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The Friday Letter

The Friday Letter is U of I’s long-running, weekly message straight from the president to members of the Vandal family. Each week during the academic year, and with breaks for holidays, the president offers an update on Vandal teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and notable initiatives and priorities. Alumni and friends are welcome to join students, faculty and staff in receiving the newsletter. To subscribe, contact Executive Communications Manager Brian Keenan at

Letter from the President
Sept. 21, 2018
Dear Friends,
This afternoon, I’ll board a plane and head to California to support our Vandal football team as they take on the Aggies of the University of California, Davis. I’ve made a similar trek many times over the past several years – sometimes closer, sometimes farther. It’s been an honor and a pleasure to cheer on the efforts of our student-athletes as they represent our university.
But today’s journey is different. It’s a chance to see our Vandals as we make our return to the Big Sky Conference. The Aggies have played a strong couple of games to start their season. I know our Vandals will bring their skills, passion and teamwork to bear on this first conference test, and they’re not looking past the Aggies as we anticipate our conference home opener the following week.
Like U of I, UC Davis is a public, land-grant research university. We’re excited about the opportunity to play against similar foes as well as additional regional matchups in the conference. When we take on teams like Idaho State and the University of Montana later this season, it will help ignite rivalries dormant since Idaho last was so successful as a member of the Big Sky for more than 30 years. We’ll see fans of our Big Sky opponents in the dome this year, and I know many alumni and fans will be able to travel to away destinations like Cheney, Pocatello and Bozeman.
As you cheer on the Vandals this fall, know that you’re not just rooting for football players. These are young men committed to the student side of the student-athlete equation. Our football team was part of an Athletics Department that raised the bar for GPA at U of I last year; we even saw our first first-team Academic All-American since the early 1970s. Our students are continuing that success in the classroom this fall while continuing to learn and grow as members of the U of I community and also training on safety and violence prevention. I hope we can all be united around the success of our student-athletes.
The fact is, we have a lot to be excited about in Athletics. We’re focused on completing our Idaho Central Credit Union Arena project this year – we just received a $250,000 gift toward the project from our great community partners at the Best Western Plus University Inn – and getting shovels in the ground in the spring. Our volleyball team began Big Sky play this week; our soccer team opens that portion of its schedule today in the Kibbie Dome. We have an exciting season for basketball – tickets for the 2018 Vandal Holiday Hoops Showcase in Boise are already on sale. A budget challenge remains for the department, but we should continue to stay passionate about what our student-athletes are able to achieve as we take that on this year.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
Latest News from U of I

Best Western Plus University Inn Creates Investment in the Community

Since opening its doors in 1978, the Best Western Plus University Inn has supported initiatives that strengthen both the Moscow community and the University of Idaho. The hotel recently bolstered the Idaho Central Credit Union Arena project with a $250,000 gift. “The Best Western Plus University Inn has been a dependable partner for many years,” President Chuck Staben said. “Their support means a lot for the future of this project, our university and our community.” "The Best Western Plus University Inn is proud and extremely excited to support the ICCU Arena,” said Mike O’Brien, general manager. “This new arena will be a valuable campus and community resource. We look forward to welcoming arena visitors to our newly remodeled hotel for years to come.” For information on supporting the ICCU Arena, please contact Michael Perry at or 208-885-1029.

$20 Million Award Focuses on Trout, Sagebrush Genetics

The University of Idaho will share a $20 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support research aimed at uncovering and predicting how rainbow trout and sagebrush adjust to changing environments. The award, received through the NSF’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) program, is shared with Idaho EPSCoR partners at Boise State University and Idaho State University and may help inform natural resource policies and management decisions throughout the American West. U of I and the EPSCoR partners are receiving the money with $4 million in matching funds from Idaho’s Higher Education Research Council. The award will support research, education and workforce development at Idaho’s public research universities and participating undergraduate institutions for the next five years. The project will look into the genetic, environmental and social systems connected to rainbow trout and sagebrush populations, while helping researchers better understand a broad range of organisms in the Gem State.

Vandal Holiday Hoops Showcase Announces Matchups and Tickets

Basketball season is just around the corner and the men of Idaho are already preparing for an exciting weekend in Boise, with tickets to the 2018 Vandal Holiday Hoops Showcase on sale for as low as $15 per day for the general public and just $10 for students. Get tickets by visiting or calling 208-331-TIXS (8497). Suites and courtside tables can be reserved by contacting the CenturyLink Arena Office at 208-472-2115. Matchups for the Showcase have also been released. Friday, Nov. 23, gets started with UC Santa Barbara taking on Portland State at 5 p.m.  Idaho will go up against Northwest Nazarene immediately following. Saturday’s action begins with Portland State and NNU at 5 p.m., with Idaho meeting UC Santa Barbara at approximately 7 p.m. Season tickets for the Vandals in Moscow will go on sale in the coming weeks. Stay up to date on Idaho men's basketball on Twitter, and follow Idaho Athletics at, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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Physical Address:
Administration Building
Room 105
Moscow, ID


Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 3151
Moscow, ID