President's Office

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

The Friday Letter

March 2, 2012

Dear Friends,

          We strive for excellence. It's a challenge, but the rewards far outweigh the costs.

          More evidence of this was on display last week. That's when the 45th Annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival wrapped with a mighty Feb. 26 finish -- with more than 8,000 in attendance for the concert by Tower of Power and several other professional and student groups. It was a powerful conclusion to a week of positive opportunities for more than 8,000 students from as far away as Massachusetts and some 10,000 fans.

          Student and parent responses were overwhelmingly positive. One out-of-state parent wrote, "The workshops and talent brought in were top notch and it all seemed to run like clockwork. It was really amazing to see how many incredibly talented kids are out there and it was very inspiring for all of them. For my son .[his preparation and participation helped him grow as much] in two months as would normally have taken 6 to12."

          One of our former students returned as a featured performer too. Sara Gazarek, who first attended the Jazz Festival as a Seattle middle school student, has kept at it to win national recognition and has cut two albums. She told her audience they should never worry about being recognized with a formal award. What she learned at Jazz Festival was to always to do her best and success would follow. That lesson is one that we teach and practice. That's one reason why there should be no doubt about the University of Idaho as our flagship university.

          There are many other examples of our legacy of leading. One such example is our promotion of the economic health of Idaho and the region through partnerships. The Idaho Economic Development Summit held in Boise this week, illustrates this effort. Look at the related website, and you'll see an expansive partnership of higher education, government, and business. What you won't see is direct credit for the University of Idaho. Though we conceived of the event and then invested the people and resources to make it happen, it's a team effort that benefits the state, and we celebrated this event with all public higher education institutions in our state. It happened because of our leadership in supporting the link between higher education and economic development in our state.

          A recent quad-city economic meeting (including representatives from Moscow, Pullman, Clarkston, and Lewiston) and the Moscow "Town and Gown" gathering earlier this week emphasized economic development and partnership more locally. And the celebration of the WWAMI Medical Education Program's 40th anniversary earlier this week recognized the leadership and partnership of the University of Idaho, which has boosted the health of the entire state, especially in rural settings. Not only has this program prepared Idaho students to serve the state, but it has also enticed others to serve here, thereby multiplying the return on investment to our state. I could go on and on with other examples of the way we are leading efforts to engage our state and region.

          Finally, we also have some great athletic teams. Last week, our Vandal men's track and field team won its first-ever Western Athletic Conference Indoor Track championship.

          And whether it is the Vandals performing at the highest levels in athletics or our outstanding successes in building partnerships as an engaged university, these are all part of the successes that have made us Idaho's flagship university for more than 120 years.

M. Duane Nellis

Here's the latest news from the University of Idaho 

45th Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival Concludes With A Tower of Power. The Tower for Power and many student groups concluded the 45th Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival with more than 8,000 fans to cheer them on Saturday night. Dozens of other world-class artists also performed at main stage events during the four-day Festival. They included The Blind Boys of Alabama, Roy Haynes, Paquito D'Rivera, Anat Cohen and John Clayton. More than 8,000 students learned from masters in more than 100 workshops and clinics on campus and in the Moscow community. Students from162 schools in eight states and Canada participated in Festival performances. Over 40 clinicians brought their skills and experience to the Festival's student performance sessions; more than 600 volunteers assisted with Festival operations and managed 420 student performances at more than 20 venues. The Jazz in the Schools program had one of its most successful years ever, reaching nearly 8,000 more students in area schools during the Festival. Festival highlights are available online. "It has been very gratifying to see how many incredibly talented kids are out there and very rewarding to see the positive experiences that they have while at the Jazz Festival," said Festival Executive Director Steven Remington. "For many students, this is their first experience with the University of Idaho campus and many will now consider the University of Idaho when the time comes to select a college or university." It would be impossible for the Festival to exist without suppliers providing the instruments that allow students and artists to perform. Each year Steinway Piano Gallery of Spokane provides a large number of pianos for the Festival, at no charge. University and Festival friends have the opportunity to purchase these pianos after the Festival.

U-Idaho Receives $557,577 From Competitive Science Proposals. University of Idaho faculty members in the Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies (IBEST) were awarded $557,477 for the next academic year, as part of the NSF BEACON Science and Technology Center on "Evolution in Action." These funds will support 11 U-Idaho faculty members, seven graduate students and two postdoctoral students for the next academic year. The faculty members funded were: Larry Forney, James A. Foster, Luke Harmon, Craig McGowen, Bree Rosenblum (affiliate facility), Paul Hohenlohe and Eva Top (in Biological Sciences); Robert Heckendorn and Terence Soule (in Computer Science); Michael O'Rourke (in Philosophy); and David Tank (in Forest Resources). IBEST is an interdisciplinary research group at U-Idaho focused on understanding the patterns and processes of evolution that occur over comparatively short periods of time. The BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action is a five -institution consortium that includes U-Idaho, Michigan State University, University of Washington, University of Texas at Austin and North Carolina A&T. BEACON is an NSF Science and Technology Center founded with the mission of illuminating and harnessing the power of evolution in action to advance science and technology and benefit society. Research at BEACON focuses on biological evolution, digital evolution and evolutionary applications in engineering, uniting biologists who study natural evolutionary processes with computer scientists and engineers who are harnessing these processes to solve real-world problems.

Rosholts Benefit Future Lawyers, Teachers And More. John '59 '64 and Karen Rae Fisher Rosholt '64, long-time benefactors and volunteers, recently designated $50,000 to benefit the Colleges of Law and Education, where they earned their respective degrees. The Rosholt College of Law Excellence Fund will provide additional support to the College's areas of greatest need. This year, the gift will benefit student scholarships. Meanwhile, they've also made a gift to the College of Education to provide ongoing scholarship support to elementary education majors. "My wife and I were interested in supporting aspiring primary school teachers," said John. This support will be both immediate and impactful, as the first scholarship will be awarded during the upcoming academic year. Karen worked as a special education teacher in Twin Falls until her retirement. John works as an attorney specializing in natural resources, business, and commercial law. The Idaho State Bar Association awarded him its 2004 Distinguished Lawyer Award, and the University awarded him its Faculty Award of Legal Merit in 2008. In addition to their on-going financial support of numerous areas of the University, the Rosholts also volunteer in University projects including work on multiple boards and advisory councils. The couple received the Jim Lyle Award for volunteerism in 2000. For information about giving to the College of Education, contact Christina Randal at (208) 885-7537 or, or for the College of Law, contact Terri Muse at (208) 364-4404 or

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