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

February 8, 2013

Dear Friends,

The leadership so common to Vandals often has giving at its core.

For example, this week our university ranked 7th among universities of its size, in the 2013 Peace Corps Top Colleges for producing volunteers. We currently have 33 undergraduate alumni in active service for a total 521 Vandals who have served in the corps.

Some have even opted to return for a second term. Chuck and Eloise Henner, Class of 1971, volunteered in Afghanistan after graduation. They returned to the United States to complete careers as vice presidents with the investment firm Merrill Lynch. However, after they retired, they re-upped for a second Peace Corps tour.

Our new ranking places us in the company of such nationally known universities as George Washington University, Cornell University, and American University.

 “As a result of the top-notch education they receive, your graduates are well prepared for the challenges of international service. They become leaders in their host communities and carry the spirit of service and leadership back with them when they return home,” said Carrie Hessler-Radelet, acting director of the Peace Corps.

"We thank and congratulate the University of Idaho as one of the 23 universities from the West Coast producing globally-minded leaders who turn idealism into action as Peace Corps volunteers. Personally, I'm thrilled to see UI in the top 10 for the first time," said Janet Allen, Peace Corps' west coast regional manager

I’ve also been working with other great Vandals this week at the University of Idaho Foundation Board meetings. Their leadership also merits special mention. The skilled volunteers on our Foundation Board have produced tremendous financial returns for our university at a time when other universities struggled.

Tonight, we’ll also recognize Laine Meyer ‘72, our new Foundation chairman. He has been selected to receive the Jim Lyle alumni award recognizing his long years of service to our university. 

In addition to the Foundation members giving of time and talent, I’d like to thank all of your who give to the university. Every gift, whether large or small, makes a difference in our ability to serve others.

Thank you all.


M. Duane Nellis


U-Idaho Ranks 7thin Peace Corps Rankings. The University of Idaho has a long-standing tradition of opening doors for students to the world, and this year, that effort is being recognized as the university ranks seventh on the Peace Corps’ 2013 Top Colleges amongst medium-sizes schools. “We are proud of taking our tradition of service learning and the spirit of helping others worldwide,” said University of Idaho President M. Duane Nellis. “We are pleased to see the great work our students do while at the university and as alumni.” Currently, there are 33 undergraduate alumni serving in the Peace Corps; historically 521 Vandals have served overseas in the program. Graduating senior Alex Rheault, of Fargo, N.D., hopes to join the swelling ranks. She has been nominated to the national office and is waiting for an assignment for environmental education. “I’ve volunteered all my life,“ said Rheault, an environmental science major with a Spanish minor. “I want to help people, bring ideas to another country to help them live in a more sustainable way. I really look forward to learning a lot from them as well.” See more. 

U-Idaho Nuclear Engineering Program Director Recognized For Statewide Contributions. The Partnership for Science and Technology is recognizing Akira Tokuhiro, director of the University of Idaho’s Nuclear Engineering Program, for his energetic role in moving nuclear initiatives forward in the state. Tokuhiro will receive the 2012 Individual Energy Education Advocate Award at the Partnership for Science and Technology/Idaho Section of the American Nuclear Society Awards banquet Feb. 13 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Idaho Falls. The Energy Advocate Awards are presented to individuals or organizations that are central to noteworthy achievement in energy, nuclear energy, energy education or an environmental field of interest to members of the Partnership for Science and Technology. Tokuhiro’s work is based at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls. CAES is a public/private partnership that includes U-Idaho, Boise State University, Idaho State University and the Idaho National Laboratory. His research interests include reactor design, safety, accident analysis, convective heat transfer, biometrics, human factors, and modeling and simulation of complex processes. See more.

Michelle Bonasera’s Memory To Live On In Future Education Students. Nearly two years ago, Michelle Bonasera was returning to campus after a weekend with her family. She never made it. The vehicle carrying her and fellow Kappa Delta Andreé Maxwell went off the road just north of Moscow. Bonasera died and Maxwell was injured. In recognition of Michelle’s positive influence, members of the College of Education rallied to create the Michelle Bonasera Memorial Scholarship. Their goal was to inspire futures for other students who sought to invest in others through exercise science and health, just as Michelle had. Many were excited that the scholarship fund quickly topped $25,000 only one year after the accident. This was especially heartening to Michelle’s mother – Vicki Bonasera. “Thank you, to all of you, for helping make this scholarship a reality,” she said. Because of the generosity shown by Michelle’s friends and others who heard her story, this scholarship will be awarded for the first time in Fall 2013. Further, the endowment is continuing to grow thanks to on-going donations, including support from a Kappa Delta member who donated her first paycheck after graduating in 2012. For more information on giving to the Michelle Bonasera Memorial Scholarship or the College of Education, contact Christina Randal at (208) 885-7537 or