University of Idaho Enrolls Highest Number of New National Merit Scholars in NW

Monday, January 23 2012

Top number of new student scholars among public institutions in the Northwest

MOSCOW, Idaho – The best and the brightest students who started college this academic year in the Northwest go to the University of Idaho.

According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s recently released 2010-11 annual report, the University of Idaho has more new National Merit Scholars than any other public institution in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana.

“We are pleased to be the number one destination for new National Merit Scholars in the Northwest,” said University of Idaho President M. Duane Nellis. “These tremendous students represent not only the top one percent nationally of their graduating classes, but the type of students who are drawn to the University of Idaho for its promise of leadership and success.”

Junior Clare Haley exemplifies the leadership and success of all of the university’s National Merit Scholars. Since coming to the University of Idaho, the Idaho Falls native has been active on the University Honors Program Student Advisory Board, worked on a Habitat for Humanity home-building project in Hartsville, S.C., and took part in a school-building project in a small village in Costa Rica. An international studies major, Haley’s success and growth at the university has been fostered by access to top-notch faculty members who make “an incredible effort to spend one-on-one time” with their students.

This week, Haley joins other University of Idaho students in Boise for Legislative Day on Jan. 25. During meetings with lawmakers, the student volunteer ambassadors will talk about the value of higher education and how the University of Idaho’s statewide reach benefits and impacts all of Idaho—including Haley’s hometown.

Timothy E. McGuire, president of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, said that the scholars are recognized for their academic achievement and potential for success.

“All of them demonstrate, in their own separate ways, their desire to learn through hard
work and their ability to set and reach goals,” McGuire wrote in the annual report.

Seventeen of the 19 new National Merit Scholars enrolled in Idaho’s public universities are enrolled at the University of Idaho, which has a total of 74 National Merit Scholars.

U-Idaho’s number of new National Merit Scholars surpasses those who enrolled this year at even the University of Washington, which has 14 new National Merit Scholars, according to the annual report figures from the National Merit corporation. UW is roughly four times larger than U-Idaho.

Here is how the new National Merit Scholar enrollment breaks down for public universities in the Northwest:

University of Idaho 17
University of Washington 14
University of Oregon 13
Montana State University 10
Oregon State University 9
University of Montana 5
Western Washington University 4
Washington State University 3
University of Wyoming 2
Boise State University 1

The National Merit Scholar Corporation’s annual report is available online:

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About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit