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Friday Letter Archive

The Friday Letter is a weekly e-newsletter from the president. It includes a message from the president, UI news, features and announcements. It is a subscription-based newsletter sent to employees, students, alumni, parents and other friends of the University of Idaho.

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September 22, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
For the past several years the University of Idaho has worked closely with the Idaho State Board of Education to remake the way our state’s students “go on” from high school to college. Idaho’s low college-going rate represents enormous untapped potential — a pool of enterprising talent needed for the state’s growing 21st century economy. We are trying to lower each and every hurdle to get more students to the starting gate of a college education.
 
The State Board is introducing the next evolution of that effort, the Apply Idaho common application. This tool allows students to apply for Idaho public colleges and universities, including UI, through one central pathway. A minimum of information is required from the student at the time of completion, and there are just four simple steps. You don’t have to know your major, and you don’t have to pay an application fee. The program even has a tool to do a quick check for scholarships (UI follows that up with comprehensive scholarship information).
 
Apply Idaho builds on the simplicity introduced by the Direct Admissions program. That program lets public high school students know that they are qualified based on their academic achievement and have been admitted. This year's letters to parents and students will soon be arriving in mailboxes, a vote of confidence in our young people, telling them we know they can achieve at the next level because they’ve already shown they are qualified and prepared.
 
Of course, UI is a multifaceted institution, and students come to us as transfers, as adult learners, as graduate students, as out-of-state students and as international students. We are a comprehensive, national research university, and we hold the door open for students of all types and from all places and backgrounds, believing that we offer an unparalleled experience and essential preparation for each student. With that context, bringing more Idaho undergraduates to college has been a driving focus, and will continue to be. I hope our alumni and friends will continue to get the word out about programs that can impact the future of our young people in Idaho and beyond.
 
There is no one silver bullet to bringing more people into the higher education experience. On the level of policy and practices, we have to continue to think critically about our existing ways of doing things, experiment judiciously with new ideas, and wisely implement solutions. We also have to continue to communicate the value of postsecondary education. You’re going to keep hearing me tout success stories, talk about return on investment, and advocate for solutions that help Idaho’s higher education pipeline.
 
Lastly, a word about financial aid, another step future Vandals will need to take. Last year, UI allowed students and families to complete the FAFSA in October to apply for aid for the following fall. We moved our financial aid priority date to December, letting more students learn their scholarship and aid package sooner. We felt then, as we do now, that going to college is a big decision — you should have all the financial facts as early as possible. We are very confident that the facts speak well for UI, based on price and based on the $25 million in annual financial aid we award — a life-changing educational experience at a leading research university, for an affordable price.
 
That’s a value proposition we truly believe in here at UI. I am glad that the application and admissions process for students to access that excellence now has one more hurdle lowered.
 
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

Generous Endowment Supports Science Excellence

Charlotte Hill ’77 and Carol Lisek recently made a $300,000 commitment to the Departments of Chemistry, Biological Sciences, and Animal and Veterinary Science. The establishment of the Charlotte Hill and Carol Lisek Science Excellence Endowment will provide invaluable support to students and faculty through unrestricted funds to be used at the discretion of department chairs. Hill earned bachelor's degrees in microbiology and chemistry at Idaho and an M.B.A. at Washington University. She recently retired as president and CEO of Signet Scientific, a process control instrumentation company, and received the university’s Alumni Association Silver and Gold Award in 2013. Lisek earned a doctorate in chemistry from Johns Hopkins and a D.M.A. in early music performance from USC. She worked in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, and now performs as a contralto soloist and is an adjunct professor of voice at Claremont Graduate University. “We are very grateful to Ms. Hill and Dr. Lisek for their generous investment, which will help us maintain and strengthen quality programs at the University of Idaho,” said Ginger Carney, dean of the College of Science. For more information about giving to the College of Science, please contact Eric Bennett at ebennett@uidaho.edu or 208-885-9106.

Big Sky Basketball Tournament Moving to Boise

The Big Sky Conference announced this week a three-year agreement to move the conference’s men’s and women’s basketball championships to Boise in 2019. Tournaments will be held at the 5,300-seat CenturyLink Arena downtown. “Obviously I'm very excited for it to be in Boise because that's where the University of Idaho's biggest alumni base is,” said Don Verlin, UI head men's basketball coach.  “I'm just excited for the state of Idaho and the city of Boise that we can be able to host this event.” Women’s basketball coach Jon Newlee said, “There is a huge population of Vandal alumni and fans down there. I know they are just going to come out and support us like crazy.” UI men and women will play a game in Boise this season as well, with a December 21 doubleheader at CenturyLink Arena that sees the women take on Eastern Oregon at 5 p.m. Mountain and the men follow against UC Irvine. The 2018 tournament will take place March 11-16 in Reno to complete that three-year agreement. Idaho is one of three Big Sky schools to have its men's and women's teams earn at least one victory in both seasons the tournament has been in Reno.

Sandpoint Native Helping to Engineer a Better Tendon

Career-ending Achilles tendon tears in professional athletes. A decline in an aging population’s quality of life due to injured rotator cuffs. Outdoors enthusiasts made immobile because of tendon tears in their knees. In the near future, the debilitating nature of these injuries could be a thing of the past, as a team of faculty and students in the University of Idaho’s Department of Biological Engineering is focusing on revolutionary research to engineer regenerative tendon tissue.

September 15, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions a person can make. We try to offer the best information possible about our institution’s combination of academic quality, affordability and unique opportunities. We think UI stands out on those measures; but of course, the president would say that. So third-party sources offer an entry point into objectively comparing institutions and understanding the value each offers.
 
This week saw the release of the annual U.S. News and World Report rankings, with UI the No. 90 “Top Public School” in the country. UI ranks No. 171 among national universities overall. Our business and engineering programs are singled out for their excellence.

When looking at rankings, I encourage students and families to look at how the methodology views factors like affordability and access, as well as the actual student experience educational quality, meaningful programs, service and scholarship and professional opportunities. How are outcomes such as graduation rates and alumni earnings considered? Does the ranking system match the institutional mission? For example, the U.S. News and World Report methodology rewards selectivity how many qualified students are turned away. That doesn’t reflect our priorities at UI. As a public institution, we want to offer all qualified students an opportunity to pursue their dreams. We are an excellent institution because we hold the door open.

UI stands out among its peers in the Washington Monthly rankings: We moved up 17 spots this year to No. 67 among national universities. We also made the “Best Bang for Your Buck” list for schools “doing the best jobs of helping non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.” That emphasis on affordability and results speaks to the heart of our land-grant mission: You can afford to attend, you will graduate and you will succeed after school.
 
UI is also one of Money’s “Best Colleges for Your Money 2017” and its “Best College” in Idaho based on “educational quality, affordability and alumni success.” Money also weighed how well institutions help low-income students succeed on their way to the upper-middle class, basically how they “help students achieve the American dream.” We’re proud of that success and will continue to strive to make college an affordable reality for more students.
 
Money magazine has a high opinion of UI in part because it uses PayScale data to gauge alumni earnings. PayScale’s 2017 College Salary Report named UI the “Best 4-Year College” in Idaho. Our graduates earned higher mid-career salaries than graduates of any other institution in Idaho an annual average salary of $91,700. UI was the only Idaho institution to rank among the top 400 schools nationwide for graduate earnings, and we compare very well with peers among other national research universities.
 
Lastly, I hope students and families continue to use the federal government’s College Scorecard for objective data on key measures, among them average annual cost, graduation success and graduate earnings. Visit the University of Idaho’s listing, and you’ll see a simple black line representing the national average. For each measure, UI is on the correct side of the line below the national average for cost and above it for graduation rates and alumni earnings. The site has a tool to quickly build comparisons between institutions. Try it out I’m confident UI shines in those comparisons.
 
As I’ve said before, not all rankings are created equal. Consider the methodology behind rankings. Weigh your own priorities and interests. UI stands out as a superb value in higher education an excellent, national research university education at an affordable price that leads to a great life. Don’t take it from the president find out yourself.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

UI Academy of Engineers Supports Grand Challenge Scholars

The University of Idaho Academy of Engineers has collectively committed $63,000 to the College of Engineering’s Grand Challenge Scholars Program — a program dedicated to equipping a new generation of engineers to tackle 14 of the most pressing issues facing society in the 21st century — through its Academy of Engineers’ Priorities Endowment and annual gifts. The Academy of Engineers, founded in 2011, is a group of eminent engineers deeply connected to Idaho’s legacy of global engineering impact. On Oct. 26, 2017, a new class of Academy members will be inducted. In addition to funding support, Academy members serve as judges for the annual Grand Challenge Scholars Pitch Event — an opportunity for students in the program to win financial support for their project proposals. For more information on how to support the Grand Challenge Scholars Program contact Assistant Dean for Development Bobbi Hughes or call 208-885-5303.

UI-Led Team Receives $700K Grant to Study Antelope

Ryan Long, assistant professor in UI’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences, leads a team that has received a $700,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue studying how body size impacts behavior and survival of native antelope in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, Africa. The study will focus on three closely related antelopes that differ considerably in body size: bushbuck, nyala and kudu. In the wild, availability of resources such as food, water and shelter fluctuates constantly. Animals must adjust their behavior in response to changing environmental conditions in order to survive and reproduce. Data gathered during this project will help researchers understand how variation in body size limits animals’ ability to respond to changes in the environment, such as the availability of food or water. While the information gathered will be important for determining the best conservation and management practices in Gorongosa, it could also be useful for understanding North American species of varying sizes, such as deer, elk and moose.

UI Students among First INL Graduate Fellows

Two University of Idaho students, nuclear engineering majors Stephen Hancock and Emma Redfoot, have been selected among 11 fellows in the new Idaho National Laboratory Graduate Fellowship Program. Recipients of the competitive fellowships have their tuition and fees covered by their university during their first years of graduate school (years one to three) and their tuition and fees plus a $60,000 annual salary paid by INL during the last two years of their doctoral research performed at the lab. The program allows INL to integrate students into the laboratory and provides graduate fellows with work on significant projects that will help them fulfill their thesis research requirements. INL gains access to skilled staff, along with the opportunity to build long-term collaborations with universities, increase recruiting opportunities, and interact with a continuous pipeline of students interning and conducting research at the lab. Both the university and INL have the opportunity for joint publications and intellectual property. Graduate fellows were selected in degree fields that closely tie to INL’s three mission areas of innovative nuclear energy solutions, other clean energy options and critical infrastructure.

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September 8, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
This weekend we have the special opportunity to honor a Vandal great. A three-time Olympic gold medalist comes back to Moscow Saturday as we dedicate the Kristin Armstrong Paradise Path. This new name for a well-loved bicycle path crossing the Moscow campus celebrates a legacy of excellence and offers a reminder to Vandals to always give it your best on the way to the finish line.
 
A quick reminder of Kristin Armstrong Savola's story: When the 2016 Summer Olympics rolled around, Kristin didn’t have to compete. She was retired, after all, having already won a pair of gold medals and two world championships in cycling. She has a family. She has philanthropic and professional commitments in the Boise community. But the spirit of competition called, and there she was, back on a bicycle, the oldest racer in the cycling time trials, battling a bloody nose, the rain and a shortened training period to charge from behind for victory. It was a thrill to see one of our own on the medal stand.
 
Kristin is a 1995 graduate of the University of Idaho. She was on the UI track team and completed a degree in exercise physiology an example of the diversity of disciplines in our newly renamed College of Education, Health and Human Sciences before starting the Olympic journey that took her to Athens and to gold medals in Beijing, London and Rio.
 
Last month, Kristin joined the USA Cycling program as an endurance performance director, part of a lifelong commitment to health, well-being and athletic excellence. Kristin has been a loyal and supportive Vandal throughout her post-graduation life, receiving our Distinguished Idahoan award in 2015 and serving as an advisor to the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. We are so proud to welcome her back.
 
The Palouse and North Idaho are excellent places for biking. It’s always a great weekend when I have the chance to take the Latah Trail from Moscow to Troy, working to improve my times, even as more practiced riders show me what’s possible. The Bill Chipman Trail out to Pullman is an enjoyable day trip for solo riders, student groups or families. Elsewhere in North Idaho, the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes and the Route of the Hiawatha Bike Trail offer glimpses of our beautiful state that can’t be found any other way. I’ve had the chance to participate in Ride Idaho several times, too, connecting with fellow Vandals along the way a nice way to get to know people, as well as our land.
 
It’s a fitting tribute to that bicycling culture and tradition that we imprint Kristin Armstrong’s name on a part of it. I know many students are looking to explore Idaho on their bicycle. As Vandals, they’re also exploring in a different sense what disciplines they’re excited about, what interests motivate them, what they want to contribute to the world. Seeing the Armstrong name so prominently on campus should be a good reminder to keep exploring to go for the gold.
 
Join us tomorrow for the dedication with Kristin in the afternoon at the Fan Zone, before we head over to cheer on our undefeated Vandal football team as they take on UNLV in the Dome. See you on there and on the trail!
 
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

First-Time Donor Supports U&I Give Campaign

“My decision to come to U of I was a family decision,” said Vivi Gonzalez, a recent University of Idaho graduate and first-time donor. “The Vandal Friday experience reached out to me and my family on a very personal level. The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) program tailored the experience for Hispanic students. That meant a lot to me.” While attending UI, Gonzalez sought activities — ASUI, the Center for Volunteerism, the Movimiento Activista Social student organization, and a study abroad experience in Cuba — that helped her identify her passion for contributing to positive change. She continues to support meaningful student programming as an alumna, choosing to give to the new Weekend ASB initiative sponsored by the Alternative Service Break (ASB) program. Weekend ASB engages students who want to immerse themselves in service, but cannot commit, due to time or financial constraints, to a full winter or spring break trip. Learn more about U&I Give’s Alternative Service Break Weekend Trip and other U&I Give campaigns, contact uandigive@uidaho.edu or 208-885-5205.

UI Sees $38.7 Million in Donations in Biggest-ever Fundraising Year

The University of Idaho saw its most successful fundraising year in its 128-year history for fiscal year 2017, receiving more than $38.7 million in gifts and commitments. Coming from individual donors, corporations and nonprofit organizations, the donations support scholarships, research efforts and programs at UI, making higher education more accessible for Idaho students and strengthening UI’s place as Idaho’s leading research institution. The donations also support key building projects at the university, including the Idaho Arena. For the 2017-18 academic year, UI awarded more than $25 million in scholarship support to over 6,800 undergraduate students. About 4,700 of those students are from Idaho, receiving $12.8 million in scholarships. In addition to individual donors, corporations and nonprofits made nearly $15 million in gifts and commitments to the university. Idaho organizations that made financial gifts include Fatbeam, Idaho Wheat Commission, Idaho Potato Commission, Idaho Power, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, J.R. Simplot Co., Micron Technology and St. Luke’s Health System. Of the $38 million raised, $6.6 million is marked to support research in UI programs including cybersecurity, agricultural science and the humanities.

College of Education Changes Name to College of Education, Health and Human Services

The Idaho State Board of Education and University of Idaho leadership has approved a request to update the name of UI’s College of Education to be more reflective of the college’s programs and departments. The college is now known as the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. Adding health and human sciences highlights the programs offered by the college outside of teacher education, such as movement sciences, athletic training, tourism, dance, recreation, exercise science, counseling, rehabilitation and community health. Established as an independent unit of the university in 1920, the college serves more than 1,000 students each year in six bachelor’s degree programs, nine master’s degree programs and three doctorate programs. The college is Idaho’s premier institution for teacher preparation, as well as programs that promote a healthy active lifestyle. The College of Education, Health and Human Sciences’ name change further reflects the transformation the college has seen over the past year with the completion of a $19 million renovation to its building.

The Friday Letter

Sept. 1, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
This year, like most years, I joined faculty and staff in helping students and families move in to the residence halls in Moscow. For any parent, it’s a time filled with excitement and pride. You want your child to dive into academic life, take on new challenges, and expand his or her world. That exploration can come with concerns. It’s natural: You want your child to be safe.
 
Let me state clearly up front: No college campus is immune to accidents or unfortunate events. These are large, multifaceted institutions. That said, we work very hard to cultivate a culture of safety, starting from the time students arrive on campus. All new full-time students are required to complete the interactive “Think About It” orientation, which examines relationships, substance abuse and violence. That bolsters the discussions students have with Student Life leaders on campus.
 
We also focus on safety during our annual Safety Week, which starts Sunday, Sept. 10. The week promotes a culture of safety and asks the Vandal family to proactively look out for one another. The annual “Take Back the Night” rally, a partnership between the Women's Center and the Violence Prevention Programs at UI, is Sept. 14. Mary Beth is looking forward to attending again and raising awareness about interpersonal violence and support for those affected. The annual Katy Benoit Safety Forum also takes place on Sept. 14.
 
Our Violence Prevention Programs include the “Green Dot” campaign, which offers bystander intervention training. The “I Got Your Back” campaign, a series of trainings, events and resources, amplifies that message throughout the year: speak out, get involved, look out for one another. Last year the Women's Center was awarded a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for a multi-year Campus Violence Prevention Project; our Vandal Athletics program is joining that effort to engage male student-athletes, coaches and administrators in addressing interpersonal violence  and sexual assault. I am proud of this institution-wide commitment. In addition, this year a number of campus entities — the UI Counseling & Testing Center, Beta Theta Pi fraternity, Campus RecreationVandal Health Education and To Write Love On Her Arms WSU — have come together to host the second annual “We Got Your Back” Suicide Awareness 5K on Sept. 12.
 
Proactive involvement when others are facing danger or other challenges is central to our approach as a campus community. We look out for each other. We educate ourselves and others. We speak up, we get involved. We are a Vandal family.
 
Despite our best efforts, we may face a difficult situation. I hope we will approach any problems in the same spirit with which we prepare for safety — as a Vandal family committed to the safety and well-being of each other. That is how we honor the promise we make at move-in day and every day at UI.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

Gift Supports WWAMI Facility Remodel

Drs. Barbara ’85 and Anthony "Tony" Tesnohlidek ’85, surgeon and anesthesiologist, respectively, provided a transformational leadership gift for the WWAMI medical education program facility near the University of Idaho campus in Moscow. “The WWAMI program is dedicated to providing high-quality instruction,” explained Tony. “We have been practicing medicine in southwestern Idaho for the past 23 years and feel a need to give back to the program that contributed so much to our professional development.” The $7 million WWAMI facility remodel is scheduled for completion in early 2018. The remodel will result in a technology-rich center with updated simulation and anatomy labs that facilitate collaborative learning. “Offering students the best medical education and facilities will ensure these future doctors will be prepared for an exceptional medical experience," said Jeff Seegmiller, director of the WWAMI Medical Education Program. “We are very grateful to the Tesnohlideks for their generosity and support.” For information on giving to the University of Idaho WWAMI program, contact Jim Zuba at 208-885-4142 or jzuba@uidaho.edu.

UI Moves Up in Washington Monthly Rankings

The University of Idaho has moved up 17 spots from last year to rank No. 67 among the top national universities in the country, according to the 2017 Washington Monthly College Guide and Rankings. No other Idaho institution ranked among the top 100. The annual report “measures schools based on what they are doing for the country," focusing their metrics on improving social mobility, producing research, and promoting public service. UI was also named to the Washington Monthly’s separate “Best Bang for Your Buck - West” list of “colleges that are doing the best job of helping non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.” That ranking is based on factors including net price, graduation rates and financial success after graduation.

UI Library Associate Dean Named Librarian of the Year

Ben Hunter, associate dean of University Libraries at the University of Idaho, has been named the 2017 Idaho Library Association (ILA) Librarian of the Year. The annual award recognizes an outstanding member of the library profession who has made significant contributions to their library and communities. “Librarianship is a profession dedicated to helping, educating and assisting people as they navigate an increasingly complex world of data, information and media,” Hunter said. “I love being able to make a difference in people’s lives.” To qualify for ILA’s Librarian of the Year, nominees must have a strong commitment to Idaho libraries; demonstrate leadership qualities in librarianship values, cooperative and collaborative activities; participate in mentoring and in-service training for librarians; and participate in a special library service project. Recent UI Library-specific projects that Hunter participated in include co-managing the library’s $1.3 million first-floor remodel, developing a comprehensive library student worker training program, and the reorganization of library services to support researchers and increase the impact on overall student success at the university.

UI Awards More Than $25 Million in Scholarships for Academic Year

The University of Idaho is pleased to announce it has awarded more than $25 million in scholarship support to students for the 2017-18 academic year. The funds were awarded to over 6,800 undergraduate students from 49 states. More than 4,700 of the scholarship recipients are from Idaho, receiving over $12.8 million in support. “The University of Idaho is committed to making education affordable for all students, from Idaho and around the nation. Scholarship support is a huge part of that commitment,” said Dan Davenport, director of Student Financial Aid Services. “We understand that a college degree is something worth investing in — and we believe our students are worth investing in, too.” The scholarships are a combination of merit, need-based and outstanding achievement awards. Many of the scholarships are funded privately by the University of Idaho Foundation Inc., through the generosity of donors and alumni. For more information about scholarships at UI, go to www.uidaho.edu/financialaid/scholarships. The lists of scholarship recipients by state is available at uidaho.edu/news/lists.

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August 25, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
Another great year is underway at the University of Idaho. Our state’s national research university is poised to deliver on the ambitious Strategic Plan goals we laid out last year. A united effort from students, faculty and staff, as well as our alumni and friends, is the key to achieving progress.
 
Our first goal is to “Innovate” — to conduct research, scholarship and creative activity that makes an impact on Idaho and beyond. Among other performance measures, we are ramping up our research expenditures, invention disclosures, and student participation in research and sponsored projects. You may have seen physics professor’s Marty Ytreberg’s recent $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study amino acids, and you may have heard that we have surpassed $102 million in annual research expenditures. We will keep building on our land-grant strengths and focusing on emerging areas of excellence.
 
The University of Idaho also seeks to “Engage” with outreach that inspires innovation and improves Idaho. Our impact on Idaho's go-on rate is a key performance measure — how many more students are we bringing in to the life-changing experience of a Vandal education? We gained ground on that goal last year, thanks to programs such as Direct Admissions, and we continue to award more than $25 million annually in financial aid — the most in the state — to help students make college a reality. This fall we’ve focused our VIP grant project on the “Engage” goal, with innovative projects that connect with communities and promote college-going. By thinking outside the box in policies and practices, we have positioned UI to grow. Every member of our staff, each student, and our loyal alumni can all serve as ambassadors in our effort to improve Idaho’s educational attainment. 
 
We want to bring more students to UI because we believe in our capacity to “Transform” their lives through a unique educational experience. We don’t just want students to attend UI, we want them to graduate and to take their places as engaged, successful citizens. This year our new Student Success Initiative provides a comprehensive approach to academic advising, student support and Career Services. I am confident we will build on our enrollment, as well as our retention and graduation rates, which already lead among public institutions in Idaho.
 
Finally, UI must continue to “Cultivate” a diverse and valued community. Multicultural and international students, faculty and staff are part of the history and bright future of this global-facing institution. That emphasis benefits our statewide campus — and our state. We also need to ensure that this institution is a great place to build a career. We’ve implemented a rigorous program prioritization effort to make sure we’re allocating resources to support strategic goals. It’s a challenging process, but increased wages and more support for our teaching assistants are outcomes that will strengthen UI for the long haul.
 
Alumni and friends have a critical role in the success I’ve described. I ask you to stay informed, stay engaged, and stay motivated to help this institution be its best.
 
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
P.S.: Join thousands of students, faculty, staff and community members as we cheer on our Vandal Soccer squad against BSU this evening in the Kibbie Dome. Be part of the first-ever indoor NCAA women's soccer game. Free tickets to the Aug. 31 football game available at tonight’s Fan Zone to employees and community members!
 
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

St. Luke's Health System Pledges Support to Idaho WWAMI Program

St. Luke’s Health System has pledged $250,000 in support of the Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program’s building renovation project. Today’s medical teaching methods call for flexible, small-group learning spaces wired for current technology requirements. The WWAMI building renovation seamlessly combines the latest technologies in medical learning and discovery with additional space essential for academic and clinical faculty. These critical updates emphasize current educational trends and enhanced patient care techniques. “We are glad to collaborate with the Idaho WWAMI program because it is very important to the care of the residents of our region and the education of great physicians to care for those residents,” said Dr. David Pate, St. Luke’s president and CEO. “St. Luke’s, our staff and our patients have a true stake in retaining physicians with direct experience in Idaho who will go on to practice in vital and needed areas, including primary and rural care.” For more information on supporting the Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program and partnering with UI, contact Chloe Rambo in Corporate and Foundation Relations at 208-885-7060 or crambo@uidaho.edu.

UI College of Law Welcomes Inaugural First-Year Class in Boise

The University of Idaho College of Law welcomed its first class of first-year law students to its Boise location this week. “We are so excited to welcome the Class of 2020 to our Boise location,” said Mark Adams, dean of the College of Law. “Offering first-year law classes completes our vision of bringing a complete Juris Doctor degree to Boise. The College of Law could not be more proud to be the statewide leader in legal education in Idaho.” Previously, all students completed their first-year in Moscow and then could transition to Boise, if desired, for their second and third year. The addition of first-year classes in Boise makes a Juris Doctor degree fully available at either location. Classes in Boise are held in the Idaho Law and Justice Learning Center (ILJLC), in the renovated historic Ada County Courthouse in the heart of downtown Boise. The ILJLC also houses the Idaho State Law Library and the Idaho Supreme Court’s judicial education offices. It is adjacent to the Idaho Supreme Court, Idaho State Bar and the Capitol Building.

UI Recognized by The Princeton Review

The University of Idaho has again been recognized by The Princeton Review, as one of the country’s “Best 382 Colleges,” based on the excellence of academic programs. UI is the only public institution in the state included on the list. The University of Idaho was also included in The Princeton Review’s “Colleges That Pay You Back” for outstanding academics, affordability based on sticker price and/or financial aid, and for strong career prospects for graduates. UI was one of only 200 institutions on the list, schools recognized by The Princeton Review as “truly the most exceptional in the nation at delivering great academics, affordable cost, and great career foundations.”

The Friday Letter

August 18, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
Yesterday we welcomed new and returning Vandals at Convocation. David Vobora — former NFL linebacker, Vandal football great, and College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences alumnus — gave an inspirational address. "Don’t marginalize your own capabilities as a leader," he said. "Don't take complacency. Don’t rest on your own intelligence or capabilities." I can’t think of a better message to start our academic year.
 
Convocation is our academic kickoff, but next Friday we can come together for another kind of kickoff as our Vandal soccer team — the reigning Big Sky champions two years running — takes on Boise State University here in Moscow. Vandal soccer has a new home in the Kibbie Dome, and the indoor field is unique in all of NCAA soccer. I’m excited about continuing the tradition of Vandal soccer success and building a vibrant culture around this team in this venue.
 
With the potential for large and loud crowds, the Dome offers a distinct competitive advantage. I hope the Vandal family will join us in Moscow to make the most of that advantage. We will have a free and family-friendly Fan Zone experience starting at 4 p.m. in the west end of the upper Kibbie parking lot with food, music and special giveaways. Join the fun and meet other Vandals — and as a special offer open to Vandals and the broader community, at the pre-soccer Fan Zone you can pick up free tickets to the Aug. 31 football game when the Vandals take on Sacramento State. The first 2,000 attendees will also receive their very own Vandal vuvuzela (say that one 10 times fast…).
 
Why the Dome? A couple reasons. With Guy Wicks field prone to flooding, we needed to do something to make sure we never had important games washed away. Our football field was due for replacement, and we saw a chance to do something special. The Kibbie Dome offers a brand-new field, space for crowds, availability of concessions and a vibrant atmosphere. Coach Derek Pittman and our student-athletes on the soccer team are excited about the move and ready to compete for more championships on the turf.
 
I hope as many of you as possible join us to see the kick off to that journey. (The match will also be live-streamed for those rooting from afar.) Come out and contribute to a fun and festive environment as we take on the squad from down south. Welcome to fall 2017 — see you at the match!
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

VSF Gala Breaks Record for Scholarship Support

Over $170,000 was raised in a record-breaking show of support for student-athlete scholarships at this year’s 28th annual Vandal Scholarship Fund (VSF) Gala in Boise. This success would not be possible without the continuing support of Mark Tidd, TitleOne CEO and former UI student-athlete, and the TitleOne Corporation, the presenting sponsor of this signature event for the past five years. Their contribution of $50,000 takes the event to new heights and inspires others to give back. “Receiving an athletic scholarship at the University of Idaho changed my life,” Tidd said. “I wouldn’t have been able to afford to go to school otherwise.” Mark’s commitment means the VSF will continue to change the lives of Vandal student-athletes. For more information about making a difference through the Vandal Scholarship Fund, please contact Samantha Parrott at samanthap@uidaho.edu or 208-364-4566.

UI Named Best College in Idaho

For another year, the University of Idaho was named Money’s “Best College” in Idaho. It is the only public institution in Idaho on the list, joining peer institutions among other land-grant and national research universities. The ranking cites the high early-career earnings realized by Vandal alumni, based on PayScale earnings data, and notes that “UI offers students ample opportunities for hands-on research in fields including biotechnology, water, transportation, aquaculture and microelectronics.” The university was also named one of Money’s “Best Colleges for Your Money 2017” based on a combination of educational quality, affordability and alumni success. UI was also the only public institution in Idaho to make Money’s "Best Colleges for Your Money 2017" list.

UI Physicist Receives $6 Million NSF Grant

A University of Idaho project examining changes in the amino acids that are the building blocks of life and how they lead to changes in living things was awarded a $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant, awarded to Associate Professor F. Marty Ytreberg in the Department of Physics in UI’s College of Science, is among eight projects totaling $41.7 million awarded through the NSF’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Program. Ytreberg’s project, "Using biophysical protein models to map genetic variation to phenotypes,” will use computer simulations, mathematical modeling and experiments to determine how amino acid changes modify the way that proteins interact with other molecules. Ytreberg’s project includes a team of scientists and students at UI, the University of Vermont and Brown University. The results, expected to be released on an ongoing basis beginning in spring 2018, will be shared with the public via interactive animations, a website for dissemination of results and presentations for diverse audiences in all three states.
 

Friday Letter

May 12, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
One of the great privileges of being president is getting to connect with our students. At UI commencements across the state this spring, I have had the chance to congratulate our talented and hard-working Vandals. This spring, UI has added nearly 1,500 graduates to our Vandal family.
 
Among those graduates are Reinaldo Gil Zambrano, Robert Stewart and Aly Mendiola:
 
One brisk Saturday last October, I sat at the wheel of a small steamroller. Graduate student Reinaldo Gil Zambrano — who will receive his Master of Fine Arts on Saturday — put together a printmaking showcase that had artists from UI and several regional universities taking large, inked wood blocks, stretching colorful tapestry across them, and adhering the print with a steamroller. The resulting beautiful and unique artwork was a special exhibit of the talent and creativity of our Vandals. Our Vandal family includes students from nearly 80 countries, including Reinaldo, a native of Venezuela. Check out the video about Reinaldo’s project at the bottom of the page, and join me in wishing him well as he steams his way to new challenges in the art world.
 
In April, I had the chance to visit our Engineering Design Expo. Surveying the seniors’ capstone projects, I connected with computer science graduate Robert Stewart, one of many engineering students whose Vandal experience is a springboard to exciting career opportunities. Now 19 years old, Robert had designed and launched his first app on the Apple App Store by age 11. At UI, the National Merit Scholar has helped our team prepare for the DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge, interned at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and at Apple, and is on his way to a job opportunity with Apple. I have no doubt we’ll see more from Robert, maybe without knowing it, as we use our phones or another life-changing piece of technology.
 
Let me give you one more example of the interesting paths our students take. I haven’t personally met graduating senior Aly Mendiola, but her Vandal experience represents another important side of UI life. A sociology major from Boise, Aly has demonstrated a strong commitment to volunteering in the community. She’s worked extensively with a local food bank and through the Center for Volunteerism and Social Action. I’m glad this dedicated Vandal is going to stay in state as she goes to graduate school on her path to a career that emphasizes serving others.
 
Whether they are graduating in art, engineering, social work, or any number of disciplines from law to landscape architecture, I’m impressed every spring by the spirit and skills of our Vandal graduates. Thank you to the many alumni and friends who have supported our graduates on their way to success. We can all look forward to what they accomplish next.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
P.S.: The Friday Letter will take a summer hiatus and return next August. See you then!
President Staben learns the art of wood block carving ahead of a printmaking demonstration with a steamroller, part of a graduate student project.
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

Idaho Cattle Foundation Supports Efforts in Salmon

Since 2013, the Idaho Cattle Foundation has contributed nearly $100,000 in support of animal science at the University of Idaho. Last month, the Idaho Cattle Foundation recommended $65,950 be awarded to support work in beef nutrition and rangeland science across the state. One $20,000 grant will kick off up to $500,000 in matching support from both the Auen Foundation and the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. This pivotal funding will build an education center at the Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center in Salmon, housing a much-needed large classroom, as well as lab and conference space. “The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is thankful for the continued relationship and support from the Idaho Cattle Foundation,” said Michael Parrella, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). “These contributions allow us to broaden the impact of our research efforts across the state.” For more information on giving to CALS, contact Eric Billings at 208-885-4038 or ebillings@uidaho.edu.

Vandal Athletics and Women's Center Join Anti-violence Program

The University of Idaho Women’s Center and Vandal Athletics are coming together to join a yearlong initiative to engage male student-athletes, coaches and administrators as leaders in the fight against sexual assault and violence on college campuses. The program is funded through a three-year U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) grant the Women’s Center received in fall 2016. UI joins 13 other campuses that are participants in the Healthy Masculinity Campus Athletics Project (HMCAP), funded through the DOJ’s Office on Violence against Women Campus Technical Assistance and Resource Project. As part of the initiative, UI representatives from across campus will attend an intensive three-day training this summer emphasizing athletics’ leadership on social justice issues, and how male student-athletes, coaches and athletic administrators can model the prosocial norms of healthy masculinity to foster healthier and safer campuses. UI will begin implementing the Healthy Masculinity curriculum this fall, as well as develop an action plan that addresses both prevention and response strategies.

Brave and Boldly Going

This week, the spring issue of Here We Have Idaho magazine began hitting mailboxes across the country. This issue takes readers on a journey through the solar system, highlighting the ways that UI researchers, students and alumni are leaving their mark on the stars. From expanding the industry exploring space to finally reaching Mars to understanding the origins of the universe, space has truly become the Vandal frontier. Check out all the stories and flip through the digital edition at uidaho.edu/magazine.   
 

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May 5, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
As we head toward the conclusion of our academic year, and for some students the conclusion of their University of Idaho career, I want to highlight the excellence of our students. This letter can’t capture the full range of ambition, creativity and dedication you’ll find among our nearly 12,000 students. But a few examples speak to the energy and excellence you’ll find at our great public research university.
 
This year, UI has three recipients of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, highly coveted awards that facilitate advanced studies. Fewer than 2,000 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships are awarded each year. From Potlatch, Idaho, materials science and engineering student Isaac Curtis will use his award to begin a doctorate at UI. Benjamin Anzis of Marshalltown, Iowa, studying mathematics in our College of Science and already a Goldwater Scholar, plans to pursue his doctorate in algebraic geometry. Emily White, from Hawthorne, California, is a graduate student working on a doctorate in geology. Combined with six honorable mentions for this award, UI has had a significant presence in these awards for a university of our size testament to our students, our faculty mentors, and our program staff who all contribute to these opportunities.
 
Sponsored by the U.S. State Department and awarded to fewer than 3,000 students each year, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship facilitates international scholarships and internships. This spring Casandra Clements, an elementary education major and a junior from Nampa, received a Gilman award to spend the semester in Verona, Italy, through the University Studies Abroad Consortium. Emma Scott, a senior majoring in anthropology from Texas, received a Gilman scholarship for the summer and will take part in a UI faculty-led program to Ghana, studying community, culture and musical traditions.
 
I want to also congratulate two Fulbright U.S. Student Award winners. Our two recipients, Amaya Amigo and Mary Ortman, are actually recent graduates. Amigo was selected for a master in public administration program at SDA Bocconi in Italy. Ortman was selected for an English teaching assistantship in Croatia. A Fulbright is an impressive award that open doors on a resumé, but I am sure our Vandals are just as excited about the experiences they’ll have and the impact they will make.
 
Our Vandals have excelled in service and community-building, too. Through our Alternative Service Break program, dozens of students volunteered overseas in places like Ecuador and The Philippines. More Vandals spent spring break on ASB trips in Oregon, in Washington, and right here in Idaho. I joined our new freshmen last fall in the Serving Your New Community (SYNC) day of action, a kick-off to a Vandal career filled with volunteerism. That spirit infuses the activities calendar of our fraternity and sorority system, too. It’s a university-wide commitment that has earned UI a perennial spot on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest such distinction in the country.
 
Whether in the classroom, in research and scholarship settings, or in the community, our Vandals have continued to shine. Congratulations to our students for fulfilling and renewing our tradition of excellence.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

Donor Support Critical for Idaho Athletics Success

Catie Freeman ’09 and ’13 recently pledged to the Vandal Scholarship Fund as a #VSF360 donor. Her own experience in the UI marching band informs Freeman’s understanding of the critical role of scholarships in supporting successful student-athletes and ensuring healthy university athletic programs. Vandal sports have earned 24 conference championship titles since 2010, and the program had 198 student-athletes with grade-point averages of 3.0 or better for the 2016 calendar year. A recent UI Law School graduate and current deputy prosecuting attorney in the Civil Division of the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office, Freeman now supports students through the VSF scholarship as she was once supported. Her vehicle for giving? The #VSF360 program. Launched in January 2017, the goal of the #VSF360 campaign is to engage 360 new Vandal Scholarship Fund donors, attracting first-time donors and young alumni to begin building a lifelong legacy. For more information about donating to the Vandal Scholarship Fund or becoming a #VSF360 donor, visit http://vandalscholarshipfund.com/vsf/vsf360 or contact Samantha Parrott at 208-364-4566 or samanthap@uidaho.edu.

Kempthorne Awarded Honorary Doctorate for Service to State, Nation

Dirk Kempthorne, who served as governor of Idaho from 1999-2006, has always wanted to help people. “I’ve always believed that you should make a difference, wherever you are,” Kempthorne said. That belief led Kempthorne to enroll as a pre-med major at the University of Idaho in the 1970s, though he switched his major to political science, and earned his bachelor’s degree from what is now the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) in 1975. This May, Kempthorne will return to UI and finally receive the title “doctor”: The university has awarded Kempthorne an Honorary Doctor of Administrative Science. Kempthorne was nominated to be the 49th Secretary of the Interior in 2006 by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. In 2009, he stepped down from the Department of Interior and began a new phase of his career as president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) in 2010. He will receive the honor during the commencement ceremony May 13 in Moscow.

Tennis Teams Win Big Sky Championships

The University of Idaho women’s and men’s tennis teams both won Big Sky Conference championships on Saturday. Idaho men's tennis cruised past Montana, 4-0, claiming its second Big Sky Championship in the last three years on Saturday, April 29. Idaho entered the Big Sky Tournament as the No. 2 seed and defeated No. 3 Sacramento State 4-0 and then Montana to advance to the national tournament. For the women’s team, Idaho's lone senior Claire Yang played the biggest points of her career on Saturday, helping the Vandals to a 4-3 win and their third straight Big Sky Women's Tennis Championship. Idaho will make its fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Vandals streak began in 2014 when they won the Western Athletic Conference. The 2017 Big Sky champions will both head to Stanford, Calif., to do battle with the Cardinal. The men will play on Friday, May 12, while the women open on Saturday, May 13.

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April 28, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
A couple weeks ago I visited our Clean Snowmobile Team in their shop. This unique student group based in our College of Engineering recently returned from the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The students built a snowmobile modified for efficiency, decibel level and performance, completing a challenging 100-mile Endurance Run and coming home to Idaho with awards for Best Value and Best Acceleration. It’s one of the many exciting student-led projects you’ll find at our annual Engineering Design Expo.
 
The longest-running student engineering expo of its kind in the Northwest, the Engineering Design Expo showcases the outstanding innovation and hands-on design work of our College of Engineering students. More than 275 University of Idaho engineering students participate with 40 technical presentations and 60 booth presentations. It’s a chance for graduating seniors to show off their capstone projects in this hands-on degree program. Judges drawn from the ranks of important regional employers offer constructive criticism and feedback, and students also gain a sense of that connection to rewarding careers.
 
The Expo brings the Vandal engineering students of the future to campus. More than 500 K-12 students and students from North Idaho College and the College of Western Idaho will see firsthand what an exciting and practical educational experience looks like. Students are taking on innovative and thought-provoking work in everything from 3D metal printing to downtown Boise infrastructure to high-altitude balloon launches to flywheel energy storage. The applications for engineering are nearly limitless. I can’t wait for our prospective students to see the work and start imagining their projects as Vandals.
 
Engineering has long been a strength at the University of Idaho. We’ve gained a prominent reputation among our peers, among nationally known companies, and among up-and-coming organizations and ventures. UI was an early adopter and is now one of more than 100 institutions nationwide taking part in the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars Program, focusing on important areas, including one in which UI is very strong, cybersecurity. At Expo this year we have the honor of welcoming Brent Stacey, a strategic advisor for the Idaho National Laboratory’s National and Homeland Security mission. This is an up-close window into the complex and vital task of protecting our energy infrastructure, in part through assuring cybersecurity.
 
Whether they want to build a better snowmobile check out the video below to see some of that work in action, and think about joining up with the team, even if you’re not an engineering student or work in energy or water or any number of rewarding pursuits, Vandal engineers are in demand. They’ll be on the front lines of creating a sustainable, secure, healthier world we all can enjoy.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
President Chuck Staben visits with the award-winning Clean Snowmobile Team for a hands-on look at one of UI's great educational experiences.
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

Engineering Alumni Provide Opportunities for Idaho Youth

Jan ’81 and Dale ’80 Welch have generously included the University of Idaho in their estate plan by designating a gift in three parts. The Jan and Dale Welch College of Engineering Scholarship will provide opportunities for high school graduates pursuing undergraduate engineering degrees. The Welches also provided resources for critical facility and equipment upgrades within the Department of Civil Engineering. The third portion goes to the Vandal Scholarship Fund and Athletics. Both from Boise, Jan and Dale met while pursuing degrees in Civil Engineering. Jan is now President of Stapley Engineering and Dale is former Engineering Leader for Idaho Power. With daughters Laura ’10 and Lise ’18 joining them in the Vandal family, Jan and Dale have been well served by their UI education and are passionate about supporting Idahoans interested in engineering careers. The College of Engineering is proud and grateful to claim Jan and Dale Welch as valued alumni and, with this estate gift, members of the Heritage Society. For more information about supporting the College of Engineering, contact Stacy Rauch at 208-885-7978 or srauch@uidaho.edu.

1,482 Students Statewide Eligible to Graduate from UI

Approximately 1,482 University of Idaho students statewide are eligible for graduation this spring, earning a combined 1,551 degrees, including 1,119 bachelor’s degrees, 85 law degrees, 33 doctorate degrees, 13 specialist degrees and 301 master’s degrees. (Some UI students will have earned multiple degrees.) This year's commencement brings the university's all-time total to 117,335 graduates and 125,567 degrees. Approximately 1,291 students, eligible for 1,360 degrees, will graduate from the Moscow campus. Moscow graduates have applied for 1,050 bachelor’s degrees, 60 law degrees, 28 doctorate degrees, four specialist degrees and 218 master’s degrees. This year’s commencement combines the ceremonies for the university and the College of Law. Guests unable to visit Moscow may watch the ceremony online at www.uidaho.edu/news/ui-live.

Students graduating from the University of Idaho Boise and Twin Falls centers are eligible for 75 degrees this spring. The commencement speaker for the combined Boise and Twin Falls commencement is Meg Carlson, president and CEO of Prosperity Organic Foods and 1976 graduate from the University of Idaho. Seventy-eight graduating students are eligible to receive a combined 78 degrees this spring at the University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene. The Coeur d’Alene commencement ceremony will take place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 8, at the Schuler Performing Arts Center in Boswell Hall at North Idaho College. The commencement speaker is Dr. James Robson, owner of Avondale Dental and a 1969 graduate of UI. Twenty-seven graduating students are eligible to receive a combined 27 degrees this spring at the University of Idaho, Idaho Falls. The guest speaker for the ceremony is Rick Aman, Ph.D., president of Eastern Idaho Technical College.

Broadcaster and Alumna Offers Moscow Commencement Keynote

This year’s keynote speaker for UI’s Spring 2017 Commencement in Moscow is Marilyn Denis, a 1980 graduate of UI’s School of Journalism and Mass Media and one of the top broadcast journalists in Canada. Denis is the recipient of three Gemini Awards, given by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, and was awarded The Rosalie Award, honoring Canadian women who have paved the way for others in radio broadcasting; she was presented with the Allan Waters Broadcast Lifetime Achievement Award presented at Canadian Music Week’s annual Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Awards, the first time a female broadcaster will receive the prestigious award. Denis also will receive an honorary doctorate from the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences. She was surprised with the honor during a live-taping of the Canadian daytime series, “The Marilyn Denis Show,” in February on CTV. Other honorees at this year’s ceremony include honorary degree recipient Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior and Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne will receive an honorary Doctor of Administrative Services. Hall of Fame inductees include Roger Contor ’53 and John Norbury ’83.

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April 21, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
The academic and program excellence at the University of Idaho is driven by our outstanding faculty and staff. These dedicated professionals are the primary reason UI delivers a transformative educational experience. They are the key to UI’s leadership in great outcomes for graduates, as well as for innovation and discovery that makes an impact across our state and world. As we approach the close of our academic year, I want to congratulate our faculty and staff and highlight their excellence.
 
Next week at our University Excellence Awards we are proud to present two UI professors with our highest faculty honor — the rank of University Distinguished Professor. Kim Barnes, professor of creative writing in our English department, joined UI in 1986. An acclaimed author of three novels and two memoirs, including the Pulitzer Prize-nominated “In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in an Unknown Country,” she is also a committed teacher who exemplifies the excellence of our creative writing program. Brian K. Johnson, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Endowed Chair in Power Engineering, has been a Vandal since 1992. He is a talented researcher, internationally recognized in the field of power engineering, and he is as dedicated to mentoring our students as he is to his field. Our Distinguished Professors have gone above and beyond in exemplifying the Vandal traditions of excellence in their fields, service to students and commitment to a caring community.
 
One example of our many deserving staff honorees is Jesse Martinez, recipient of our Arthur Maxwell Taylor Excellence in Diversity Award. Jesse first came to UI as a participant in the College Assistance Migratory Program (CAMP). Jesse came full circle to lead recruiting and to serve as associate director for CAMP, which helps students from rural and farmworker backgrounds succeed at UI. He now leads our Office of Multicultural Affairs and also serves on UI’s Latino Advisory Council and Diversity Council.
 
Next Wednesday, I’m pleased to attend our Staff Awards Luncheon, honoring our outstanding staff members who contribute to the programs and essential functions of our university. We also celebrate the staff who have retired after long service to UI, in many cases more than 30 years. Many staff have also contributed to an endowment to support aspiring Vandals with scholarships a “pay it forward” approach to support the next generation of Vandals. The passion of our staff is one of the university’s greatest assets.

Faculty and staff may enter higher education for many reasons, but people stay in this profession because they care. They want the best for students and for their university. Students and families looking to understand who we are and what we do at the university will find few better examples than these faculty and staff honorees.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
P.S.: Our Student Achievement Awards in Leadership and Service ceremony is tonight. Awardees have not been announced as of this writing, but I look forward each year to recognizing these extraordinary students.
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

Vernon Burlison Memorial Fund Impacts Diversity

Human and social justice issues — diversity, empowerment, access to education, peace — matter to John Burlison ’76, just as they mattered to his late father, Vernon ’43. John established the Vernon Burlison Memorial Fund in 1997 in memory of his father, a professor emeritus in the College of Natural Resources. The fund offers scholarship and educational programming support for human and social justice issues, as well as underrepresented communities at the University of Idaho. “These resources are dedicated to making a difference in education and broaden understanding by bringing diverse and controversial ideas to the campus community,” said John Burlison. In addition to more than doubling his annual contribution, John also gave a generous current use gift this year — significantly increasing his giving for key resources in the name of his father. “John’s vision and support make a permanent difference for the LGBTQA community,” said Julia Keleher, director of the LGBTQA Office. For more information on supporting diversity at the University of Idaho, contact Jim Zuba at 208-885-4142 or jzuba@uidaho.edu.

TedxUIdaho Returns to UI Campus

The University of Idaho’s student-led TEDx event will tackle the idea of “What’s NeXt?” for society at its third annual event, 1-5 p.m. Saturday, May 6, in UI’s Hartung Theater. The event features 11 speakers, including UI graduate and undergraduate students and faculty members. The talks will delve into topics including research on making better robots and video games, fascinating organic molecules in 3-D motion, and how we can build better and more responsive computers with artificial intelligence. Other topics include a 14-year-old’s opinion on the importance of societal labels, why failure is desirable for success from a highly competitive soccer coach, and a dissection of the age-old debate between religion and science. Tickets, which are $10 for students and $25 for the general public, are now on sale at tedxuidaho.com. More information about speakers will be posted online at https://www.facebook.com/uidahotedx.

UI Research: Individual Glacier Shapes Influence Greenland Ice Loss

Thinning glaciers in Greenland play a major role in rising sea levels around the globe. An international team of researchers, including Tim Bartholomaus, an assistant professor of geography in the UI College of Science, have found that the glaciers’ shapes influence how quickly they thin and melt — allowing them to identify which glaciers are most likely to contribute to sea level rise. The Greenland Ice Sheet is the second-largest ice sheet on Earth and has been losing mass for decades, a trend scientists have linked to a warming climate. However, the mass change experienced by individual coastal glaciers, which flow out from the ice sheet and into the ocean, is highly variable. This makes predicting the ice sheet’s impact on future sea-level rise difficult. “The approach we demonstrate here allows us to identify which outlet glaciers are not yet changing rapidly, but might,” Bartholomaus said. “With that knowledge, we can anticipate potential sea-level rise and set up the observational campaigns in advance to understand these glacier changes.” This new knowledge of glacier melt also will help scientists refine the models used to predict sea-level rise.

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April 14, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
As the state’s leading public research university, the University of Idaho benefits from robust investment by our state. This spring we are pleased with the investments Gov. Otter and the Idaho Legislature have made in the excellence of our programs and facilities. A number of projects bear special mention:
 
  • Fourth-year computer science degree in Coeur d’Alene. As described in a recent Friday Letter, this partnership with North Idaho College allows students to complete all four years of a computer science degree in Coeur d’Alene. This is an investment in students who want to find a place in the increasingly technology-focused economy of North Idaho.
  • UI Library investment: The legislature supported significant new funding for the University of Idaho Library. This will allow us to add two full-time positions and make other needed technology improvements. Our Library is a hub for student academic work and for research and scholarship, and for the development of new ideas and solutions that benefit society. Expanding our Library’s capacity means enhancing a valuable resource for our university community and our state.
  • Change in Employee Compensation. A 3 percent compensation increase approved by the legislature means the university will keep pace in our ability to recruit and retain talented faculty and staff. We must remain competitive in order to serve students and the state with our best teaching, research and scholarship, and outreach.
 
Two investments from the Permanent Building Fund also stand out:
  • The Center for Agrculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE). A $10 million appropriation will help the University of Idaho create a new center for research and education connected to food production and processing. We will have project details soon. This is an exciting project that supports the growth and increased sustainability of key Idaho industries, such as dairy and processing.
  • Idaho WWAMI building renovation. The Idaho WWAMI program our state’s medical education partnership with the top-ranked University of Washington School of Medicine has doubled in student size over the past five years. Permanent Building Fund support will allow us to renovate the Idaho WWAMI building on our Moscow campus and add clinical and anatomy laboratory space.
 
Several other budgetary items also are important: continued support of the Agricultural Research and Extension System; our Idaho Geological Survey and Forest Utilization Research programs; and maintenance and operations costs for facilities. The Idaho WWAMI program will also see important funding to continue preparing the highly skilled medical practitioners of the future physicians and other professionals who will serve communities right here in Idaho.
 
We appreciate the support of the governor and the legislature this session. Investment in the state’s land-grant research university pays off in a better-prepared, more prosperous Idaho for us all.
 
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

A Story of Service and Support: The Fazios

It was October 1976 when Jim and Dawn Fazio made their first gift of $25 to the University of Idaho. Jim was a new assistant professor in the College of Natural Resources, and Dawn was pursuing a teaching certificate to complement her master’s degree and interest in environmental education. Now, almost 41 years and 35 years of cumulative giving later, Jim, professor emeritus in CNR and a freelance writer, and Dawn, local business owner and longtime chair of the Moscow school district’s Board of Trustees, continue their loyal support of UI and Idaho education. “A person ought to be supportive of the institution that supported him and so many students over the years,” Jim said. “Education is the foundation of a strong nation.” The Fazios have championed a wide variety of university initiatives — from the Douglas L. Gilbert Scholarship that supports conservation communication, to the Library Dean’s Excellence Renovation Fund that resulted in a group study room dedication in their name. “Jim and Dawn have contributed to bettering the lives of so many students and faculty in their 43-year association with the UI,” said Nick Sanyal, colleague and professor in CNR. Read more about the Fazios on the Loyal Donor website.

UI Named Idaho's Best College for Getting a Job

The University of Idaho was recently named the “Best College for Getting a Job” in the state of Idaho by career website Zippia. The list focused primarily on job placement ratings — the number of graduates who are employed 10 years after their degree. The University of Idaho earned the highest job-placement ranking of institutions in the state by virtue of its 88 percent rating. According to Zippia, “Not all schools are equal in this, and some colleges are vastly more supportive of their students’ post-graduation concerns than others.” The ranking system was based on data drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or IPEDS. The ranking also highlights the earnings by Vandal graduates — the top earnings among graduates of any public institution in the state, according to the 2016-2017 PayScale College Salary Report.

Researchers Examine River Structure Link to Greenhouse Gases

Vehicle exhaust, fossil fuel emissions and other pollutants are familiar contributors to climate change. But more innocuous natural resources, like rivers and streams, contribute as well. A research team led by the University of Idaho has found that the form and structure of rivers and streams is an important factor in greenhouse gas emissions — and small rivers produce more than big ones. Civil engineering Associate Professor Daniele Tonina and postdoctoral researcher Alessandra Marzadri at the University of Idaho, along with their partners at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and the University of Trento in Trento, Italy, have used these findings to develop a new model to predict emissions at a global level. Their work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “We developed a model that can be used at large continental and even global scale,” Tonina said. “The new model provides the needed feedback to help quantify human impact on climate change at the global scale, and it could be used by agencies to provide scientific basis and data to help climate-related decisions in different parts of the world.”

UI Celebrates Innovation Month

The University of Idaho celebrates Innovation Month each April with multiple interdisciplinary events to honor the creative and scholarly achievements of faculty, staff and students. The university community and the public are welcome to attend several of the events. Innovation Month events include the Visualizing Science Exhibit, bringing together teams of outstanding UI artists, designers and scientists to create visual interpretations of important scientific issues; Idaho Pitch, giving innovators and entrepreneurs from across the university the opportunity to practice their presentation skills in front of business and professional judges; the Business Plan Competition, offering students a chance to experience the real-world process of launching a business; the Undergraduate Research Symposium, celebrating the research and scholarly work in all disciplines by undergraduates; and the annual Engineering Design EXPO, showcasing senior engineering capstone projects.

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April 7, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
Today I have the special opportunity to join students and University of Idaho scholarship donors at our Celebration of Scholarships, an annual event that brings students together with the donors who support their scholarships.

Private philanthropy is the critical margin of excellence for our university. It supports students, bolsters academic programs, and enhances research and scholarship. It’s an important way we join in the shared enterprise of shaping a bright future. Today’s event highlights the very human side of that connection.
 
For students, the Celebration of Scholarships is a chance to thank donors putting a face to the support that plays an important role in their educational experience. For many, meeting a scholarship donor is affirming and motivating. Here’s what we heard from one student, an agribusiness and political science major: “Knowing that someone else believes in my ability makes me treasure learning so much more,” he said. “I think it gives me a responsibility to do my best academically and personally to take full advantage of the opportunities I have been given.”
 
For donors, our scholarship celebration provides a window into the stories behind their financial support. Donors are alumni, faculty and staff, and community members. They hear firsthand the appreciation of students. They learn their stories, their interests, their aspirations. The generosity behind their giving becomes less abstract; it’s more than a check, more than a donation. It’s a hand reached out to a fellow member of the Vandal family.
 
It’s difficult singling out a particular donor story because so many Vandals are so generous and considerate in their support of students after all, the “Inspiring Futures” campaign saw more than 40,000 Vandals offer their contributions, their statements of belief, to this institution. But I’m glad to welcome Peggy and Wayne Thiessen, among many others, to campus for this event. Both graduated from UI; scholarships helped Peggy complete her education, and Wayne points to a graduate fellowship on the way to a master’s degree as assistance that helped him on the path to a great career.
 
The Thiessens have supported UI in many ways, with a scholarship in soil science one part of that legacy. An abiding belief in the ongoing benefits of giving back drives their giving a “pay it forward” mindset. “We’re one or two generations away from those students, and it’s a unique opportunity for us to get to know them,” Wayne said.

“We believe that students are the future,” Peggy added. “Helping them be the best prepared that they can be is a wise investment in the future for our country, for everybody.”
 
We’re grateful for the support of the Thiessens and the many people who make the choice to invest in the future of our Vandal students. Here’s what another student, a psychology major, told the donors who supported her scholarship: “Without your help, my dreams would be just that, a dream,” she said. “You have helped make my dream a reality, and I am extremely grateful.”

Thank you to all the Vandal family members who have reached out their hands to invest in those dreams, and to the students who are taking the initiative to pull themselves up to a bright future.
 
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

Supporting Access to Higher Education

Kyra (Guest) Ferenc ‘97 and Sid Ferenc understand that today’s students are the pioneers and innovators of the future. They believe in opening doors to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and, through the Ferenc Family Foundation of Brooklyn, have made a generous gift to University of Idaho’s STEM Access program. STEM Access is one of seven TRiO projects funded at the College of Education; it connects students from the Lewis-Clark Valley to a path that supports high school efforts and leads to college, especially in the areas of STEM. Kyra Ferenc, a Vandal alumna and former educator who believes in encouraging a love of learning and critical thinking, chose to invest in the program after seeing the passion and enthusiasm of the program’s director, Kirsten LaPaglia. The donation to STEM Access will help further the education and foster excitement in youth who might not otherwise have an opportunity to explore higher education. For information about how to support TRiO or other programs in the College of Education, contact Marta McClintock at martam@uidaho.edu.
 

U&I Give: New Crowdfunding Platform Supports Programs

The University of Idaho is celebrating the launch of its first-ever crowdfunding platform, U&I Give. From April 3 to April 28, Vandal friends, students, faculty, staff and alumni will have the opportunity to directly support UI student projects and programs through four unique campaigns. The University of Idaho Humanitarian Engineering Campaign is designing and building clean water access for a small community in Carani, Bolivia. The ALB Student Space campaign supports efforts by College of Business and Economics students to renovate student space in the Alberston’s Building. The Center for Volunteerism and Social Action wants to add weekend trips to Alternative Service Breaks, making the service experience accessible for all Vandal students who want to give back and create a better world. The UI Advertising Team offers professional development and hands-on learning in national competition, opportunities enhanced by donor support. Funding these campaigns enables students to do meaningful work, discover new cultures and apply emerging skills. Give now to make an immediate impact on the lives of students.

Vandaleers to Perform at Carnegie Hall

The Vandaleers, the University of Idaho’s prestigious choral group, is going to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall. The concert, scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Sunday, April 9, is the Vandaleers’ second at Carnegie Hall. Their first performance was in 1991. “For musicians, an opportunity to perform on the historic and acoustically vibrant stage of Carnegie Hall is a great achievement that we all dream of,” said Michael Murphy, director of choral activities and associate professor of music in the UI’s Lionel Hampton School of Music. “The Vandaleers will have the honor to perform a solo concert that will show a mastery of a variety of music.” At the concert, the Vandaleers will feature a varied repertoire of songs from the United States, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany and Haiti. The Vandaleers are traveling to New York as their 2017 annual tour destination. Since Murphy’s arrival as director in 2008, Vandaleers tours have included trips throughout the Northwest and Europe.

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