President's Office

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

February 17 2012

Friday Letter Office of the President
February 17, 2012

Dear Friends,

          As the state's flagship research university, THE University of Idaho continues to keep alive the dream of President Abraham Lincoln, who envisioned land-grant universities in each state or territory as "people's universities." Land-grant universities not only provide every citizen access to a high-quality education, they also apply new knowledge and discoveries to real-world issues fueling our economies and our collective quality of life. Land-grant universities like ours partner with their states to address the most pressing issues of our time.

          Here in Idaho, our University has trained generations of leaders: lawmakers, judiciary members, physicians, artists and entrepreneurs who have shaped and advanced our state.

          In addition, each year -- through our statewide extension network -- we touch the lives of roughly 400,000 Idahoans, from infants to senior citizens.

          Our 4-H programs offer a great example of how lives are touched and transformed. This year marks the centennial of Idaho 4-H, founded in 1912 with a focus on agriculture and gardening. Over the past century, thousands of Idaho's young people have benefited from 4-H's community clubs, afterschool programs, day camps, summer camps, statewide and national conferences, and international exchange programs. The four "H's" in 4-H stand for: hearts, heads, hands and health. I would also add "hope."

          Through the years, 4-H has recognized and adapted to the changing needs of our state and global community. Today, its programs have broadened to include an emphasis on science, healthy living, and citizenship and leadership.

          Tim Ewers, who co-leads Idaho 4-H science programs, is passionate about finding ways to make science "as fun as sports." His energies are devoted to using robotics as a way to connect kids with math and science. 4-H is part of the equation to addressing our nation's ailing competitiveness in the STEM disciplines - science, technology, engineering and math; this is a way to help nurture learning in these critical areas so that the young people of today, will be our university sciences majors and global leaders of tomorrow.

          With an eye towards building citizens and leaders, eighth- and ninth-graders from around Idaho walk the halls of our state Capitol Building during 4-H's annual Know Your Government weekend. Tomorrow through Monday in Boise, more than 180 youngsters will adopt roles as legislators, judges and reporters, conduct mock committee meetings and mock trials. They'll also hear from state and local officials and have breakfast with legislators and judges, including Idaho Supreme Court Justice Daniel Eismann. This is a great way for Idaho's youth to learn in a hands-on, experiential way about how our state government works. Without a doubt, future leaders are "born" during this weekend.

          One-hundred and fifty years ago, the Morrill Act - signed by President Lincoln - created the national land-grant university system and made possible our University of Idaho. As the state's flagship research university we serve the people of the state of Idaho. Our hope for the future success and vitality of our state resides in our young people and how we teach, encourage and nurture them for success through programs such as 4-H and through study at our University.

          Although I was very disappointed in the decision yesterday by the Idaho State Board of Education to remove the word "flagship" from our mission statement, I can assure you that we will continue to operate as we always have - as the state's land-grant, research leader with a statewide presence and impact. Idaho's future leaders get their start with us, and I am proud of the leading role we play to make possible and ensure the future of Idaho, our nation and our world.

M. Duane Nellis

Here's the latest news from the University of Idaho 

Renovated Website Makes Its Debut.
The University has launched its newly renovated website with a new look and improved features such as streamlined functions, better search capabilities, and clearer directions. The improvements to the site are designed to make access easier for users. "This is our most sophisticated design yet, which is indicative of the leading role the University of Idaho plays," says Chris Murray, vice president for advancement. "Our web presence must reflect our leadership position and make it easy for our visitors to find what they need quickly. Nationwide studies have shown that new students especially view colleges through their web presence. One study found that 40 percent of new students made their decision about enrolling based on their school's website. Likewise, evidence is mounting that a quality website plays a vital role in promoting giving, connecting with alumni, and simply improving the day-to-day operations of an organization. The re-imagined website initially converted approximately 15,000 pages, with another 3,000-5,000 pages due to be converted in the month following launch. If you have any feedback or suggestions for the web team concerning the renovated University of Idaho web page, please direct your comments to

National Science Scholarship Recipient Conducts Out-of-this-World Research. Jacob Bow says he's always been a curious person. The double-major in chemical engineering and math says, "I like learning and I ask a lot of questions." Fortunately, he's has had ample opportunity at the University of Idaho to feed his natural curiosity. Since his first year as an undergraduate, he has been researching and mapping Titan, one of Saturn's largest moons, alongside his physics professor, Jason Barnes. He is also in the process of publishing an article with his chemical engineering professor, Eric Aston, featuring research on nanomechanics. "I know I'm getting research opportunities that I probably wouldn't get other places," Bow says. "It's easy to connect with professors, not only for research but for academics, advising and life. I've had a lot of good discussions with some of my professors." Such opportunities helped garner Bow recognition as one of three Idaho students to be named as a 2011 Goldwater Scholar. This elite group is made up of only 300 students nationwide who are studying math or sciences. Hear Bow talk about his intellectual journey.

Holland and Hart Renews Scholarship Support. The law firm of Holland and Hart has renewed its support for student scholarships in the University of Idaho's College of Law through a $10,000 gift for the 2012 academic year. The firm has supported student scholarships in the College of Law since 2004. The Holland and Hart Law scholarship helps attract students with strong academic promise and who have had to overcome personal, familial or economic challenges to obtain their education. The renewal of this scholarship reflects the firm's dedication to recruiting underrepresented populations to serve in the legal profession in the intermountain Northwest. According to Fred Mack '69, '72, a partner who works out of the Boise office, "Holland and Hart is committed to the University of Idaho law school." Holland and Hart has been a leading law firm in the intermountain northwest since 1947 with offices throughout the region. For more information about supporting the College of Law, contact Terri Muse, development director, at (208) 364-4044 or

Event Sampler 

Feb. 20- March 3 (Moscow campus):
"Road Stories", a mixed-media installation created by College of Art and Architecture faculty Sally Graves Machlis and Delphine Keim-Campbell. On view in the Idaho Commons Reflection Gallery.

Wednesday-Saturday, Feb. 22-25 (Moscow campus): Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival celebrates its 45th season. Known for its commitment to music education, mentoring and outreach, the festival is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts.

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

Manage Your Subscriptions Online. You can now manage your own subscriptions to University communications, such as the Friday Letter, through a convenient online menu.