President's Office

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

Friday Letter Office of the President

The Friday Letter

September 21, 2012

Dear Friends,

I don’t have to tell you that your University is a unique place.  Every day presents another reminder of just how special the University of Idaho is and the impact it is making.

One example would be this week’s military appreciation efforts. Your University has a proud tradition of caring for veterans that stretches back to the Spanish-American War of 1898.  In addition to opening a veteran’s center last year, we’ve developed an outreach to disabled veterans through Operation Education – a program that’s been shared with other national universities. More veterans are returning with serious disabilities involving loss of limbs, traumatic brain injuries, and PTSD.

That’s where our Operation Education program helps by providing severely disabled veterans, or in some cases their spouses, the education they need to move forward. We're thankful for many generous sponsors, including corporate and individual supporters. This includes the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps General James Amos ’73, and his wife Bonnie.  I am also incredibly proud of my wife, Ruthie, who along with Bonnie Amos serves as honorary co-chair of Operation Education. Thanks also to Jo Goesling, wife of Regent Bill Goesling, who chairs the Operation Education Advisory Council.

Later today, we are also remembering current and former prisoners of war as well as those still missing in action. The university community is joining with local organizations and families to show solidarity for those like Bowe Bergdahl of Ketchum, the only remaining U.S. military member still in captivity in Afghanistan and the nearly 84,000 Americans who are still missing from all conflicts since WWI.

Tomorrow afternoon there will also be special events as part of the festivities surrounding our Vandal football game against Wyoming, including a half-time swearing in ceremony for new military members.

Of course, we continue to attract top-notch students who come to our University because of what it has to offer in addition to active ROTC programs. One example isTyler Smotherman, a junior from Coeur d’ Alene. He turned down an appointment to the Military Academy at West Point to double major in political science and international studies, and minor in Spanish and military science (Army ROTC) here. He came because of the quality and flexibility that a University of Idaho education allows. Tyler has thrived. He maintains a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the University Honors Program. 

We’re committed to meeting the needs of all our students statewide – in and out of uniform. The unique education our students receive and the economic benefit they bring to their professions and communities is fostered by the nature of our community and the engaged-learning opportunities we offer.


M. Duane Nellis


McCall Outdoor Science School Earns ID21 Award for Innovative Teaching. The College of Natural Resources McCall Outdoor Science School has been named one of six recipients of the ID21 Awards from the J.A. & K. Albertson Foundation for 2012. As one of the recipients from a pool of 167 nominees, MOSS will receive $50,000 and be honored at the foundation’s award ceremony on Oct. 16 at the Boise Egyptian Theater. “This prestigious award from the J.A. and K. Albertson Foundation validates the excellence of the MOSS programs in achieving our goals of providing innovative learning opportunities for K-12 students,” said University of Idaho President M. Duane Nellis. “MOSS is one example of the university’s commitment to the advancement, sustainability and development of 21st century learning opportunities in STEM education in the state and beyond.” The ID21 Awards are designed to discover and reward programs in Idaho that revolutionize how students learn. MOSS is recognized in the category for "challenging traditional education with creativity and innovation.” 

National Teachers Group Honors Ag Prof. Amin Ahmadzadeh, a College of Agricultural and Life Sciences professor of dairy science, received the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Teacher Fellow Award during the group’s annual conference recently. Ahmadzadeh teaches dairy science and maintains an active research program at the university.

U-Idaho Welcomes New Faculty -- ROTC. The university welcomed 47 new faculty members this year. Seven of them serve in ROTC programs. They are Air Force Capt. Adam Starkey (B.A., 2007, Seattle Pacific University, M.B.A., 2011, Liberty University) and 2d Lt. Brittany Starkey (B.A., 2009, University of Washington) who will serve as assistant professors of aerospace studies; Army MSgt. Craig Collins, instructor of military science; Navy Commander Alex Greig (B.A., 1996, The Ohio State University, M.A., 2002, Naval Postgraduate School), associate professor of naval science; Navy lieutenants Lucas Hugie (B.S., 2006, University of Utah) and Steven Stead (B.S., 2007, Oregon State University), assistant professors of naval science; and Marine Capt. Topher Koreis (B.S., 2003, Cal Poly Pomona), assistant professor of naval science. These military professionals include a logistician, two pilots, an artillerymen, a surface warfare officer, a nuclear propulsion specialist and a protocol specialist who together possess nearly 60 years of combined military experience. 

Stinker Stores Give A Lift To Those In Need On Campus. Since 2008, Stinker Stores, a subsidiary of CJSD Holdings, Inc., has provided thousands of dollars in fuel annually for the University of Idaho’s Vandal Access shuttle, which provides on-campus transportation to students, faculty, staff and visitors with mobility impairments. Stinker Stores is a network of over 65 retail operations across Idaho that employs over 500 people and markets food, convenience items and “eco-friendly” fuels. Charley Jones ’75, president of CJSD Holdings, Inc., spearheads his company’s contribution, adding: “I’m a proud Vandal.” The Vandal Access shuttle has also proven to be an important asset for the University’s Operation Education scholars. These students are post-9/11 veterans with permanent and disabling injuries incurred while on active duty who are continuing their educational pursuits. In addition to providing payment of tuition, fees and books, “OpEd” supplies many essential but otherwise unfunded items to its scholars including childcare, transportation, academic support and housing. Jones, a veteran himself, was commissioned after graduation as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army through the University’s ROTC program. He is also a charter member of the OpEd Advisory Council. To learn more about Operation Education, or contact development officer Ed McBride at (208) 885-9026 or Veterans Adviser Dan Button at (208) 885-7979.