What Is the University of Idaho Known For?
Curious what the University of Idaho is known for? Our mission and spirit can’t be summarized in a single phrase — it takes a list to capture all the things that make our Vandal community so special.
Our One-of-a-Kind Reputation
The one and only Vandals. The University of Idaho is the only college or university with the Vandals mascot. The name was coined in 1917 by a writer for the Argonaut student newspaper, and our beloved Joe Vandal was born in the 1950s. But being a Vandal is about so much more than a mascot. It’s about opportunity, diversity and community — becoming part of the worldwide Vandal Family.
A great education for a great value. U of I has been the No. 1 Best Value Public University in the West for four years running, according to U.S. News & World Report. With over 200 areas of study across nine academic colleges, students can find the program that fits their future.
So much to learn and do. Every year, signature events welcome visitors from across the globe. The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival is among the world’s biggest educational jazz festivals, the Engineering Design EXPO showcases innovation, the Borah Symposium explores contemporary global issues, and other annual events bring the people together to celebrate and learn.
Idaho’s land-grant institution. Since U of I was founded in 1889, we’ve been improving the lives of Idahoans. We’re not only Idaho’s oldest public university, we’re also its land-grant university, which gives us a unique economic and service mission and a presence in all 44 counties.
Potatoes. We can’t talk about serving Idaho without acknowledging our state’s famous potatoes. The main U of I campus is a few hundred miles from the nearest potato field, but our world-class potato research helps keep crops healthy so you can always have fries, tots and mashed potatoes on your table.
Our Amazing Students
Research opportunities for every undergrad. Students gain real-world experience alongside our innovative faculty. Any undergraduate can conduct extracurricular research or other scholarly or creative activity, with the opportunity to receive grant funding. Check out recent student projects: a survey examining how misinformation and anxiety affect beliefs, an art exhibit that inspires conversations about aging and a biological engineering project that seeks to better understand malaria.
200+ student clubs. U of I students get involved through dozens of student organizations including service clubs, academic organizations, faith groups, and so much more — there’s even a rodeo club!
Student service. From Idaho, Vandals are helping others near and far. First-year students start their college adventure with Serving Your New Community (SYNC). The Department of Student Involvement’s leadership and volunteer programs include Alternative Service Breaks. Clubs and classes also incorporate service projects, such as this group of engineering students who helped Bolivian families improve their sanitation systems.
Mighty Vandal athletes. Nearly 400 Vandal student-athletes compete in NCAA Division I sports. The Vandals are part of the Big Sky Conference and play in athletic venues including the unique P1FCU Kibbie Dome and new ICCU Arena. Vandal fans celebrate our student-athletes by singing our memorable fight song, “Go Vandals, Go!”
Our Research Mission
STEM that explores the world. From the soil to the solar system, our scientists and engineers are discovering how the universe works and how we can work better within it, with projects ranging from huckleberry propagation to bighorn sheep health to using supercomputers understand black holes.
Scholars who support communities. Our social science and humanities scholars help us better understand the world, our communities and ourselves. Projects include uncovering trends in Idaho public health, using forensic anthropology to aid investigations and employing legal knowledge to prevent evictions.
Inspiring art and design. Artists and designers at U of I make the world a more beautiful, accessible and hopeful place, whether they’re composing music and animating videos, building affordable homes, or exploring environmental issues through interdisciplinary collaborations.
We cloned a mule! Back in 2003, a U of I-Utah State University research team became the first in the world to clone a member of the horse family. The baby mule was named Idaho Gem. This achievement has become a treasured piece of campus trivia.
Our Beautiful Home
A classic campus experience. Our Moscow campus is just like the colleges you see in the movies: beautiful historic buildings, tree-lined green spaces, and groups of students studying and spending time together. Students make themselves at home in residence halls and fraternities and sororities with chapter housing. Downtown Moscow is just a few blocks away from campus, with restaurants, shops and entertainment venues waiting to welcome students and their families.
Collaboration with Idaho’s tribes. U of I’s Office of Tribal Relations fosters respectful and mutually productive relationships between Northwest Tribes, the university and stakeholders. The Native American Student Center is a comfortable and empowering community for our Native students. U of I researchers collaborate with tribal nations on projects such as this grant that aims to support indigenous students studying STEM.
Nature on campus. The natural world blends into campus in our two beautiful arboreta. The Arboretum and Botanical Garden is lovely in all seasons with native plants and species from around the world. The Charles Houston Shattuck Arboretum includes a grove of century-old trees and an amphitheater.
The Palouse. Moscow is in the heart of the Palouse, a region of rolling hills known for its agricultural richness and spectacular beauty. Visitors enjoy scenic drives among the wheat, lentil and pea farms or taking in the view from a hike on Moscow Mountain. Just eight miles away over the Washington border, you’ll find our Palouse neighbors, the city of Pullman and Washington State University.
Incredible adventures. Moscow is surrounded by mountains, rivers, lakes, campgrounds and more opportunities for outdoor adventure. Through the U of I Outdoor Program, university community member can join group trips or rent equipment for their own excursions. Visitors can check out our guide to local and regional activities.
Your Opportunity Awaits
Ready to learn even more about the University of Idaho?