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Friday Letter Archive

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.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Oct. 16, 2020
Dear Vandals,
A vital piece of Idaho’s agricultural engine is the pest and pathogen research conducted by University of Idaho faculty at the Parma Research and Extension Center.

Researchers at Parma are able to identify airborne plant pathogens and notify local farmers so they can respond before they see damage to their crops. That benefit is crucial in a state where agriculture is fundamental, contributing $16 billion to the economy.

The Parma Research and Extension Center is also a critical location for research in breeding, production, storage and related problems of vegetables, fruit, cereals and seed plants, along with other specialty crops.

The work of the six faculty members in Parma and their students pays dividends. A 2018 study found that $1.41 is generated for every dollar spent at Parma – a contribution that supports the hops, cereals, potatoes and fruits grown in the surrounding fields and throughout the Northwest.

Work at the Canyon County site has been aimed at ensuring the continued growth and success of the agricultural industry in Idaho for 70 years, and facilities are starting to show their age. Labs are housed in spaces cobbled together in structures from the 1950s and '60s, as well as modular buildings. Some of the microscopes are older than our faculty researchers. None of the labs were designed to support the needs of modern molecular science.

Supporting research on the state’s top commodities is one reason why our College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has been working with the state’s agriculture industry on an upgrade. The proposed 12,000-square-foot Idaho Center for Plant and Soil Health is a $7 million project funded largely with private donations. Eight of the state’s commodity groups, private growers and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences have together contributed about $4 million to the center. I recently went before the state's Permanent Building Fund Advisory Council in further support of the project.

The new center is among the University of Idaho’s top priorities because it will better equip our scientists to address pests, production methods and other issues affecting Idaho agriculture. A contract for design will be finalized shortly, keeping the university on track to open an expanded and refurbished building in 2023.

Partnership is pivotal in helping Idaho farmers statewide become even more competitive in their industry. As the state’s land-grant institution, the University of Idaho has an essential stake in our collective success – whether that’s preparing our students to fill needed jobs or conducting research that helps our industries and communities thrive.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

The New Sound of Idaho Marches Onward

COVID-19 changed marching bands all over the nation. The Sound of Idaho found a way to march on through percussion and a unique arrangement of "Go Vandals, Go." The changes took the band in a fresh and exciting direction. Learn more and watch the video >

Researchers Study Water Quality Across Idaho, Around the World

Payette Lake near McCall is a slice of heaven for Heather Crawford, a master’s student studying the lake's health. Crawford hopes to stay in McCall after graduation and use her knowledge to protect the region’s waterways. Learn more >

Artist Teaches Painting Using Smartphones, Instagram as a Guide

Some professors ask students to put down their phones in class. Aaron Johnson, assistant professor in the College of Art and Architecture’s Art + Design program, encouraged his students to pick them up. Watch the video >
Did you know?
University of Idaho Earns $30K from Dairy West to Support Sports Nutrition: U of I is one of six organizations Dairy West is partnering with to educate athletes about the importance of fueling for performance and highlight dairy foods as an optimal fueling choice. Learn more >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Oct. 9, 2020
Dear Vandals,
Preserving and celebrating the University of Idaho’s traditions are what SArbies are all about.

SArb – the Student Alumni Relations Board – is one of the first organizations new students encounter on campus in Moscow. The group organizes the Vandal Walk that freshmen take to start their U of I career. SArb enthusiasm is infectious, setting a tone for the Brave and Bold Vandal Pride we carry with us throughout our time here – and in the decades that follow.

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of SArb. Former Alumni Director Dick Johnston created the group in 1970 to bring more Vandal spirit to campus and foster connection between current students and alumni – many of whom are employers eager to hire hard-working graduates.

The Vandal Pride that SArb members bring to the table has remained just as passionate throughout the past half century. I know. I spent time as a member of SArb as a student, and later interacted with the group as a member of the Alumni Association Board.

The direct student-alumni interaction also reassures alumni that today’s Vandals continue to raise the bar for our university as they prepare for their chosen field. Regardless of major, the No. 1 request the University of Idaho gets from alumni is for more information about what students are up to.

Planning the various events such as spring and fall Parent and Family Weekends, the annual Easter Egg Hunt and the Grad Fair program takes a tremendous amount of work for SArb members, led this year by President Jake Milleson. It’s a job that provides meaningful leadership opportunities and good life skills that SArbies utilize long after they graduate. The group reinforces what’s possible from a positive and full university experience.

Many SArbies are also members of the Homecoming Committee, which has been working day and night to plan this week’s "Stay-at-Homecoming" virtual activities. Despite the cancellation of many in-person activities this fall, the traditions that connect all members of the Vandal Family will continue. The 2020 Homecoming Royalty will be crowned tonight as usual, on Facebook Live. Be sure to watch the Idaho Central Credit Union Fireworks Extravaganza beginning at 9:30 p.m. Pacific time Saturday.

A SArb 50th anniversary celebration planned as part of the 2020 Homecoming festivities has been pushed to 2021 amid the pandemic. Until then, I’m looking forward to celebrating our Homecoming traditions in a new way this weekend. Thank you to all of the SArbie alumni out there who gave their time to the university while on campus. Current SArbies continue to deliver on our traditions with their trademark enthusiasm. We can all be proud of them.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Submit Your Vandal Family Pictures

University of Idaho alumni are asked to contribute favorite photos from their time as a student to an ever-growing Vandal Family Photo Album assembled by the library in conjunction with the Office of Alumni Relations. Learn more about the project >

Learning Minerals Through Minecraft

To reach learning goals and teach a field course from home, two faculty from the Department of Geography and Geological Sciences built worlds in Minecraft, a video game focused on exploration and construction. Read more >

Cybersecurity Students See Opportunities

When most people think cybersecurity, they often envision a hacker with green text in a dark room. But that’s a stereotype, said Computer Science major Sydney Petrehn, who wants to change the way the field is viewed. Read more >

Virtual Conversation with Common Read Author Is Oct. 20: Cristina Henriquez, author of "The Book of Unknown Americans," will speak at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, as part of the Fall 2020 Common Read. 

Theatre Arts Presents Virtual Reading of 'Happy Mess':  A free reading of "Happy Mess" by Master of Fine Arts playwriting candidate Ian Paul Messersmith takes place tonight through Sunday.

Law Students Step Up as Poll Workers: (From the Moscow-Pullman Daily News) U of I Law students in Moscow will work the polls on Election Day to help solve a poll-worker shortage and fulfill their civic duties.

U of I, WSU Team Up for Community Campaign: Vandals and Cougs share both the Palouse and a love for our communities. Look for Joe and Butch's Pullman Highway billboard to reinforce face coverings and social distancing.

Pride points
Autumn Is an Amazing Time in the University of Idaho Arboretum: Spokane's KXLY-TV recently took viewers on an aerial tour of the beautiful fall foliage on display this time of year. Watch the video >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Oct. 2, 2020
Dear Vandals,
Recruiting new Vandals is a year-round endeavor that every faculty, staff member and alumnus can help with, but autumn is a particularly critical time in the recruitment process.

October is “Next Steps Month” in Idaho, a time when the state’s high school seniors are encouraged to think about their options and take that next step toward a college education and a successful career. Idaho students can apply to any of 10 colleges and universities in the state with a single application, including the University of Idaho. The State Board of Education even held a virtual college fair this week to encourage students to evaluate their options.

“Next Steps Month” is also time for all of us to encourage the prospective students we know to think about their futures. Some will go directly to college next year; others will not. Some recent graduates have deferred a year because of uncertainty caused by the pandemic, and others are evaluating whether a college education is worth the cost.

Our collective job is to explain and promote the value of going on to higher ed. You’ve heard me say it, and the studies back it up: A college education makes us healthier, wealthier and wiser.

Statistics show students who go on to higher education earn $1.2 million more on average over their lifetimes if they earn a degree. College graduates also tend to live nine years longer on average and are more likely to be more involved in their communities.

There are many, many ways to deliver that message.

I took that idea to Teton High School last week in Driggs. Many schools are closed to in-person visits because of the pandemic, so a big thank you to Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme for allowing me – using appropriate health and safety precautions – to talk to your students.

Last week’s visit was part of the University of Idaho’s Enroll Idaho program. The tour program provides financial aid information, advising and other resources to school assemblies so students understand how to apply, finance and get excited about going on to the college or university of their choice. Enroll Idaho has been on hiatus since March, so it is nice to once again bring this message to future Vandals.

College recruitment looks a little different during a pandemic, which is why programs like our Virtual Campus Tour, Virtual Vandal Viewbook and other online resources have been so useful.

As a destination campus, it is still important to bring high school seniors to the University of Idaho as they make decisions about their next steps. Saturday’s in-person Envision event will be the first in a series of on-campus recruitment programs this fall aimed at marketing our campus experience. Our alma mater has always been ranked in the top 6% of all public colleges and universities in the country, but this year was also selected by U.S. News and World Report as the No. 1 Best Value of all public universities in the West.

Alumni play a pivotal role in student recruitment as well. Last year, members of the Vandal Family wrote thousands of congratulatory cards to admitted students sharing their stories of the benefit of a University of Idaho education. This fall, we are working with alums to participate virtually in recruitment event panels.

Alumnus and architect Mark Engberg '84 took a unique approach to helping recruit new Vandals. Working with his next-door neighbor, who happens to be an award-winning videographer, he traded house designs for a beautiful video spot highlighting Idaho and our university as a great place to get an education. We’ll be using it on social channels and elsewhere. Thank you, Mark!

The University of Idaho offers $30 million in scholarships and waivers to help students break down the financial barrier of higher education. Even so, it is up to all of us to encourage our state’s young people to see the value of a college degree to their future career.

“Next Steps Month” activities are an example of how we can help the state’s students elevate themselves by going on, and I challenge each of you to help your alma mater by encouraging this year’s high school graduates to visit our campus.

If every member of the Vandal Family helps recruit three prospects, that would normally result in at least one new student. Recently, a State Board of Education member commented on how committed and proud our alumni are. Let’s reinforce that distinction by ensuring the Gem State’s high school seniors take their next step toward becoming a Vandal.  

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Homecoming Marches on Amid COVID-19

The 112th homecoming at the University of Idaho may feel more like a "stay-at-homecoming," but there are several activities planned to make the celebration meaningful and fun. Read more >

Students Research Across the World

Research at the University of Idaho often takes place outside of the lab, with student experiments occurring all across the Gem State and beyond our borders. Check out some recent projects >

U of I Celebrates Idaho Agriculture Oct. 9

A top U.S. Department of Agriculture leader will explore the promise of new technologies and innovative practices for the nation’s agricultural production and its future capability during the University of Idaho Celebrating Idaho Agriculture event Friday, Oct. 9. Learn more >
Pride points
Chemistry Professor Earns Fulbright to Research, Teach in England: Kristopher Waynant, whose work includes building calcium sensors for NASA, recently earned a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to teach and do research at Great Britain’s University of Exeter. Learn more >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Sept. 25, 2020
Dear Vandals,
Water covers 880 square miles of Idaho and makes up 1% of our state.

Meeting the needs of agriculture, industry, human consumption and recreation without compromising the health of that water is important to our future – and a task we’re willing to tackle at the University of Idaho.

Few things could be more critical to human health and progress than clean water. Since my return, I have been impressed by how much work the university is doing to study this resource. 

The list of University of Idaho water-related research is long, but here are a few recent and notable examples:

  • Ensuring sustainability of the water that irrigates Idaho agriculture and grows our food supply is a complicated but important task. Extension faculty track snowpack, water consumption, crop yields and plant growth across the state to get a complete picture of water quality and availability. From water quality monitoring to hydrology and irrigation management, work is being conducted across the state to support this critical element of Idaho’s agriculture industry.
  • Master’s student Heather Crawford in the College of Natural Resources is studying Payette Lake and how waves and boat wakes impact the shoreline. The Big Payette Lake Water Quality Council organized funding for Heather to investigate how these disturbances influence shoreline erosion. The work will help policymakers across the Northwest gauge water quality issues and protect our lakes while also maintaining the ability to recreate. 
  • Toxic algae blooms erupt in roughly 20 to 25 Gem State lakes each summer. These blooms harm animals and humans and reduce recreation opportunities. On Fernan Lake in Kootenai County, Professor Frank Wilhelm investigated their cause. His team has found that 81% of the phosphorus entering the lake never leaves, allowing the element to build up year after year. Their findings will help lake managers develop mitigation plans to ensure the safety of its users.
  • College of Agricultural and Life Sciences researchers Greg Moller, Dan Strawn and Martin Baker partnered with food processing companies in the Magic Valley and others to improve water quality using their Clean Water Machine. The machine recovers excess phosphorus and nitrogen from wastewater and has municipal and agricultural applications throughout the state. The project has garnered regional and national attention and continues to receive accolades. Just last week, the team secured a $1 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help continue that research on algae-impacted waters.
  • Researchers at our Center for Ecohydraulics Research in Boise are using innovative laboratory experiments with invisible simulated sediment to “see” through riverbeds and study water quality, cost-effective sensors to quantify water movement between rivers and aquifers, as well as acoustic river “noise” measurements to continuously monitor river stability. Funded with both state and federal National Science Foundation grants, their work has broad implications for river management and restoration in the state.
  • In Bonneville County, our Extension educators promote xeriscaping – a form of landscaping with low-water plants to conserve resources – through a demonstration garden and events including the annual Greater Idaho Falls Area Water Festival. Their message about the supply and demand for water helps educate fifth and sixth graders across East Idaho.
  • The university’s Water Sustainability Initiative – a series of five research projects funded with micro grants from my office – will allow teams to collaborate on water and sustainability issues that will attract government, academic and industry partners. The projects focus on everything from water access at the Taylor Wilderness Research Station to crop sensors and satellite mapping.
Sustainability of our water resources is paramount across the Gem State and the world. University of Idaho researchers are addressing the issue on multiple fronts as they look for solutions to water-related challenges. We intend to be global leaders in sustainability and remain the go-to university for water-related research. 
Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Homecoming 2020: 'Sweet Home U of I'

Take part in a mix of in-person and virtual Homecoming events the week of Oct. 4-10, including the 112th annual Homecoming Stationary Parade and Idaho Central Credit Union Fireworks Extravaganza. See the schedule >

Physician Shortage Spurs Support for U of I Medical Students: Idaho WWAMI is critical to the Gem State's physician pipeline. John Huckabay writes about the importance of this 48-year-old doctor training program.

Student Investigates Yellowstone's Impact on Local Landforms: Chloë Weeks' research took her to untouched places throughout Montana’s Gallatin Valley and Yellowstone National Park to study the region’s geology.

Kevin Chang Featured on WalletHub's 2020 City Driving List: College of Engineering Associate Professor Kevin Chang was featured in WalletHub’s "2020 Best and Worst Cities to Drive In." 

Grant to Research Indigenous-Based STEM Education: The Cultivating Indigenous Research Communities for Leadership in Education and STEM Alliance grant builds on existing partnerships with tribal communities and tribal colleges in six Western states. 

Did you know?
Researchers Assess Animals' Susceptibility to Coronavirus: Whether coronavirus can use farm animals or North American bats as intermediate hosts to spread the novel pathogen SARS-CoV2 is being explored by three University of Idaho researchers. Learn more >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Sept. 18, 2020
Dear Vandals,
We have a great story to tell at the University of Idaho – a story that’s getting noticed on a national stage.  

Already ranked in the top 6% of all public universities, U.S. News and World Report released rankings this week that placed us among the Top 50 “Best Value” schools in the country and as the highest-ranked public institution in the West in that category.

The 2021 U.S. News rankings give the University of Idaho even more of which to be proud. We rose 42 spots to No. 37 in the Best Value rankings compared to a year ago, and are No. 3 among all public universities, behind only the University of North Carolina and University of Virginia.

A high Best Value ranking doesn’t mean we’re cheap. The top two schools on the list are Harvard and Princeton. The ranking looks at our academic quality related to our price and financial aid picture. It helps that we are able to offer $30 million in scholarships and waivers each year, including to the more than 50 Vandal Promise scholars who are getting up to $5,000 each in need-based aid thanks to generous donor support.

The University of Idaho also improved its ranking as a top 100 public university in the U.S. News Best Colleges category – moving up six slots to No. 83 for 2021. We’re a top National University and appear on several of the magazine’s specialty lists, including “Best Colleges for Veterans” and as a top performer for social mobility. The magazine singled out our undergraduate business, engineering and computer science programs for accolades.

This week’s U.S. News rankings affirm what we already know: Vandals receive a transformational experience at a reasonable price and can look forward to a career at the end of their studies. They recognize that not only are we delivering on our statewide mission, we’re elevating the lives of Vandals who graduate from the University of Idaho prepared for careers and life beyond the classroom.

Even amid uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, a Vandal degree holds a lot of promise in the eyes of employers – and employees. Payscale reports that University of Idaho graduates earn the highest starting salary of any public university in the state, and a recent university survey found the vast majority of 2018 and 2019 graduates have either secured a job or are furthering their education.

I especially want to thank U of I faculty and staff throughout the state for helping move the needle on these rankings over the past year. We are now recognized as the No. 1 Best Value Public University in the West, and we are planning a marketing campaign to make sure everyone knows it. Improvements like these provide yet another point of proof that Vandals are stepping up and excelling regardless of the obstacles. It’s the Vandal Way.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

National Project Tackles Potato Virus Threats

Researcher and potato virus expert Alex Karasev will lead a $5.8 million USDA project that will tackle a pair of viruses causing major losses to the potato industry. Read more >

Borah Symposium Returns Sept. 28-29

Lectures at the 2020 Borah Symposium — featuring a former Canadian prime minister and the leader of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate — will be offered online. See the schedule >

Auditorium Chamber Music Series Returns for 34th Season: The 2020-21 season of the Auditorium Chamber Music Series will continue the tradition of educational performances by some of the world’s finest performers beginning Nov. 10.

Senior Named Structural Materials Scholar for Second Year: College of Engineering senior Jadzia Graves has been named The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society Structural Materials Division Scholar for 2021, the second year in a row.

Prichard Art Gallery to Display Student Art: The Prichard Art Gallery will feature work from University of Idaho Master of Fine Arts recipients in the exhibit “In-Between Places,” through Oct. 11.

Funding Assists ‘New Beginnings for Tribal Students’ Project: Degree attainment for tribal students at the University of Idaho received a boost thanks to $289,000 in funding from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Sept. 11, 2020
Dear Vandals,
The community we value here at the University of Idaho goes well beyond our campus borders.

We have a stake in the success not only of Moscow and our neighbors on the Palouse, but in each of the 44 counties that make up the Gem State, the industries that hire our Vandals and the 11 Native American tribes across the Northwest that share our commitment to improving educational opportunities.

Idaho helps Idaho, and we wouldn’t be able to provide the transformational learning experience that has been our mission for 130 years without support from the greater world we inhabit. Vandals take pride in giving back through their work as community leaders and volunteers. That strength of this community has been reaffirmed over the past six months in the wake of a pandemic that has changed much of the way we do business.

Gritman Medical Center is an exceptional partner and has deployed medical personnel to swab over 8,000 of our Moscow-based students, faculty and staff for COVID-19, which has resulted in a 1.1% positivity rate. Now that our university COVID-19 testing lab is up and running, the university is able to use excess capacity to help test long-term care facilities here in the community and nursing students at Lewis-Clark State College. As the university is the only institution in the state with this kind of testing ability, we will also be using extra capacity to supplement the state’s COVID-19 testing needs during this winter’s flu season.

In the absence of many in-person county fairs, University of Idaho Extension employees throughout the state have been working long hours to ensure annual 4-H livestock auctions and programs continue in a new way. That’s happened in places such as Kootenai County, where 400 4-H students sold their animals in a virtual auction that brought in more money for the students than a year ago. A single steer was sold multiple times in Washington County, raising $70,000 to benefit a resident facing health issues. It’s an effort that wouldn’t be possible without funding from counties, which contribute more than $5 million each year in support of Extension’s research-based endeavors. 

Here in Moscow, the University of Idaho is proud to support the community’s economy through organizations including the Partnership for Economic Prosperity, the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport. Amid COVID-19, we also proudly endorse the FARE Idaho Healthy Pledge, a commitment by restaurants, coffee shops and other small businesses to safe and healthy practices. Moscow is consistently recognized as one of the best college towns in America because of the welcoming and energetic feeling these groups bring to the community.  

It takes all of us working together to support our region. The impacts of COVID-19 have strengthened our community bonds and that newfound strength will most certainly provide extra assurance for a bright future in Vandal Country.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Students Record Gravity Waves Using Weather Balloons: An eight-student team will chase a solar eclipse to Chile this winter to learn about the weather caused by a rare event. The students are practicing their data collection with weather balloons.

Alumna Lands Dream Marketing Job: Savannah Johnson '19 has embarked on a career she loves with outdoor retailer We Are Camp after getting a bachelor’s degree in apparel, textiles and design.

Distinguished Career Influences Generations of Designers: Bruce Haglund has a storied career in sustainability, has been recognized for leadership in the field and has influenced generations of design professionals from the College of Art and Architecture.

Engineering Students Earn Money to Pursue Nuclear Programs: Graduate student Kristen Geddes and undergraduate Tyler Sand received fellowship and scholarship awards through the U.S. Department of Energy totaling more than $160,000. 

'Masquatch' Encourages Face Coverings

We all need to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a face covering, practicing social distancing and washing our hands frequently. "Masquatch," a social distancing champion and face covering mascot in the University of Idaho's College of Natural Resources, is setting that example. See more photos >
Pride points
10 Vandals Among Accomplished Under 40: Congratulations to the University of Idaho employees and alumni who have been recognized among the Idaho Business Review's Accomplished Under 40 for 2020. Read about the honorees >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Sept. 4, 2020
Dear Vandals,
The Gem State provided the roots for Idaho Central Credit Union Arena.

Under construction next to the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center, the ICCU Arena will serve as the home for Vandal Basketball, academic activities and community events, enhancing our ability to recruit and retain quality students for years to come. It has been envisioned and needed in the Moscow community for more than half a century and will fill a void for event space on the Palouse. 

It’s a stunning facility, and one that has grown from Idaho trees into the Pacific Northwest’s largest wood-engineered structure. The 854 beams weigh a combined 442 tons and the largest is 58 feet long. More than that, it’s a true partnership with the forest products industry that contributes more than 31,000 jobs and $2.2 billion to the state’s economy each year.

We have worked hard to keep monies spent on the arena in Idaho. Idaho Forest Group in Lewiston and Laclede and Bennett Lumber Products in Princeton harvested trees from the University of Idaho Experimental Forest and surrounding public and private lands. Boise Cascade in Homedale and QB Quality Laminators in Salmon processed the lamstock into glulam beams for the walls and roof structure. PotlatchDeltic in St. Maries processed finished veneer plyboard for the roof. Tri-Pro Cedar Products in Oldtown processed the finished cedar siding to create a modern architectural design.

That group effort at different stages of the process demonstrates what’s possible in mass timber construction – itself more sustainable than a similar structure built with concrete or steel.

Watch the progress of ICCU Arena construction at uidaho.edu/arena.
The event space will be a regional hub for sports tournaments, lectures, concerts, festivals, trade shows, graduations and community activities.

Teaching is part of our land-grant mission, and the ICCU Arena will serve as a living laboratory for generations of Vandals – where it has already shown its versatility as a classroom. University of Idaho students studying architecture, natural resources and engineering have already contributed to the project in their coursework. It will continue to provide a thriving learning space for generations of Vandals.

I cannot thank our generous donors, alumni and students enough for helping make this $51 million project a reality. We are incredibly close to the finish line, and actively fundraising for the final pieces of the project. There are still opportunities to get involved if you are interested in helping us realize the full vision for this beautiful facility.

Work will continue over the next year as we ready the building for opening in time for the 2021-22 Vandal Basketball season. A live feed is set up on the ICCU Arena website for those who want to watch construction progress.

This project showcases what can be accomplished when the university partners with Idaho industry. It is Brave, Bold and yet another example of the University of Idaho leading the way. From its roots in trees grown throughout Idaho to the impact it will have on the Palouse, it’s exciting to see this long-envisioned, beautiful structure come to life.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

On the Lookout for Plant Diseases

Based out of the University of Idaho’s Parma Research and Extension Center, Lara Brown traveled from field to field during summer 2020 to look for signs of soil-borne diseases as part of her master’s work. Learn more about Lara's research >

Research Team Earns $6M Grant to Battle 
Lyme Disease, Surging Tick-Borne Illnesses

U of I is part of a four-year NSF project with the University of Nevada, Reno and Dartmouth College to design a data framework that will track movement of tick-borne diseases across the U.S. Read more >

Idaho WWAMI Students Volunteer Ringside with Parkinson’s Patients at Gritman Medical Center

Students in the Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program began volunteering with Rock Steady Boxing in 2019 to become more involved in the community and enhance their medical education. Read more >
Pride points
Vandals Earn Stats Perform FCS Preseason All-America Honors: Vandal Football players Christian Elliss and Tre Walker have again been recognized with Stats Perform FCS Preseason All-America Second Team honors. Read more >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Aug. 28, 2020
Dear Vandals,
Despite a world pandemic, we continue to deliver transformational learning experiences to University of Idaho students.

While course delivery looks different to allow more distance and frequent cleaning, these precautions are allowing the university to hold classes in person. COVID-19 testing, thermal scanning and the Healthy Vandal Pledge are unique tactics aimed at keeping the Vandal Family as healthy as possible.

Students are engaging in classrooms limited to 50% capacity, with many seats marked as unavailable. Teaching technology has been added or updated. Many of the university’s large event spaces – including the Vandal Ballroom and International Ballroom – have been converted to full-time classrooms.

Some of the changes are more noticeable than others. In the Lionel Hampton School of Music, performance-based courses have moved outdoors, into the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center, or onto campus tennis courts. Other classes have set up in outside amphitheaters to take advantage of late summer weather. These sounds fill the campus that has sat empty since March and are truly music to my ears.

We’ve also embraced the HyFlex teaching format, allowing half of the students to attend in-person one day and the other half at the next class meeting. Students not in class are connecting via Zoom to keep in-person numbers down. Our IT teams have tripled the capacity of Zoom-capable rooms to make this effort possible.

All students must be tested for COVID-19 or otherwise cleared to enter a classroom. Instructors in each course receive a list of students who are ineligible to attend class – for reasons both related and unrelated to COVID-19 testing. Approximately 1% of COVID-19 tests have come back positive through our in-house testing program in collaboration with Gritman Medical Center, and 21 students are currently being cared for in an on-campus isolation facility after testing positive.

We’re still at the starting line, but I remain optimistic about our ability to continue this in-person experience for our students. It has been inspiring to watch the dedication of those who have worked hard over just a few short months to make it all happen. I am truly proud of what they have accomplished.

Our students deserve to be here on campus, learning directly from their instructors. I want to thank those faculty and students who are working with us to deliver quality, live instruction that only our engaged and dedicated faculty can provide. We are committed and working hard to keep classrooms open, but we must stand ready to shift to online/remote delivery should the environment and advice from public health officials change.

Fall 2020 hasn’t been without its difficulties, but I’m confident that by working together to keep the campus safe, we will be able to chart our path through this pandemic. So far, our Vandals have shown themselves up to the challenge.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

A Welcome Return for Our Vandals

We greeted the University of Idaho's Class of 2024 in a Brave and Bold way over the past week on campus. Watch the highlights >

Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival To Be Virtual Event in 2021

The 54th annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival set for Feb. 25-27, 2021, will be a special virtual event, enabling students from around the world to perform and learn from the brightest stars in jazz. Read more >

Engineering Grad Student Lauded for Leadership in Class

Robin Roper didn’t have to look far to find her love for chemical engineering. Robin's father was a physicist and the family's work made her think pursuing science would be a good way to make an impact. Read more >
Did you know?
Researchers Study Genetic Diversity in Wolves: University of Idaho researchers recently published a study concluding that harvesting wolves appears to affect genetic diversity at the group and population levels. Learn more >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Aug. 21, 2020
Dear Vandals,
It’s a great feeling to have students return to the University of Idaho.

Vandals are mostly back on campus and in the community in advance of Monday’s start of classes. We’re also in the midst of welcoming our newest class into the family with events that continue into next week here in Moscow and at our centers around the state.

We’re all wearing face coverings – many silver and gold – and the return to the residence halls and Greek chapter facilities has been staggered to accommodate smaller groups. The landscape looks a little different, but it’s nice to have the hustle and bustle of students back here in Moscow.

That vibrant buzz has been missing since March and I hope we never lose it again. There just really is no substitute for the direct student/instructor interaction and the unique discussions that come from being together in person.

All of our students have either been or soon will be swabbed for COVID-19 through an in-house lab, a partnership with Gritman Medical Center in Moscow. Our testing program so far has yielded a positivity rate of less than 1% of our student, faculty and staff population. Students must have a negative test result or be cleared by Public Health to engage in courses in person.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of university employees, those who live on campus and need to isolate have bed space and are being cared for here. Those who are cleared will have more classroom options, will be seated farther apart than normal, and have the ability to split time between in-class and online environments until the pandemic subsides.

Despite the challenges, we’re continuing the traditions that have made the University of Idaho such a special place for 130 years. We’ll hold a brief ceremony Sunday on the Theophilus Tower Lawn to welcome our incoming class of freshmen, take a class photo and begin the ceremonial Vandal Walk to the Admin Lawn so they can start their University of Idaho experience with a barbecue. It will be great to have everyone back!

Still, we must all remain vigilant to be successful and to execute on our mission to provide the best learning environment possible – and our students are taking the lead. The pledge we make today to keep our entire family healthy and safe, and the steps we take to reinforce safety throughout our campus community, will both pay dividends for students and our greater community as we resume the Brave and Bold traditions we hold dear.

Keep Calm and Vandal On has been our charge over the past five months. I’m confident we can keep it up as we return to this new normal. It’s on all of us to keep this university safe and open.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

110 Transfer Students Accepted from Concordia Law in Largest Law School Transfer in the Western United States

The College of Law will grow this fall by 110 students following the transfer of Concordia Law students, the largest-ever transfer for a Western law school. Nearly all new students will complete their legal education in Boise. Read more >

Healthy Vandals Caring For Each Other

University of Idaho students are taking care of themselves and the greater community by following the Healthy Vandal Pledge, getting tested for COVID-19, practicing social distancing and wearing face coverings to slow the virus's spread. Watch the video >
Snapshots

Vandals in the spotlight

$1.9M Grant Assists First-Generation College Students: A five-year U.S. Department of Education Grant totaling $1.9 million for U of I's Student Support Services-TRIO peer mentoring program will assist first-year college students, students with disabilities or those from low-income families.

Student Botanist Creates Record of Plant Diversity Across Selkirks: Harpo Faust has collected plants from across North Idaho’s Selkirk Mountains, building on collections of past botanists to obtain a comprehensive catalog of regional plant life.

Nomura Appointed Vice President for Research: Christopher Nomura will become the university’s vice president of research and economic development on Oct. 1. Nomura is vice president for research and a biochemistry professor at State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Grant of Nearly $11M Supports Biomedical Research Modeling: U of I has secured a grant of nearly $11 million from the National Institutes of Health to support continued modeling for biomedical research at the Institute for Modeling Collaboration and Innovation.

Pride points
Microturbines, Solar Helping Lead U of I Toward Energy Independence: Projects at the iconic steam plant, IRIC help decrease costs and the university's reliance on energy sources. Read the story >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Aug. 1, 2020
Dear Vandals,
Today we celebrate the Class of 2020.

This group of graduates is like no other in the history of our alma mater, completing coursework at a distance during one of the most unique periods of our lifetimes.

We had hoped to welcome Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 graduates back today for a ceremony honoring their accomplishments. Completing a college degree is an achievement to be recognized. I regret we will not be able to honor our graduates in person this weekend. However, we are planning a large commencement celebration for Spring 2021 to honor all students who have earned degrees during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We can’t be together in person, but we are able to celebrate in spirit. Each of our graduates received a personalized video this morning to mark their accomplishment. Immediate Past ASUI President Jacob Lockhart, Assistant Vice President of Communications and Alumni Relations Kathy Barnard and I also created this video to pay homage to this resilient group of Vandals.

The 1,837 students honored today are joining 110,000 University of Idaho alumni living, working and making a difference across this planet. Like those who came before them, they have used their grit and determination to overcome plenty of challenges. It’s been the Vandal way for more than 130 years. 

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Idaho graduates earn the highest average starting salary of any public college or university in the state. Their future is bright. Still, we can provide support to this year’s graduates by hiring Vandals and encouraging them on their path to prosperity.

Join me in congratulating our Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 graduates. This is a Brave and Bold accomplishment and our newest degree holders can take pride in reaching this milestone for the rest of their lives. 

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Painting the State in Vandal Colors

The first Vandal grain bin is up on State Highway 20 at Picabo. Thanks to alumni Nick '62 and Pat Purdy '86 for donating their grain bin. There will be more grain bins, highway and barn signs to come. Watch the video >
Snapshots

Success Across Vandal Country

Grant Funding Supports Remote Learning Enhancements: Access to online education will be broader and easier thanks to nearly $1 million in funding from Gov. Brad Little’s emergency relief fund aimed at helping educators enhance remote instruction.

Amalgamated Sugar Contributes to Parma Initiative: Idaho’s Amalgamated Sugar will contribute $500,000 to support improvements at the Parma Research and Extension Center.

U of I Partners on Software for Online Physical Therapy Training: U of I recently licensed a senior instructor's software for an online physical therapy education portal that develops apps to enhance learning for professions including physical and occupational therapy.

Art Professor Offers Painting Demonstrations Amid COVID-19: When the University of Idaho offered courses remotely amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Assistant Professor Aaron Johnson encouraged his students to pick up their phones for art.

Did you know?
U of I, Moscow Build on COVID-19 Wastewater Testing and Analysis: University of Idaho researchers have partnered with the City of Moscow to improve wastewater testing for the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19. The team hopes to develop an early warning system that tests for local case spikes. Read more >

Contact Us

Physical Address:
Administration Building
Room 105
Moscow, ID
83844-3151

208-885-6365
president@uidaho.edu

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 3151
Moscow, ID
83844-3151

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