President's Office

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

February 10 2012

Friday Letter Office of the President
February 10, 2012

Dear Friends,

          When the Idaho Territorial Legislature established the University of Idaho in Moscow in 1889, our residential campus was destined to grow to serve as the heart of this great institution. But our mission -- then, now and into the future -- as a land-grant research university is to serve our entire state.

          It's precisely because of that statewide mission and reach, and our University's essential role in Idaho's continued economic growth, that I spend considerable time in Boise during each legislative session. During my most recent visit, I delivered a clear message to state lawmakers: that our University is distinctive by virtue of its statewide nature. Our commitment is evident in our physical presence in 42 of Idaho's 44 counties, as well as in the results of our work. This includes our robust statewide research enterprise that directly benefits Idaho communities and helps our state to grow and prosper.

          The Caldwell Research and Extension Center serves as a great example. It's here that the Food Technology Center and its associated Business and Technology Incubator test and develop innovative business concepts. Research here advances beef science; improves dairy processes, food safety and quality; and benefits range management and economics. The center also helps start-up entrepreneurs to produce food and wine products with guidance from University experts.

          Caldwell also is home to our Caine Veterinary Center, where students and local ranchers benefit from the large animal research and teaching hospital.

          Yet, these are only two of many research centers in the southern region of our state. University of Idaho scientists at the Hagerman Fish Culture Experiment Station address critical issues that impact threatened or endangered fish species. The Parma Research and Extension Center focuses its research and outreach on improving and sustaining the productivity of Idaho crops, including potatoes, onions and fruit. The Taylor Wilderness Research Station is remote, but vital to advancing research on natural resources. Our Kimberly Research and Extension Center focuses on plant genetics, storage, and soils research; and the Lee A. Sharp Experimental Area researches rangeland and grazing management. The McCall Outdoor Science School delivers community education on natural resources and offers science, technology, engineering and mathematics education programs.

          Boise is home to our professional programs in architecture, education, engineering, law and medicine. And it also serves as an important research site in several fields, such as the Center for Ecohydraulics Research. Utilizing a hydro-ecologic flume - one of few facilities that can be used to study certain types of steep headwater streams - our water scientists conduct research into the preservation, restoration and sustainable management of river systems. And our Idaho Falls campus is a hub of nuclear and other advanced energy studies, linked to the enormously successful Center for Advanced Energy Studies.

          Through our 70 statewide locations, our University works everyday to transform people, industry and communities. Our first location may have been Moscow, but our first partner was and continues to be the State of Idaho. I invite you to share the story of our transformative statewide impact with members of our legislature this session.

M. Duane Nellis

Here's the latest news from the University of Idaho 
Write On! MFA Faculty Score a Slate of Honors.
Faculty members in the University's MFA Creative Writing program continue to earn national distinction and honors. Daniel Orozco has enjoyed a fantastic response to his short story collection, "Orientation and Other Stories." It was long-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, nominated for the Story Prize, was a Vogue Magazine Summer Fiction Pick, and has been featured in Amazon's Best Books of the Month. He also earned the Whiting Writers' Award, a top-shelf literary award given to writers of exceptional talent and promise. Robert Wrigley, along with Kim Barnes will be teaching at the Southampton Writers Conference on Long Island in July. Barnes' latest novel, "In the Kingdom of Men," will be released in May. Her essay, "On Language: A Short Meditation," was featured as a Notable Essay in "Best American Essays 2011." Alexandra Teague has published poems in Slate, Cimarron Review, and Field. Sayantani Dasgupta's essay, "Fire Girl," was published in December's Gulf Stream. Her forthcoming essays include "Touching Down," to be published in About Journal and "The House of Nails," to be published in this month's issue of Conversations Across Borders. And David Thacker's poem, "Haloed Flotsam," has been accepted at Ploughshares for the Winter 2012 issue.

Governor's Visit Focuses on Importance of Higher Ed Research Investment. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter visited the University's Moscow campus on Feb. 6 to talk about the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission, or IGEM, proposal. On behalf of Idaho's businesses and workers, Otter has proposed $2 million in state funding for research projects that yield economic results. At its core, IGEM would create working partnerships between the public and private sectors to build up the state's knowledge-based economy. It's designed to increase the research capacity of Idaho's universities in strategic areas that can help Idaho's competitiveness in the global marketplace. The University of Idaho will continue to lead the way in developing the ideas and the leaders needed to grow the state's economy through IGEM. In the most recent report to both the National Science Foundation and the State Board of Education last year, research expenditures at the University of Idaho totaled nearly $100 million, more than 70 percent of all university-level research expenditures generated by Idaho institutions.

The Cones: A Generation of Engineering at Idaho. A leadership-level gift will bolster the $2 million Endowed Chair for Mechanical Engineering Campaign. A $250,000 bequest gift from Elwood E. '42 and Dorothy E. Cone is the second leadership gift that supports the faculty endowment. Once fully funded, the endowed chair will provide the College of Engineering with the ability to recruit and retain outstanding faculty, and also will benefit students who work with and learn from our world-class researchers, educators and academic leaders. Elwood is the son of William H. Cone, the head of the University's chemistry department from 1924-64. Elwood grew up in Moscow and served as a member of the Civilian Pilot Training Program. He became the first student to fly solo across seven western states. He earned a mechanical engineering degree and served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. After returning home, Elwood worked at Westinghouse Electric in San Francisco and there met Dorothy. He eventually moved from his engineering career to one in the mining machinery manufacturing business. He retired as president of Baker Mining Machinery Company, now Baker Hughes. Elwood says, "I grew up in Moscow where my dad worked at the University. I went to school there. It's great to be able to support the University of Idaho." For more information on giving to the College of Engineering, contact Mary Lee Ryba at (208) 755-4916 or send email to

Event Sampler

Tuesday, Feb. 14 (Moscow campus): Dean Katherine Aiken, CLASS, talks about "An Historian's Perspective on Valentine's Day: The Interplay of Dollars and Cupids," part of the Humanities Exploration Colloquium series titled "Turning of the Wheel."

Thursday, Feb. 16 (Moscow campus): A reading by Whiting Award-winning author and National Endowment for the Arts Fellow Benjamin Percy, part of the Distinguished Visiting Writer Series, sponsored by the Department of English and MFA in Creative Writing program.

Use the University's events calendar to find out more about events in your area.

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