President's Office

Administration Building
Room 105
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3151
Moscow, ID 83844-3151
Phone: (208) 885-6365

The Friday Letter

April 6, 2012

Dear Friends,

          World-class people make the University of Idaho a place of distinction and promise.

          We recognized a few of the many Vandal leaders this week. Since this is your University, I thought it important to give you just a glimpse of the people who are making a difference.

          First, it's important to note that our community stretches far beyond our more than 70 in state locations. Our more than 95,000 alumni are active across the world. Vandals lead in business, government, non-profit, and many other sectors. One of those leaders, General James Amos '70, Commandant of the Marine Corps, will be our commencement speaker in Moscow next month.

          We honored several local leaders last night at a the Latah County Silver and Gold, with more being recognized next week in Coeur d'Alene. In Moscow, we honored Richard Hundrup '75 with the Silver and Gold Award recognizing his community service and Vandal recruiting - recently his work brought nearly 30 percent of the Healy, Alaska graduating class to attend our University. Other great leaders recognized this year include Dennis Wheeler '66 '67, William "Bill" Eisinger '75, and Annete Elg '78.

          Another remarkable story from the Moscow event was Nancy Lyle's '56 recognition for exceptional volunteer service to the University. Nancy's work is remarkable but the Jim Lyle Wilson award also remembers her father's service as alumni secretary/director from 1946-1969. Nancy energetically took on her father's mantle of volunteerism to the university, and added to it continuing service to her community and county. The continuing legacy of Vandal leadership is clear. Three other great Vandals will also be honored elsewhere in the state: Mike '77 and Carol '78 Wilson and John Kirtland '78.

          And it's not just graduates who gravitate towards the leadership tradition of our University, we also honored Gaylen and Mary Margaret Wood with honorary Alumni status for their service to the University. We have many great friends who prove themselves Vandal leaders. The next one to be recognized will be Ben Rolphe in Couer d'Alene.

          Another group that is indispensable to our success is our staff. We recognize staff superstars - individual and team awards - tonight at the annual staff awards event. The list is too long to detail here, but I encourage you to take a look. Likely you'll see Vandals who have in some way touched your life while building our University. In addition to these award winners, we'll also honor those who have served between five and 40 years with the university as well as several university retirees.

          Next week we'll honor many more at our Excellence Awards event. This includes nine new Presidential Mid-career Awards for gifted faculty with more than three years of university service. The first recipients include Ahmed Abdel-Rahim, Leonard Garrison, Patrick Hrdlicka, Daniel Orozco, Jason Porter, Terrence Soule, Greg Turner-Rahman, Lisette Waits, and Von Walden. Newly promoted and tenured professors will also be recognized. We will also recognize two new University Distinguished Professors -- Carolyn Hovde Bohach and Holly Wichman -- who are paragons of sustained success in academics, research and service.

          Finally, we just received news that one of our College of Science Faculty was just named one of the top 300 professors in the United States by the Princeton Review. Karen Harpp, associate professor of geochemistry, is just one more of the many world-class professionals who make our University a unique community dedicated to the future.

          Together, these leaders inspire students like Rebecca Johnson, a junior honors student, to attend, excel, and succeed here. She is one of our many outstanding students as well as the recent recipient of a Goldwater Scholarship.

          That's why I'm so pleased to be working together with you in building the Vandal legacy. Whether it's our normal roles or the upcoming capital campaign that will launch us to new levels of excellence, I'm committed to working with you to inspire futures.


M. Duane Nellis

Here's the latest news from the University of Idaho

U-Idaho Prof Takes On Leadership Role In Global Effort To Preserve Biodiversity. Dennis Geist, professor of geology at the University of Idaho, has been studying the volcanoes of the Galapagos Islands since 1981. This January, he was named President of the Charles Darwin Foundation, which is dedicated to research in support of conservation in the Galapagos Islands. "Dennis is the board's only PhD and practicing scientist," said Darwin Foundation Board Member, Barbara West. "He has a strong commitment to the Galapagos and the critical conservation science it needs." West also cited Geist's considerable knowledge of the science being conducted on the islands and his ability to work with multiple stakeholders, including the Ecuadorian government, as essential to conserving the islands' environment and biodiversity.?A volcanologist and petrologist, Geist also has worked in Iceland, Greenland, Antarctica, Idaho and elsewhere around the globe. He was invited to become a member of The Charles Darwin Foundation in the 1990s, joined the board of directors 2008 and was unanimously elected president of in January.

HS Students To Make Nanoparticles With Help Of U-Idaho-CDA Researcher. In Coeur d'Alene, Lake City High School chemistry teacher Kevin Haler has gone deeper into the lab than many K-12 teachers dare to venture. Haler is part of an interdisciplinary research team working in the University of Idaho Coeur d'Alene laboratory. The team has been studying silver and gold nanoparticles for use in biosensors that can rapidly detect and identify microorganisms and toxins, including Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella. Over the past two summers, Haler synthesized nanoparticles, purified them and helped put the sensors together. Later this spring or early next fall, Haler hopes to have his students whipping up their own batches of nanomaterial, from scratch, using a hot plate and magnetic stirring bar. "It's surprisingly make the silver nanoparticles in the classroom. Then we're going to make an agar (the culture medium used in petri dishes) to test the growth rate of bacteria under different concentrations of the nanoparticles. That will show us how effective silver nanoparticles are at killing bacteria, and their effectiveness when used in different amounts." Nanoparticles are tiny, measuring 1-100 nanometers wide. For comparison, the width of a single hair is about 100,000 nanometers while the silver nanoparticles will be roughly 50 nanometers in diameter.

Friends and Family Honor Loving Friend, Husband and Father. Created in April 2011 with an initial gift from Larry and Marianne Williams, the Gary K. Hasenoehrl Memorial Agricultural Scholarship Endowment was established to honor Gary's life and his love of family farming. The endowment will provide scholarships to students interested in agricultural science at the University of Idaho. In the last year, many friends and members of the Hasenoehrl family have also made generous contributions to this fund. For so many Idaho faculty and staff, it was a way to also honor Gary's widow, Mary Warfield Hasenoehrl, who is known to many alumni and friends as the past director of development for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Mary, along with her two sons, Jake and Raymond, currently resides in Lewiston and continues farming as a family alongside Gary's brother, Don Hasenoehrl. "This scholarship carries on two traditions that were important to Gary - his time as a student in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and farming," said Mary. "He would have been honored and humbled to know that this scholarship was created in his memory. Thank you to Larry and Marianne and to everyone that supports this scholarship." For more information on giving to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, contact Kim O'Neill at (425) 359-2411 or

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