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 22, 2013

Dear Friends,

What an exciting week!

We’re in the midst of the world-famous Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.

It’s in its 46th year, and it’s as exciting as ever. The Moscow campus and communities are alive with students, world-class musicians and music.

Tonight’s featured performers include professionals and students. The world-class talents of three different groups will appear on three stages. Featured will be TAKE 6, the Jeff Hamilton Trio, and the String Summit – featuring the first-ever collaboration of Regina Carter, Sara Caswell and Aaron Weinstein.

However, the talent doesn’t stop there.  We’ll also hear some exceptional high school students in the Young Artists Concert followed by Hamp’s Club performances in the Kibbie Dome. We have hundreds of students from across the country who join together with many international guests to not only learn musical lessons, but also learn to play for the joy of it.

If you can’t join us in person, you can join in some of the excitement and music by visiting our website.

Why do so many come to Moscow, Idaho for the Jazz Festival each year?  This year’s theme captures the reason: we’re ‘Inspiring Futures through Jazz.’  Legendary performers, committed educators and eager students gather for four outstanding days of workshops, clinics and performances focused on a truly American art form.

As John Clayton, our award-winning artistic director said: “We’re talking about thousands of students who touch the music…they’re part of the excitement.  For them to have this opportunity to learn and interact with people from around the world is truly life changing.” 

We inspire futures through our commitment to students, which inspires them to achieve excellence in their fields of endeavor.  The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival has seen this confirmed in the results. We’ve inspired students and celebrate the acclaim they receive. This includes being the first university ever to earn the nation’s top arts award – the National Medal of the Arts  -- in 2008.  Last year it was honored with the Magrath University Community Engagement Exemplary Program Award.

This international attraction is made possible by many of you as well as corporate sponsors like Potlatch Corp., Alaska Airlines, Gritman Medical Center, Avista and Pepsi. We also get help from many instrument makers and audio specialist such as Cannonball, Carlson Audio Systems, Ludwig, Manhasset, Sabian and Steinway. 

To everyone who joins in making this event a success, I want to say thank you for investing in the future!


M. Duane Nellis

Latest Academy of Sciences Honors Recognize U-Idaho Alumnus. The National Academy of Sciences will honor 18 individuals with awards in recognition of their outstanding scientific achievements in a wide range of fields spanning the physical, biological, and social sciences. One of the honorees, Asif Ghazanfar of Princeton University, is an alumnus of the University of Idaho. He is one of to recipient of this year’s Troland Research Award for his work in the neural basis for primate communication. The Troland Award recognizes unusual achievement by investigators under 40. Read more.

McClure Symposium Packed State Capitol: National leaders formed panel to discuss U.S. fiscal issues. More than 240 attendees packed the Idaho State Capitol Auditorium on Feb. 19  to hear U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, both of Idaho; U.S. Sen. Mark Warner; former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming; and Maya MacGuineas, president of the non-profit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget share their thoughts on the fate of the economy during the McClure Symposium’s panel discussion on federal fiscal issues. Idaho Public Television aired the two-hour program live, and it will also be available online. Panelists discussed the state of the nation’s fiscal environment and offered possible solutions for overcoming the nation’s financial challenges. Budget sequestration, tax reform policy, as well as tax code reform and health care costs in relation to tax reform topped discussion by the panelists. Read more. 

Plant Breeder Jack Brown Assumes Wheat Variety Development Duties. U-Idaho plant breeder Jack Brown will expand his efforts to develop valuable new wheat varieties for Idaho and Northwest farmers.

In his 20 years at the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences faculty, Brown’s work has focused on canola, rapeseed and mustard varieties. His IdaGold mustard is used by some of the nation’s largest mustard makers because of its superior qualities. Brown will continue to develop new oilseed varieties. With more than a dozen canola, rapeseed and mustard varieties available to growers, Brown is most identified with the oilseeds that turn thousands of acres across the Northwest golden each spring and summer.

“We are fortunate that we have a successful plant breeder on staff who has the diverse experience working with crops and with growers,” said John Foltz, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences interim dean at Moscow. With wheat and barley sales worth a projected $1.1 billion to Idaho growers last year, the college recognized the importance of having an experienced scientist overseeing wheat variety development for northern Idaho and the Inland Northwest, Foltz said.

Engbergs Support Students Building Better Futures. Mark Engberg ’84 founder and principal of the Oregon-based COLAB Architecture and Urban Design LLC, is dedicated to the University of Idaho’s College of Art and Architecture, or CAA. He’s drawn to the program’s practical approach to architecture, which enhances students’ technical skills. Central to his commitment, he said, is his experience seeking an affordable, quality education offering a strong professional foundation.

Mark and his wife Laurie support several CAA projects including the Marke and Laurie Engberg Scholarship Endowment and the Eduardo Alvarez Studio Complex. The permanence of endowed scholarships particularly intrigued the Engbergs. “The longevity of the endowment has much more power than the amount given,” Mark explained. “A hundred years from now there will be a scholarship in place for students.” The proposed Eduardo Alvarez Studio Complex will be a learning space that empowers students through hands-on building experiences. “The first time you get to build something or experience a construction site firsthand is when real learning happens,” Mark said. CAA Dean Mark Hoversten shares the Engbergs’ enthusiasm for real-world learning experiences. “We need to build things,” Hoversten said. “Our students need to experience construction and this is the type of project to make that happen.” For more information about giving to the College of Art and Architecture, contact Reed Davaz McGowan at or (208) 885-6499.