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The Friday Letter

March 9, 2012

Dear Friends,

          I was so pleased last week to host, along with the presidents of Idaho's other institutions of higher education, the Idaho Economic Development Summit.

          Thanks to the initial efforts of our office of research in partnership with all of our state institutions and the State Board of Education, as many as 210 leaders in business, industry, government, and education were able to participate in the Summit.

          The purpose was to bring Idaho's economic development stakeholders together to provide input on how to improve higher education's contribution to the vitality and competitiveness of the Idaho economy. The feedback we received from participants demonstrates great promise and opportunity for deeper partnerships between higher education and Idaho's business sectors.

          The Summit was chaired by Rich Raimondi, chair of the Idaho Technology Council and featured a keynote address by Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, as well as multiple working sessions on a variety of topics of importance to our state, from talent and technology development to industrial cluster and regional development.

          As one participant said, "The opportunity was presented for future collaborations of the sort we have not experienced in 25 years in economic development."

          All of the feedback and strategic discussions were shared with a panel of university and college presidents and representatives from the State Board of Education who provided some great input that will help link efforts across the state between business, communities, government, and higher education.

          The forum will serve as a foundation for strategic thinking and planning by all of us in higher education and the State Board of Education as we work to improve Idaho's economic condition. Several participants suggested regional follow-ups and certainly an annual event to continue to find opportunities to build our state's economy.

          A number of our key administrators from the University of Idaho played an important role in making this conference a reality. A special thanks to Bill McLaughlin, one of our senior faculty, who served as the executive associate and facilitator for this summit. As such he helped structure and facilitate the conference proceedings.

          This conference clearly reinforced the important role of higher education in the State's economic future, and the important leadership role of our university, Idaho's flagship and land grant research university.

Sincerely,

M. Duane Nellis
President
 

Here's the latest news from the University of Idaho

Vandal Women Advance To Semi-Finals In Las Vegas. The Idaho women's basketball team built a commanding lead in the first half, and held on in the second in a 67-63 victory over San Jose State in the Western Athletic Conference quarterfinals at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Idaho, the fourth seed in the tournament, will have Thursday off before taking on top-seeded Fresno State at 2:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time today. See more.

Call of the Wild: New Wilderness Study Program Open. University of Idaho students who yearn to be outdoors and want to study science in one of the nation's largest wilderness areas may now apply for the College of Natural Resources' new pilot program, "Semester in the Wild." Offered for the first time in fall 2012, this semester-long experience is made up of five courses and is open to all undergraduate students. The program takes place at the University of Idaho Taylor Wilderness Research Station in the heart of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and at the McCall Field Campus, along the shores of Payette Lake. The application deadline is April 13, 2012.

Seeleys Fund College of Science Scholarship Endowment. Dr. James '58 and Marsha Seeley of Medina, Washington recently donated $100,000 to establish the James and Marsha Seeley College of Science Scholarship Endowment. The scholarship aims to assist promising students who exhibit financial need. "As I have gotten older, I recognize the extent that the University of Idaho has played in my life including the lifetime friendships and the wonderful preparation for life after college," said Dr. Seeley. "I love the beautiful campus, caring professors and I am very proud that the university is ranked as one of the top for quality and value as it relates to return on investment. I want to give others the same opportunity that I had." Dr. Seeley completed a pre-medical degree at Idaho and earned his medical degree at George Washington University. Marsha Seeley is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where the two met during Dr. Seeley's orthopedic surgery residency. He operated an orthopedic practice in Bellevue, Washington for 30 years before retiring in 1995. The Seeleys also have participated in Orthopedics Overseas, an organization similar to Doctors Without Borders, helping patients in Africa, India, and China. They currently enjoy spending time with their three children and seven grandchildren. For more information on giving to the College of Science, contact Eric Bennett at (208) 885-9106 or ebennett@uidaho.edu.

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