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

May 10, 2013

Dear Friends, 

In our recent commencement ceremonies, I’ve reminded our graduates of something Henry Ford said: “You can't build a reputation on what you’re going to do.”

As someone who revolutionized the auto industry, modernized personnel practices, and promoted modern production, Ford spoke from experience — having created a worldwide sensation with Ford Motor Company 110 years ago.

But an even greater revolution came before. With the passage of the Morrill Act came a world-changing system of universities and colleges dedicated to advancing the interests of their home states. It’s said that this is perhaps the best public policy ever created, because it changed the world. THE University of Idaho brought the power of a land-grant to our state.

Nearly 125 years ago, the visionaries who created our university, knew that talk was cheap. It’s what you did that mattered. Their goal was simple. They wanted tangible results. That’s why they dedicated the university to “…the training of Idaho’s future citizens to their highest usefulness in private life and public service.”

President Teddy Roosevelt saw the results in 1911 when he spoke from a platform of wheat produced in large part by U-Idaho research. “I know that the university represents that which shall count in the state tomorrow, and that it makes possible the growth in the … years to come.”

Your university does just that by inspiring the futures of our students and the lives of citizens who benefit from U-Idaho influenced education, leadership and research that bolsters many industries — as well as education, medicine, government, law and the military. 

This month the ranks of our alumni will swell with approximately 1,774 Vandals receiving their degrees, bringing our total graduates to 108,000. But it’s not about us. It’s about them, and what they will do with their degree as Idaho alums. Our graduates make our reputation by living out their own legacies of leading. They make a difference and will continue to do so for generations.

So when you hear someone claim they’re offering you the latest and greatest in higher education, ask this question: “What have you done of consequence?”

Too often the answer is “very little.”

But, the Vandal legacy of leading continues to benefit our state, our nation and the world.  We have a legacy of leading that continues to make a substantive difference in the lives of Idahoans and people beyond our borders.

I’m glad you’re a part of that proud tradition.

Best wishes to our newly minted graduates. We know you’ll also do us proud.


M. Duane Nellis

Final Commencement Ceremonies Tomorrow Honor 2013 Graduates. he final 2013 U-Idaho Commencement ceremonies will occur in Moscow Saturday with nearly 1,500 degrees being granted. The main commencement ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the law commencement follows at 3 p.m. Statewide nearly 1,850 degrees were granted with ceremonies also being held in Coeur d’Alene, Boise, and Idaho Falls. This includes approximately 1,264 baccalaureate degrees, 110 law degrees, 75 doctoral degrees, 22 specialist degrees and 374 master’s degrees for an all-time total of approximately 107,519 graduates and 115,317 degrees.

New Graduate Makes Name Self, University In Rangeland Management. Making the transition from the small town of Grangeville, Idaho, to earning a national reputation for her expertise in rangeland management, Julia Workman is graduating from the University of Idaho with confidence, experience and a plan. “The University of Idaho really gave me the skills and education that I need to succeed. It was such a blessing to be able to study here,” says Workman, who earned a rangeland ecology and management degree. “It was a good choice for me.” Read more.

U-Idaho Announces Katherine Aiken As Interim Provost. The University of Idaho announced today Katherine Aiken, the current dean of the U-Idaho College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences – or CLASS – will serve as interim provost and executive vice president beginning June 3. Aiken has served as the CLASS dean since 2006 and has worked at the University of Idaho for 25 years. "This selection reflects the depth of leadership inherent to a national research university," said M. Duane Nellis, president. “I agree with the selection committee that Dean Aiken demonstrates impeccable academic and leadership qualities that will help the university achieve its long-term goals." Read more.

U-Idaho Seeks Your Memories For 125th Anniversary Celebration. Friend, fan, faculty, student or staff, the University of Idaho touches many lives. As we prepare to celebrate our 125th anniversary next year, we’re inviting members of the University of Idaho community present and past to help tell our story. Do you have a favorite memory to share? Does your family photo album include some priceless photos of your parents as students, grandparents as 4-H members, or events of the day from a son or daughter? Please email us about your discoveries at

Jump in Fall Admission Applications To College Of Law Bucks National Trend. Fall admission applications to the University of Idaho’s College of Law are up nearly 9 percent – defying a steep decline in new student applications at most peer institutions nationwide. The University of Idaho College of Law is the only American Bar Association-accredited law school in the state. As of May 1, its applications total 625, up from 574 this time last year. Of its 199 U.S. peers, Idaho’s law school is one of only eight reporting an increase in admissions applications. Read more.

New Scholarship Recognizes Mentor’s Investment In Others. It is important to acknowledge the key people who influenced your college career. This was the attitude of Clint Marshall ‘97 when he established the Lennard Petersen and Clint Marshall Scholarship Endowment in the College of Business and Economics. “Lennard placed a high value on the importance of family and community,” said Marshall. “He was a consistent presence in many of the local children’s lives in Castleford, Idaho, often helping them to find work or providing transportation and encouraging them to stay in school. He was there for me when I needed some guidance during my sophomore year at UI. He deserves to be recognized for all the lives he’s touched.” “Scholarships are critical to providing access to our award winning business programs,” said College of Business and Economics Dean Mario Reyes. “I also appreciate Clint’s service on the college advisory board. He is a great example of our successful younger alumni who are kindly giving back and providing support to the next generation of students.” For more information about giving to the College of Business and Economics, contact Toni Broyles at or (208) 885-2634.