President's Office

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

The Friday Letter

May 18, 2012

Dear Friends,

          Last weekend’s 117th commencement ceremonies in Moscow marked a great new beginning for our graduating class of 2012. General Amos and other leaders helped reinforced the potential for success open to these new graduates of the University.

          Many of our continuing students have now entered the summer “vacation,” but most won’t stop working. They just shift activities. Some will continue with classes. Many will work summer jobs, while others engage in internships or study abroad programs. Likewise, our faculty and staff will remain hard at work.

          We teach year-round. We research year-round. We meet the needs of Idaho citizens year-round, and in the process we benefit all of Idaho and millions more by developing new leaders and new ideas delivered with an old-fashioned sense of duty. And we’re committed to doing that better every year.

          We gathered university leaders together this week to review the year’s successes and challenges as the starting point as we transition forward to a new academic year. It was reassuring to see our continuing success in so many areas despite the challenges we faced this year.

          There’s a great deal that we need to keep building on. First, we’ll keep extending our lead in student success and quality. For example, we learned recently that our university is seventh in the nation among our peer institutions for producing Goldwater Scholars. We’re also a leading university in the Northwest with the second largest population of National Merit Scholars of any public university. Combined with the highest retention the highest retention and graduation rates in the state, we have a pattern for future success. We’re committed to continuing this.

          Research successes also provide a basis for further success. This academic year we scored more large competitive grants. Thanks to the diligence and talent of our faculty and staff, grants continue to come in. Just this month, we’ve received over $1 million for STEM education efforts. We also received the largest grant in the nation for nuclear power research. Our longer-term goal is to reach $150 million in research grants by 2020.

          Outreach and engagement efforts will grow as well. Even as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of 4-H in Idaho, and 150th anniversary of land grant universities, we’ve committed to expanding our efforts to help the state through the creation of the Office of Community Partnerships, the Rangeland Center, and other partnerships efforts. From individuals to the White House, our efforts have been recognized as some of the best in the nation, and we’ll work to build on those.

          This summer we’ll prepare to extend these successes in the coming academic year. All the while, we’ll look for ways to get the best results at the best prices. We’ll also work to meet the goals of our Inspiring Futures Capital Campaign in order to make a quantum leap in our capacity to generate success in the 21st century.

          As Idaho’s First University, we’re committed to continuing success, and we’re able to extend our legacy of leading thanks to you.


M. Duane Nellis

Here's the latest news from the University of Idaho

Marine Commandant Urges Grads To Show Strength Of Courage And Character. Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps General James F. Amos issued a stirring call to Vandal graduates Saturday at the University of Idaho’s Spring Commencement to live a life of public service. Amos, a native of Wendell, Idaho and University of Idaho class of 1970 alumnus, called on the class of 2012 to "serve others, your community or humanity in some way." Amos spoke of the importance of personal and national character. Though he has served and traveled all over the world, Amos said that “every time I return, I thank God for the nation I call home.” When terrorists attacked the United States on 9/11, most of the 2012 graduates were in the sixth or seventh grades. Amos told them those attacks brought out the best of the American spirit, things like "unconditional compassion, fierce national pride and an unshakeable resolve." Amos asked the crowd what led New York City police and firefighters to go into the World Trade Center towers at great risk to themselves. "Character," he said. Amos said that they demonstrated who we are as Americans.

U-Idaho Arboretum Joins Select Few in Accredited Ranks. The 63-acre University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Garden was recognized this week as one of only a handful of arboreta that has been accredited by the Morton Register of Arboreta. The U-Idaho Arboretum received a Level III accreditation, on a four tier scale, that recognizes an arboretum with more than 500 varieties of trees and woody plants, a dedicated curator, professional collaboration with other arboreta and an active education and conservation efforts. "This recognition comes thanks to the hard work of Paul Warnick (Arboretum Horticulturist) and the many Arboretum supporters whose tireless efforts have continued to grow this University of Idaho jewel," said Brian Johnson, assistant vice president for facilities. The Arboretum and Botanical Garden fills a valley on the south side of campus, just off Nez Perce Drive. Organized into geographical groupings of Asian, European, Eastern, and Western North American sections, and display plantings are hundreds of species and cultivars of North Temperate trees and shrubs and a xeriscape garden. In addition to native Idaho species, there are over 120 dedicated trees and groves, trails, and water features. See more.

Deckers Combine Experience and Corporate Matching To Benefit Veterans. Since its inception in 2006, David ’71 and Deborah Decker have been ardent supporters of Operation Education (OpEd) at the University of Idaho. David is a charter member of the advisory council and currently serves as vice-chair. His enthusiasm for OpEd stems from his own military experience as well as a strong interest in providing all veterans, especially those injured in the line of duty, an opportunity to continue their education and have the necessary tools to cope with a changing society. David was commissioned in the United States Marine Corps after earning his degree in finance from the University of Idaho. He served as an artillery officer for eight years until he joined Merrill Lynch in 1979. He relocated his business to Boise in 1999 where he currently works as First Vice President--Investments, Senior Financial Advisor and PIA Program Portfolio Manager at Merrill Lynch. The Deckers have been a great resource both in terms of program development and in sharing information about Operation Education with others. As an employee of Bank of America, the parent company of Merrill Lynch, David is able to leverage his giving through the bank’s matching program. They are currently working with other veterans to establish an endowed fund in memory of a longtime friend and career military officer and his wife to provide additional scholarship support to OpEd students. For more information on how you can support Operation Education, contact Ed McBride at (208) 885-9026 or