President's Office

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

January 27 2012

January 27, 2012

Dear Friends,

          When I spoke before Idaho's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, I emphasized both the distinctiveness of the University of Idaho as our state's land-grant university and how our work helps to grow the state's economy.

          Through our statewide land-grant mission of teaching, research, outreach and service, our work helped build the State of Idaho. I've shared with you the very real description of our work being woven into the fabric of Idaho. That "tapestry" has and continues to transform our state.

          But, our work is never done. Twenty-first century land-grant universities seek out new and important ways to continue serving our states and nation in a global economy increasingly fueled by knowledge.

          Our University prepares its students for life and work in a competitive world market. Our research, and creative and scholarly activities transform communities here in Idaho and around the globe. We explore new ways to improve the educational 'pipeline' that brings Idaho students from K-12 into higher education. We work to ensure that the critical knowledge needs of tomorrow are under consideration today. And we help Idaho's sons and daughters understand and appreciate that their statewide University - THE University of Idaho - is a place where they can come to learn how to become successful leaders in their professions and their communities.

          I'm so proud of the nearly three-dozen stellar students who joined us in Boise this week for Higher Education Week. They shared their stories directly with state lawmakers. Here are a few of them:

          Rachel Wessel is a senior from Coeur d'Alene majoring in business management. She praises the College of Business and Economics' integrated business curriculum for helping her "see how business is connected to almost everything we do . what we learn in class and how it plays out in the real world." She says her best professors are those who "genuinely want to see students learn and succeed." She's been a peer facilitator for a freshman extended-orientation course called Vandal Success, working with 15-20 students and sharing "my own knowledge and experiences in hopes it helps them." She plans to travel to northern Spain following graduation to seek experience in international business.

          Grady Hepworth is a senior majoring in political science and international studies. He's been serving as a mentor to freshmen in the University's integrated seminar courses for Sayatani Dasgupta, a lecturer in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences. For Grady, from Twin Falls, the chance to mentor has "given me a greater appreciation of the international community."

          Junior Clare Haley, a National Merit Scholar from Idaho Falls, has found leadership and success here. Clare has been active on the University Honors Program Student Advisory Board, worked on a Habitat for Humanity home-building project in Hartsville, S.C., and took part in a school-building project in a small village in Costa Rica. An international studies major, Clare's success and growth at the University have been fostered by access to top-notch faculty members who make "an incredible effort to spend one-on-one time" with their students.

          It was gratifying to watch how Idaho's lawmakers engaged with and responded to the conversations with all of our students this week.

          One-hundred-and-fifty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act that created our land-grant university system - the "peoples" universities - whose mission of teaching, research, outreach and service is still vibrant, still growing and still paying dividends today.

          The future for our University is as bright as ever, and it's found in Idaho's sons and daughters - the next generation of leaders like Clare, Grady, Rachel and others.

M. Duane Nellis

Here's the latest news from the University of Idaho
Now at the Head of the [Northwest] Class. The best and the brightest students who started college this academic year in the Northwest go to the University of Idaho. According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation's recently released 2010-11 annual report, the University of Idaho has more new National Merit Scholars than any other public institution in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana. Seventeen of the 19 new National Merit Scholars in Idaho are at U-Idaho. Timothy E. McGuire, president of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, says that the scholars are recognized for their academic achievement and potential for success.

A Passion for Serving Idaho - the State and the Statewide University. Marty Peterson '68 recently retired as the University's special assistant to the president, focused on state governmental relations. Back in the autumn of 1957, a then-14 year-old Peterson stepped onto the bleachers at the University of Idaho's Neale Stadium. He thought he was coming to watch a football game and then go home. But somewhere between the kickoff and the final score, Peterson set his heart on this University and the state it proudly serves. Now 55 years of public service later, Peterson's adventure took him through the inner workings of politics in Washington, D.C. and Boise, and included two tours in the Idaho National Guard. Peterson started to feed his lifelong passion for politics with a degree in broadcast communications from the University of Idaho. Learn more about Peterson's deep passion for all things Idaho.

Honoring Dedicated Service. The endowment supporting the Jack Morris Executive Speaker Series is the beneficiary of gifts in excess of $35,000, thanks to Gary '62 and Mert Michael and Bryan '79 and Susan Norby of Boise. The speaker series has been recently named to honor Morris, who retired in December after nearly 40 years with the University, including the last five years as the dean of the College of Business and Economics. In addition to the Michaels and Norbys, the effort to enhance the speaker series endowment has resulted in more than $50,000 in gifts since December to honor Morris. Gary Michael, a retired chief executive officer of Albertsons, Inc. and former interim president of the University, says, "Mert and I are thrilled to participate in this effort to honor Jack Morris, who dedicated himself to and was a great leader for the University." Bryan Norby adds: "Jack Morris was a leader in developing many of the college's marquee programs like the Integrated Business Curriculum and numerous experiential learning programs, such as the speaker series. Jack always put students first and led the college successfully through some very challenging times. We are pleased to honor his outstanding service to the University of Idaho." For information about giving to the College of Business and Economics and the Jack Morris Executive Speaker Series, contact Chandra Ford at (208) 890-2370 or

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