For more information about the Inspiring Futures campaign, visit

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