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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
April 9, 2021
Dear Vandals,

The tree-lined Hello Walk leading to the ivy-covered Administration Building with its historic stained-glass windows. The botanical splendor of the arboretum’s meandering pathways and the iconic footprint of our unique Camperdown elms.

Designed by the world-famous Olmsted Brothers, whose legacy also includes Central Park, there is no arguing – our Moscow campus is beautiful. It combines the traditional university splendor with the curiosity of the rolling hills of the Palouse – which has been called by some the Tuscany of America.

It is no wonder visiting campus is a critical moment in our recruitment success. Once a college-bound student experiences our campus, they are likely to register. But in-person visits during the pandemic were limited. Our incredible enrollment management team quickly developed videos, a digital viewbook and a 3‑D online tour experience to capture the spirit and beauty of our campus. This work made a difference in these challenging times and will continue to serve future students who cannot experience our campus in person.

Now, the good news is: We are back!

Future Vandals and their families are walking our tree-lined paths in record numbers as Vandal Reps share the history, traditions and excitement of our impressive campus. Stopping to chat with students and their families as they tour our campus always brightens my day.

This summer, UIdaho Bound, the signature experience for students attending U of I in the fall, blossoms from three online events in the early spring to 10 weekends of in-person Vandal experiences, campus exploration and registration for classes. Nearly 1,000 students are already signed up to participate in an engaging weekend in Moscow after which they will move from eyeing college to being Vandals.

First, though, students must apply. Do you know a high school senior? Perhaps you know a student who sat this year out, waiting for life to return to normal before going on. With more than $30 million in scholarships and waivers and an in-person learning environment, there is no better time to enroll at the University of Idaho.

Nominate a Future Vandal through our Grow the Gold program. Share your Vandal experience with a student – it is the one thing we all have in common; whether you are an alumnus, friend or employee, we each have a special relationship with our university.

We know that a college degree makes people healthier, wealthier and wiser. College graduates earn $1.2 million more on average over the course of a lifetime. Graduates also live nine years longer on average and are more involved in their communities.

A degree benefits the individual as well as the community and economy of the state. Don’t keep it to yourself. Share the gift of being a Vandal – every student deserves the benefits of a University of Idaho education.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

New Episode of Podcast Is Available

Join Law Professor Geoffrey Heeren as he explains U of I’s Immigration Law Clinic on the latest episode of “The Vandal Theory.”

Vocal Ensemble Chanticleer to Perform April 14: The final virtual performance of the Auditorium Chamber Music Series 2020‑21 season will feature the vocal ensemble Chanticleer at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 14, via Zoom. Read more.

The Mission? Fight Space Germs: With the help of much younger, somewhat smaller scientists, a team of University of Idaho seniors studying chemical engineering have designed an experiment that will be delivered to the International Space Station next year. Read more.

Idaho Team Develops DNA-Based Forecasting Framework to Assist in Species Recovery: A University of Idaho, Boise State University and Idaho State University study published in Restoration Ecology demonstrates how genomic data could be used in conservation efforts, specifically translocation – or the moving of plants and animals from one location to another – a key component of many conservation plans. Read more.

Join the Watch Party as the Vandals Take on the Eagles: Gather for pregame events at 12:15 p.m. Pacific time tomorrow, April 10, for the last game of the Vandal Spring 2021 football season. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. Pacific time. Register online

Connect With Your Vandal: Parent and Family Weekend is April 18-20. Join your Vandal virtually for trivia, a scavenger hunt, an escape room experience and more. Register now.

Pride points
Cross Country Team Earns Academic Honors: Congratulations to the women’s cross country team for earning the highest team GPA in Division I cross country.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
April 2, 2021
Dear Vandals,

So many questions fill our future Vandal’s minds as they embark on college. What do I want to study? Where will I live? Will I fit in? Can I handle it on my own?

But one question is most often the deciding factor in whether to invest in oneself and take advantage of the significant increase in lifetime pay, happiness and health a college education offers: “Can I afford it?”

Most of our hardworking Vandals receive some sort of financial assistance to attend college. Many receive scholarships — dollars you generously give to the university specifically to help students. In fact, the university awards more than $30 million annually in scholarships and tuition waivers. Much of the money is given by alumni who themselves were once at that crossroads of college decisions.

April 6-7 you have the opportunity to help the next generation of Vandals fulfill their dreams. Vandal Giving Day is 2,021 minutes of giving — a fast-paced and fun way to engage in our future.

Join us on your favorite social media channel or online at vandalsgive.uidaho.edu. Click through the hundreds of opportunities to support Vandals, find one that moves you and we hope you choose to give back. It can make all the difference for students like Robin Kerby.

She and her husband moved into an RV in Post Falls to save money for Robin to rent an apartment in Moscow. She wanted to be a forester, but a degree seemed nearly unattainable. Quitting her job, Robin took a leap of faith — and it paid dividends in the fall. She made the Dean’s List and secured her continued scholarship support — which is paying her tuition and books as well as some living expenses. She is well on her way to fulfilling her Vandal dream, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of generous donors.

The unabashed support of our Vandal community shined last spring when Vandal Giving Day almost didn’t happen. Stinging from the fresh reality of the pandemic, our students faced challenges to their educational path as jobs dried up, classes moved online and the world seemed to close in around them.

Vandal Giving Day last year focused on one theme: helping students continue their educational journey. Unsurprisingly, the Vandal Family gave $649,000 to our students — then turned around in June and gave another $24,000 specifically to the Vandal Community Relief Fund. Thank you.

While there is a light at the end of the COVID-19-tunnel, the path to a college education is still fraught with complications. Our students need you; your university needs you. Your participation can make a difference for a future Vandal.

Let’s give our hardworking students the same opportunity to elevate themselves we had.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Undergraduate Research

Vandal undergraduates picked up pipettes and dance shoes, tree cores and computers to solve practical problems with local and global effects this year. Working with faculty, two-thirds of undergraduates at University of Idaho engage in out-of-class research, scholarly work and creative activities. It’s all part of the Vandal experience.

Undergrad Tests New Way of Studying Tree Rings

“Currently, there isn’t a good way to look at how much lignin is in a tree core from a deciduous tree without tearing the core apart.”

– Jonathan Asker, junior
Grangeville

Dance Program Students Tell the Story of Farming Through Movement

“We studied movement in a new way, and we had to apply concepts that are almost never connected to dance.”

– Mandy Scheffler, junior
Granite Falls, Washington

Economics Student Helps Build App for Idaho Manufacturers

“What surprised me most is the diversity across Idaho’s manufacturing industry. Our state makes everything from dairy products and sugar to textiles, beer and wine.”

– Nicole Handlen, senior
Pocatello

Using Nanoparticles to Fight Cancer Cells

“Our own immune cells could recognize cancer cells in our bodies and fight them without harming the healthy cells. I hope future research can develop a cancer treatment that is cost-efficient and accessible worldwide.”

– Silpa Subedi, senior
Nepal

Read about other undergraduate research experiences in the latest Vandals in Focus 2021.

“The Vandal Theory,” an original U of I podcast, explores why researchers are passionate about what they do. Join us for Season 4.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
March 26, 2021
Dear Vandals,

Impact is everything and there are fewer places the University of Idaho has more impact than in Idaho agriculture and forestry. That was made clear by Gov. Brad Little – with the support of our Legislature – last week when he signed the “Building Idaho’s Future” bill. The bill allocates $3 million for infrastructure improvements to help construct the Idaho Center for Plant and Soil Health facility at the U of I Parma Research and Extension Center and $700,000 to construct new, updated greenhouses to better meet tree seedling research and reforestation needs of the state.

Much has changed in research since the buildings were constructed in Parma 50 years ago. Despite the antiquated facilities, the researchers have, since 1925, helped advance agricultural research in the state. The unique location blends the many growing challenges of Idaho – from 120 acres of row crop and hop research to 80 acres of desert land, 30 acres of which is devoted to tree fruit and small fruit research.

Lara Brown, a master’s student, knows firsthand how important a comprehensive research facility is. She works directly with producers to better understand soil-borne diseases to help protect grains and dry beans vital to Idaho’s economy.

Mike Thorton’s research on potatoes begins with students – not only finding ways to grow better potatoes but also helping disseminate that information to Idaho’s potato growers – allowing students to be involved in all three legs of a land-grant university: education, research and outreach.

The Parma center also has 5,100 square feet of greenhouse space to grow crops year-round. A new vegetable and fruit storage facility for post-harvest management research and 540 square feet of growth chamber rooms for entomology research projects make Parma the university’s most comprehensive research site.

The new plant and soil health facility is in the design phase. Later this spring, when state funding is available, it will be combined with a matching $3 million from industry and another $1 million from the university to fund construction. Groundbreaking is expected in Spring 2022 with completion of this dynamic agricultural research facility in 2023.

The much-needed renovation will ensure we continue to recruit and retain world-class faculty who are critical to advancing research that benefits all of Idaho agriculture.

Aging buildings are an ongoing problem for a 130-year-old university. But Vandals have an amazing way of succeeding. The Franklin H. Pitkin Forest Nursery on the eastern edge of Moscow is one of just two commercial-scale research nurseries in the West. Here, our researchers lead projects on conifers specifically found in the Northwest and also provide nursery training around the world – including ongoing education for restoration of forests in Togo. But the greenhouse technology is more than 30 years old and needs repair and replacement to meet the growing needs of the state.

The university and Idaho Department of Lands work closely, and a new opportunity in this partnership is to improve survival of seedlings under drought conditions and for reforestation after wildfires. This requires new and updated greenhouses, the result of which is better-suited seedlings, in larger quantity – helping offset the need to turn to Canada and neighboring states to meet Idaho’s seedling needs. The seedlings are also used to replant our Experimental Forest, creating revenue to put toward the greenhouse project while creating unique hands-on learning experiences in forest management for our students.

The governor’s investment in these projects underscores the impact U of I has on the foundational economies of this state, the students in these disciplines and the future of Idaho’s farm and forestlands.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Vandal Giving Day Ambassadors Are Needed

Vandal Giving Day 2021 starts at 8 a.m. Pacific time, 9 a.m. Mountain time, Tuesday, April 6. With your help, this 2,021-minute online giving event will raise funds for scholarships and other resources to create life-changing educational experiences for U of I students. Please consider showing your support by signing up to be a Vandal Giving Day ambassador. You will receive everything you need to spread the word and encourage giving. Register online and join the excitement April 6-7 at vandalsgive.uidaho.edu. #VandalsGive

Lachelle Smith Discusses Connecting Idaho’s Medical Communities on ‘The Vandal Theory’

The new season of “The Vandal Theory” kicks off with a discussion of how ECHO Idaho provides the state’s healthcare workers with specialized knowledge they can pass onto their patients. Subscribe on your favorite podcast platform. Listen to the podcast.

Auditorium Chamber Music Series Presents Free Virtual Concerts: The University of Idaho’s Auditorium Chamber Music Series will present a free virtual concert featuring the GRAMMY-nominated St. Lawrence String Quartet at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 28. Read more.

Our Gem: Confluence Project Students Dig into Snow Science: The University of Idaho partners with agencies and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe to teach area high school students about lake health and water protection. Read more.

Pride points
We Have a Beautiful Campus: Our Moscow campus is beautiful no matter what time of year. Spring on the Palouse is always eventful.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
March 19, 2021
Dear Vandals,

University of Idaho Extension builds knowledge, leadership and community engagement in all 44 counties in the Gem State. Each day members of the Vandal Family communicate their expertise to agricultural producers, teach skills in gardening, money management, and health and nutrition to statewide residents. They also build leadership skills in our youth.

Our U of I Extension educators are the connection between the research at our land-grant institution and those producing food for the world. Together they keep our food system free of virus, crop yields high and animals healthy. The newest knowledge exchanges hands at these sites not only in urban areas but also in areas like U of I Extension on the Fort Hall Reservation, which serves an area that includes about 150,000 acres of farmland and 344,000 acres of rangeland in Bannock, Bingham, Caribou and Power counties.

I decided over a year ago to visit each and every U of I Extension and research site in the state – no small undertaking in its own right. No sooner did we launch this plan than the pandemic hit and limited travel. Yet, doing the business of our statewide institution took me to every corner of our state in the past year. I visited 28 U of I Extension and research sites. I continue to be amazed by the activities at each – some from meager facilities brimming with enthusiasm and others, like Bonneville County in Idaho Falls, with new facilities showcasing county investment and collaboration with industry.

As the nation’s No. 1 producer of potatoes, U of I’s Kimberly Research and Extension Center connects producers to the latest research and techniques to reduce disease and meet the needs of this $4 billion industry. The Tetonia Research and Extension Center grows 153 potato varieties annually for evaluation as breeder stock. I look forward to visiting the Aberdeen Research and Extension Center, another key location in potato research.

Near Dubois, our researchers at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station are using DNA and eating preferences of sheep to develop new strategies to address overgrazing – benefitting sheep producers statewide.

Hovering above the average, U of I Extension, Madison County, at Rexburg, hosts one of the largest drone fleets in the state – and Idaho’s youth benefit through a variety of educational opportunities in drone flight and data gathering.

Eat Smart Idaho is delivered in 31 counties and has touched more than 30,000 low-income families with nutritional and physical activity education. U of I Extension, Payette County leads this effort in southwestern Idaho.

Providing leadership opportunities and career exploration for Idaho’s youth, 4-H Youth Development programming encourages thousands of Idaho’s youth each year with traditional agricultural programs like raising livestock, as well as exploratory programs like robotics. U of I Extension, Kootenai County in Coeur d’Alene boasts one of the state’s largest 4-H programs impacting more than 750 kids and teens each year.

Kootenai County and neighboring Boundary and Bonner counties, as well as the research site at Sandpoint, benefitted from a $410,000 broadband initiative from the Idaho Department of Commerce to help U of I upgrade broadband speeds and publicly-accessible wireless internet, supporting the residents of those counties.

The outreach potential of our U of I Extension sites is the perfect platform on which to build a statewide broadband initiative. We invested nearly $1 million in CARES Act funding to equip research and Extension centers with digital infrastructure and hardware to help them – and potential students – have better connectivity.

While I still have a number of sites to visit, I am privileged to better understand the role of these sites in our land-grant mission. We are here to serve our great state, not only in educating its students but in collaborating, teaching and sharing with all its citizens – so we can all live healthier, stronger and more impactful lives.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Teaching Practical Skills for Tomorrow

Students in technical programs at U of I benefit from the realistic relationships between course experiences and work required by educational institutions, business, industry, agriculture and family life.

Winning Participants of 2021 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival Earn Avista Scholarships

Four participants at this year’s Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival received scholarships to the University of Idaho from the Avista Foundation for their outstanding performances. Read more.

License Issued for New U of I Winter Canola

A Midwest-based company recently licensed a new, herbicide-resistant winter canola variety developed by retired University of Idaho plant breeder Jack Brown and colleagues as a new crop option for wheat growers. Read more.
Did You Know? U of I is hosting in-person commencement ceremonies in May. Six ceremonies in Moscow as well as one each in Boise and Idaho Falls will celebrate our 2021 graduates as well as those who graduated in 2020.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
March 12, 2021
Dear Vandals,

I couldn’t be prouder of how our faculty, staff and students pivoted in response to the pandemic. Their actions kept our university open and allowed us to deliver on our promise of a transformational education. But the work didn’t stop there. The Office of Alumni Relations has done a masterful job connecting our Vandal Family in new ways.

They were among the first in the country to offer virtual alumni programming – not easy for a group of extroverts accustomed to meeting their audiences face to face. Over the course of the past year, they’ve delivered Vandals an opportunity to gather online for cooking classes, yoga and meditation, trivia, Wine Down Wednesdays, pre-game celebrations and more.

One of the most successful online offerings is the Cup of Joe series, which features interviews with members of the Vandal Family or those of interest to alumni. It’s been so successful, in fact, it was recognized with a Bronze Award in the “pandemic pivot” category by the District VIII Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

More than 1,500 Vandals have tuned in to Cup of Joe to listen to and ask questions of alumni including SpaceX executive Tom Mueller, former Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and retired Seattle Times Editor Don Shelton. These online engagements will continue even after the pandemic is over. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to connect with Vandals in this way when I was interviewed for the series and look forward to doing it again.

The Vandal Mentor Network – also launched during the pandemic – connects current students and alumni of all ages for career advice. The online platform matches more than 1,200 alumni and students to discuss resumes, interview preparation and how to land that first job. I encourage you to check it out, build a profile and share your experiences with your fellow Vandals. This partnership among the Office of Alumni Relations, Office of Career Services and School of Journalism and Mass Media, in service to our students, is why Idaho’s businesses seek our graduates and continue to provide for them the highest starting salary of any public university graduates in the Gem State.

Some things sparked by necessity in the pandemic will become the norm long after COVID-19 is part of the distant past. The work of the Office of Alumni Relations provides new ways for the Vandal Family to connect, strengthen relationships and benefit our students, all for the benefit of our alma mater.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Finals Bound: Women’s Basketball Plays Today

One year after having its championship matchup canceled, No. 2 Idaho defeated No. 3 Montana State, 80-64, in the Big Sky Tournament Semifinals Wednesday. The Vandals advance to face the top-seeded Bengals of Idaho State today at 11 a.m. Pacific time today, March 12. The game will be streamed on PlutoTV channel 1050. Read more.
St. Paddy’s Day Trivia Night Is March 17: Feeling lucky? Test your Irish prowess at a special edition St. Paddy’s Day Trivia Night 6 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday, March 17. Hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations, this online event offers a chance to win a Pot O’ Gold.

College of Law Students Help Reduce Evictions: U of I students are partnering with nonprofit Jesse Tree in Boise to navigate eviction court on behalf of Idahoans struggling to pay rent.

Precision Ag Certificate Program Is Coming Soon: A new program in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences will prepare Idaho’s future farmers and ranchers to operate more efficiently, improve yields and better protect the environment.  
Pride points
Theatre Students Earn Top Honors: Three theatre students brought home five awards from the Region7 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, part of a national theatre program involving more than 18,000 students. Read more >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
March 5, 2021
Dear Vandals,

Perseverance drives innovation.

NASA video from 135 million miles away may help us understand if life once existed on the now-desolate surface of Mars. Following a nine-month journey, Perseverance’s landing on the red planet shows what happens when science and imagination collide.

The passion that drives NASA scientists also drives Vandals — and sometimes those are the same people. Vandal Avery Brock ’19, from Redmond, Washington, now coordinates for NASA the senior capstone projects he participated in just three years ago. His relationship with NASA began as a sophomore when he helped design a fix for an orbiting satellite during an internship with NASA’s Ames Research Center. The fix ensured the successful launch of the next satellite a year later. He is quick to credit the undergraduate research experience at the University of Idaho for his decision to be a Vandal and his interstellar job.

“At large institutions, you’re standing in line behind 40,000 students just to have a shot at a meaningful experience. That’s what makes U of I stand out,” said Avery. “You can get in the labs, befriend faculty and work on outstanding projects on a daily basis. Being smaller means more resources and more opportunity to spread those around.”

That opportunity took junior Lauren Perla, a mechanical engineering major from Sammamish, Washington, to Chile this spring. She and three classmates launched air balloons that record gravity waves produced by a complete solar eclipse. The Idaho Space Grant Consortium students’ work will help atmospheric scientists better understand gravity waves to improve current weather prediction models.

Students have aimed for the stars for 30 years through the Idaho Space Grant Consortium, headquartered at the U of I, by working with NASA to create out-of-this-world experiences that fuel the space agency’s workforce and propel their research. Some of that research will take flight to the International Space Station later this year.

Hannah Johnson, a senior from Coeur d’Alene, and five classmates will send their experiment about microgravity’s impact on bacteria-resistant polymers to the station for 30 days — without any interaction or observation from the station crew — before it returns to Earth for further research. It is one of five student projects — other project teams include Stanford and Columbia — selected by NASA through the Student Payload Opportunity With Citizen Science program.

Each summer, dozens of Vandals ignite NASA’s summer internships, which often launch into careers with the space agency. One thing is clear — not even the sky is the limit for Vandals.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Get Into the Game

Cheer on our Vandals in their second of three home games during this unprecedented spring football season tomorrow, March 6. The pre-game celebration begins at 11:15 a.m. Pacific time with kickoff at noon. Tickets are still available to experience the game in person. Join the watch party >

Empowered by ECHO in the NICU

Emma Henggeler, R.N., is inspired by ECHO to advocate for moms in the NICU and deepen her research into postpartum depression. Read more >

Faculty Exhibit Goes on Tour Virtually

Creative work from faculty in the College of Art and Architecture now has a larger audience. Join the faculty as they lead a Zoom “Walk Through” 6:30-8 p.m. Monday, March 8. Learn more >
Pride points
Kicker Named Player of the Week: Senior punter Cade Coffey was named the Stats Perform FCS National Special Teams Player of the Week after his incredible performance in Idaho’s 28-21 win over No. 12 Eastern Washington last Saturday. Read more >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Feb. 26, 2021
Dear Vandals,
We often say that the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival is grounded in tradition while breaking new ground.

That unofficial motto is especially true this year as we open the 54th annual festival to the entire world this weekend. Vandals across the globe can enjoy the evening concerts from our homes, a free virtual experience celebrating America’s first original art form.

But while the format has shifted, the focus on inspiring young artists has remained central to our mission. Elementary, junior high, high school and college student performances populate this week’s workshops headlined by world-class artists and university faculty. Students who can’t take part live can tap into the workshops through the rest of the school year as they fine-tune their skills.

We are reaching a bigger audience, including students who might not have had the ability to travel to Moscow in previous years. That engagement allows more young artists to celebrate Jazz Fest as a capstone celebration – workshops and clinics with today’s jazz greats fill the day, followed by evening performances alongside professional musicians. These connections are inspiring to see, and they speak to Lionel Hampton’s vision of celebrating jazz through music education.

That’s what’s so special about the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. We’re teaching music, but we’re also opening young minds up to a world of possibilities. The jazz festival has created these opportunities for more than a half-century, opening our eyes to what’s possible when education meets music here at the U of I.

Such notes of encouragement bring the idea of a college education to the forefront for these students, regardless of what they may study in the future. In fact, about 25 new University of Idaho students enroll each year because of their jazz festival experience. These students don’t all go into music, but they do continue their education in other career fields that benefit Idaho and our future. The festival traditionally brings more K-12 students to the Moscow campus than any other single event each year.

Hampton’s contribution to music education is realizing increased prominence in 2021. Evening concerts this weekend feature archive footage of the legendary vibraphonist and band leader, another aspect made possible as a result of this year’s virtual festival. Later this spring, Hampton will be honored posthumously by the GRAMMYs as a recipient of the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Hampton spent his life encouraging the talents of young artists. It’s fitting that new generations of student performers around the globe continue to discover his work. Think of it as another way his legacy continues to break new ground.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Join Virtual Pregame, Watch Party Events

Bring out your favorite Vandal gear and cheer on U of I student-athletes from anywhere during the Idaho Football spring season that starts Saturday and continues through April 10. Get the details >

U of I Steelhead Data Used by Many Agencies

University researchers are helping anglers and Idaho state fishery managers learn more about steelhead to better manage a renowned fishery that has had its share of ups and downs. Read the story >

Father, Son Share Unique WWAMI Bond

Bill ’13 and Rick Thurston ’74 of St. Maries, both Vandals and graduates of the Idaho WWAMI Medical Education program, brought a second and third generation of medicine to Idaho. Read more >
Pride points
Alumna Creates a Jazzy Masterpiece: (From the Coeur d’Alene Press) A digital creation by recent graduate Riley Helal has been selected as the commemorative artwork for the U of I’s 54th annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. Learn more >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Feb. 19, 2021
Dear Vandals,
You don’t have to look very far to find the University of Idaho’s greatest champions.

Vandals populate cities and towns across the globe. We work jobs in every field. We contribute to the economy and volunteer in our communities. We add value everywhere we go, a truth since our inception in 1889.

Let’s not keep it to ourselves. It’s on us to communicate that success, to tout the transformational education that led us to where we are today. That’s the motivation behind telling our story – to demonstrate how our students meet the needs of Idaho’s employers, and how Vandals benefit from their University of Idaho degree. Through word and deed, we can be effective recruiters and continue the Vandal legacy for generations long into the future.

The paths available to us to tell our story are endless. More than 110,000 Vandal alumni live across the world, and each and every one of us is an ambassador for this great university.

Even the smallest measures of support add up. Wear your pride gold in public and watch what happens, especially the farther you travel from Idaho. Every time I travel beyond Idaho wearing Vandal gear, someone will identify themselves as an alumni or friend of the University of Idaho. We often talk about the pull of the Vandal Family, but it’s truly amazing to see just how often we can meet a fellow Vandal when we’re all showing our pride.

About 200 alumni and others actively show their support in more public ways through our Brand Ambassador Program. These messengers are armed with toolkits and other information so they can advocate for the U of I in their own communities. More targeted measures brought out the Brave and Bold among Idaho’s teachers as part of last year’s wildly successful Vandalize the Classroom initiative.

Telling our unique story with one voice inspires future Vandals to join our ranks. It motivates more young people to access a life-changing education. It benefits our industry and government partners by ensuring they have trained workers who can compete at the highest levels. It aids our many communities by connecting support with the people who need it.

Each and every one of us is a recruiter for Idaho’s land-grant university, the Best Value public university in the West. Introduce the students in your life to the power of that Vandal education and help “Grow the Gold.”

We will continue to tell our story with billboards, TV spots, digital media and through every other possible avenue. A handful of alumni leveraged their own property to proudly support their Vandals. The first three silver and gold grain bins went up last year along busy highways near Picabo, Newdale and Parma. These grain bins represent the long-standing symbiotic relationship between the U of I and Gem State agriculture that benefits us all.

Vandals often ask how they can contribute to the U of I’s future. My answer: Just be our biggest supporters. Advocate on our behalf to your friends, students you may know, or your partners in government and industry. Write your legislators in support of the university and our contribution to the state.

We are changing lives here in Moscow, and at points across the entire state. Let’s all serve as ambassadors in that mission.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Johanna Kalb Named College of Law Dean

Johanna Kalb, law faculty from Loyola University and a Yale graduate, will start in May as the next dean of the College of Law. Read more >

Two-Day World Music Celebration Starts Today

The World Music Celebration 2021 starts at 7:30 p.m. today, Feb. 19, broadcast live and free from the Haddock Performance Hall. Read more >
Snapshots

Across Vandal Country

Fall 2021 Football Conference Schedule Released: The Idaho Vandals’ Fall 2020 Big Sky Conference schedule has moved to Fall 2021, following a conference-only spring season.

Students Practice Art of Injection at WWAMI Vaccination Training: (From the Moscow-Pullman Daily News) About 40 aspiring doctors, nurses and athletic trainers paired up and practiced administering vaccines in a training hosted by Idaho WWAMI.

Engineering Faculty Named 2020 Top Cybersecurity Innovators: College of Engineering Distinguished Professor Brian Johnson and Assistant Professor Dakota Roberson are part of a research and design team named among 2020 Top Innovators. 

Student Studying Wildfire Smoke Effects in Cattle: Animal science graduate student Ashly Anderson is working with faculty members to look at how poor air quality from wildfires impacts dairy cattle health and production.

Did you know?
Watch the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival Concerts Free of Charge: The 2021 Jazz Fest virtual concerts, Feb. 25-27, feature some of today’s brightest stars in jazz as well as archive footage of past jazz greats performing with Hampton himself. See the schedule >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Feb. 12, 2021
Dear Vandals,
Many Vandals wouldn’t be where we are today without the education we received from the University of Idaho. Our transformation was the result of our community, training, mentorship, financial support, together with the many opportunities and connections that come with a Vandal education.

No matter our Vandal experience, it is certain that we did not make this journey alone.

Like many alumni, I can point to moments during my university experience when I received a helping hand. Scholarships and work opportunities, together with the education and mentoring I received as a Vandal student, gave me the education that prepared me well for my chosen career.

That’s the power of Vandal philanthropy. Generosity today cultivates success among the leaders of tomorrow. That same virtuous circle continues to pay dividends, just as it has for 132 years.

Recent generosity is providing a similar boost for our Vandal Promise scholars. These Idaho students receive up to $5,000 annually in need-based aid, which eliminates a barrier to entry for many university students. We’ve been able to grow the Vandal Promise cohort to about 40 this year because of generous donor support. Among our Vandal Promise scholars is EmmaRae Darland, a sophomore in biotechnology and plant genomics who is finding it easier to finance her education because of this assistance.

Gratitude for his University of Idaho education prompted Tom Slayton ’72 to recently donate $1 million to create an endowed professorship in East Asian politics. Tom was raised in Blackfoot, and after his time at the U of I, went on to become one of the world’s leading experts on the international rice market. Tom’s gift supports courses of study in political science, the same ones that opened opportunities for him. He is paying it forward, benefiting hard-working Vandal students far into the future.

The experiences students have at the U of I today prepare them to compete in a global marketplace and contribute to Idaho’s economy. We’re thankful to Northwest Farm Credit Services for the company’s $2 million contribution this month to that end. In addition to facility improvements across the state, the gift establishes a student organization whose aim is to educate and promote a diverse pool of talented leaders – exactly the workforce that Idaho industry is seeking.

Idaho industry benefits from the U of I’s research engine and the talented students who emerge ready to contribute to it. Northwest Farm Credit Services’ recent gift further supports The Wayne Thiessen Potato Research Professorship, aimed at improving storage technology. In addition, a recent $250,000 gift from the Idaho Beef Council establishes a graduate fellowship to advance research into beef safety and nutrition, educating the next generation of beef industry experts for Idaho and the West.

Vandals get it done, but we don’t get it done alone. Each of us has benefited because of the work and generosity of someone who came before us. Philanthropic support creates the scholarship, fellowship and mentorship opportunities to ensure tomorrow’s Vandals are elevated in the same way.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Fans Allowed at Idaho Football Games

Vandal Athletics will release a limited number of tickets for upcoming Idaho Football games Feb. 27 against Eastern Washington and March 27 against Southern Utah. Find ticket options >

Vandal Giving Day Supports Students 

The annual Vandal Giving Day online fundraising event April 6-7 promotes the resilience of the University of Idaho as we provide our students tools through scholarships, experiential undergraduate research and the unconditional support of the Vandal Family. Learn more at vandalsgive.uidaho.edu >

Iupatis Transform Vandal Athletics Fueling Center

A portion of the couple’s gift will go toward the Ashley and Mike Iupati Athletic Nutrition Endowment, generating permanent funding for the Fueling Center inside the Kibbie Dome. Read more >

Send a Vandal-Tine to Fellow Vandals Feb. 14

Make Feb. 14 Vandal-tine’s Day. It’s almost Valentine’s Day and the Office of Alumni Relations is giving Vandals the perfect opportunity to create some special valentines. Print a Vandal-tine card >
Snapshots

Across Vandal Country

Stream the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival: The 2021 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival will be broadcast free and across the world Feb. 25-27. 

Breastfeeding Mothers Produce COVID-19 Antibodies: Breastfeeding women with COVID-19 do not pass along the virus in their milk but do transfer milk-borne antibodies, a U of I-led team has found.

Faculty Exhibit Opens at Prichard Art Gallery: The Prichard Art Gallery’s annual exhibit of work from faculty in the College of Art and Architecture runs through March 28, with varied work that celebrates faculty members’ creative activity and scholarly research.

Pride points
Vandals Make Fall Dean’s List: Congratulations to the 2,815 University of Idaho students who maintained at least a 3.5 GPA on a minimum of 12 graded credits to qualify for the 2020 Fall Dean’s List. See the lists>

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Feb. 5, 2021
Dear Vandals,
Collaboration leads to better results. By working as a team, we know we can accomplish more at the University of Idaho than any one of us could deliver on our own.

That’s how Vandals get it done. And it’s stunning to see what we’ve accomplished over the past 18 months. We addressed a critical budget shortfall, opened our own in-house coronavirus testing lab, kept the Moscow campus open, been recognized as the Best Value of any public university in the West by U.S. News and World Report, continued construction on the iconic ICCU Arena and negotiated a public-private partnership for our utility system assets that will allow for meaningful investment in the future.

These achievements help us build upon the University of Idaho’s strong base. To that end, we have assembled a leadership team, including new additions to our Vandal Family as well as steady veterans, who will together be integral to the future of the organization.

Many Vandals know Torrey Lawrence, appointed provost and executive vice president in December after more than 20 years with the university. Torrey is a thoughtful, personable and capable leader for our institution who ensures delivery of the transformational education experience students need to be successful.

Chris Nomura is charting the course to R-1 status for the university through a research engine that already delivers a tremendous return on investment while solving the state’s most difficult problems. Chris joined us from the State University of New York system, where he oversaw forestry-related research. His work at the U of I focuses on improving efficiencies, communication and alignment of state and federal research strategies as vice president for research and economic development.

Telling our story brings people together, opening doors to collaboration and investment. It joins us together as a community. Chief Marketing Officer Teresa Koeppel, who joined us from Compass Group at Google, is charged with creating and leading the architectural framework for storytelling that will allow us to capitalize on the momentum of the past 18 months as we elevate the excellent work happening across our statewide footprint.

Coordinating initiatives both across the university as well as with industry partners and Vandal alumni is Ben McLuen. Our new associate vice president for development, Ben recently came to the U of I from Oregon State. Ben’s work facilitates connections both internally and externally so we can better align the needs of Idaho’s employers with the skills of students and the university’s own priorities.

You’ve heard me say many times that we are a university on the rise. This team, along with countless others across the institution, are working together to build the framework that will further our ascent. By speaking with one voice, by working across operational lines, we can continue to effectively serve our students and communities today while planning for an impactful future that is bound only by our imagination.

It’s amazing to see what’s possible when Vandals put our minds to it. Working together, we can connect that impact to an even more inspired future for the U of I and the entire Gem State.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

$2 Million Northwest Farm Credit Services Gift Supports Agricultural Programs

Major research and education programs, scholarships and a new minority student organization will benefit from a $2 million gift from Northwest Farm Credit Services to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Read more >

Distinguished Professor Celebrates 60 Years of Chemistry Research

University Distinguished Professor Jean’ne Shreeve celebrated 60 years with the university chemistry department this week, a milestone that — along with her accomplishments — is a tough act to follow. Read more >

Interdisciplinary Student Team Finds Solution to Construction Woes

A student team that worked with construction professionals to solve costly and labor-intensive industry hurdles earned $10,000 for its first-place win during the 2020 Hacking for Homebuilding reverse pitch-style competition. Learn more >
Snapshots

Across the University

Former U.S. Ambassador to Speak Feb. 9: Robert P. Jackson, an expert on Africa and foreign affairs, will deliver a free, public address titled “U.S. Diplomacy in Africa” Tuesday, Feb. 9, via Zoom.

Kerr Book Among Finalists for Annual Prose Award: A book published last year by Spanish Assistant Professor Ashley Kerr is one of three finalists for the 2021 PROSE Award from the Association of American Publishers.

A Helping Hand for College Students With Autism: (From the Moscow-Pullman Daily News) The Raven Scholars Program continues to be a key resource during the pandemic and the migration to online learning.

Lionel Hampton School of Music in the Top Three: Citing the school’s prominent performers, teachers and composers, Best Value Schools awarded the Lionel Hampton School of Music a score of 95, placing it as a top-tier institution.

Did you know?
Barker Trading Program Competes With Real Money: Trading After Dark challenges 10 U of I students to make 10 trades at $10,000 a trade. Competing against four other university teams, Barker Trading Program students put $100,000 on the line, hoping to come out on top. Learn more >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Jan. 29, 2021
Dear Vandals,
The University of Idaho is an important economic engine for the state. Vandals have an impact wherever they operate. Our graduates command the highest starting salaries because they are prepared to immediately contribute and add value to the Gem State economy. And, the U of I’s research activities drive investments that help agriculture, industry and Idaho’s communities thrive.

I delivered that message this week to state lawmakers, highlighting the successes we’ve had as a university in addressing our budget situation while fulfilling our research mission and providing access to the in-person education students need to be successful.

Idaho’s higher education leaders also appealed to the Legislature as a group. In addition to University of Idaho administrators, State Board of Education President Debbie Critchfield and the presidents of Boise State University, Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College made a collective pitch for the impact a college education can have on our young people and our communities.

I’ve said it before: A college education makes us all healthier, wealthier and wiser. The University of Idaho has stayed true to that mission – we’ve provided a well-rounded education to Idaho’s graduates for 132 years. Our students – 72% who are from Idaho – work hard, think for themselves and engage with their communities.

Gov. Brad Little’s budget will allow us to continue that investment while providing a return to the sectors that rely on our support. That’s why the U of I has joined with the state’s other public universities to freeze in-state tuition for the second year in a row. While we’re already ranked the Best Value of any public university in the West, we recognize finances can still be an issue and want to ensure all of the state’s hard-working young adults have the opportunity to elevate themselves through a college education.

Also in the governor’s budget is $3 million to create the Idaho Center for Plant and Soil Health at Parma. That funding is being matched with $3 million in private donations from eight different commodity groups to further benefit monitoring of airborne plant pathogens and responses to nematode infestations so farmers can react before damage is done to their crops. In addition, state money for industry-requested greenhouses will expand tree seedling production at the Pitkin Forest Nursery and bring a portion of that production back to Idaho from Canada. These projects will allow U of I to further align our research enterprise with the needs of industry, government partners and our sister institutions.

As good stewards of taxpayer and tuition dollars, we’ve done the hard work to right-size our budget over the past year, emerging stronger and leaner in the process. It will help us as we continue to educate Idaho’s future leaders, strengthen our research and support residents in each of the state’s counties.

That’s our mission, a mission we’ve taken to heart for 132 years. We are a university on the rise, and we look forward to helping the Gem State thrive for the next 132.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Alumnus Creates Endowed Professorship for East Asian Politics

Tom Slayton ’72 recently donated $1 million to create the endowment in support of the university that opened up opportunities for him as a student. Read more >

Vandal Explorers: Doctoral Student Studies Glacier Surge in Alaska

Chris Miele used seismic tools to understand water flow under Alaska’s Turner Glacier, which may indicate how a changing environment will influence glaciers. Learn more >
Snapshots

STORIES ACross Vandal Country

Vandals Announce Updated Spring 2021 Football Schedule: The latest installment of Idaho Football’s Spring 2021 schedule has been released, featuring three home contests and six games overall.

Latest McFarland Book Focuses on Fishing: “Professor McFarland in Reel Time,” by retired English Professor Ron McFarland, is a collection of poems, essays and stories about his fishing experiences.

Wu Receives Green Nitrogen Fertilizer Grant: Chemical and Biological Engineering Assistant Professor Sarah (Xiao) Wu received nearly $200,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to continue research using liquid-phase plasma to produce green nitrogen fertilizer.

Theatre Arts Presents Free Virtual Reading of ‘Her Sister’: Written by Master of Fine Arts playwriting candidate Kendra Phillips, free virtual readings of the play will be held Jan. 29-31.

Did you know?
Saturday Marks 132 Years Since the University of Idaho’s Founding: Territorial Gov. Edward Stevenson signed the bill establishing the University of Idaho on Jan. 30, 1889. See the timeline >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Jan. 22, 2021
Dear Vandals,
The educational experience most University of Idaho students engage in is a reflection of our rapidly changing world. Investments in technology and broadband, sped up by the pandemic, can ensure Vandals today, and Vandals tomorrow, have access to transformational learning environments in any subject, no matter where they are.

Nearly 900 undergraduate and graduate students already pursue their courses online. While U of I will always deliver an unparalleled in-person education, just as we have for more than 130 years, the world demands accessibility at a distance. We can provide that access to every corner of Idaho – and around the globe.

Faculty and staff have learned what works and what doesn’t over the past 10 months, focusing on projects that support improved outcomes for students.

  • We invested nearly $1 million in CARES Act funding distributed by Gov. Brad Little to improve distance learning, equipping 21 research and Extension centers with needed technology and accelerating the purchase of nearly 200 laptops across our system. Software has been ordered as design work continues on lecture-recording studios to benefit faculty around the state.
  • Our IT team has used Idaho Department of Commerce grant funding to bring broadband internet and publicly accessible wireless to our Extension offices in Boundary, Bonner and Kootenai counties, as well as the Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center. 
  • Possibilities are being looked at to expand our broadband consortium – the Idaho Regional Optical Network – to 12 additional Idaho counties. In some cases, installations are proposed next door to our Extension centers. Our goal is to offer distance education delivery from all 42 U of I Extension centers and our nine research and Extension centers in addition to the instruction already delivered through our urban centers of Boise, Idaho Falls and Coeur d’Alene.
  • An Online Education Working Group convened last year with a charge to analyze U of I’s remote learning capabilities and suggest the best path for quick expansion. Its recommendation calls for keeping a mix of the digital and in-person elements we’ve been utilizing since last March, improving the delivery of programs in our areas of strength and where there is demand in the marketplace. We will be investing $1 million annually over the next several years to build out programs and support services for online and distance learners.
U of I’s efforts are running parallel with the State Board of Education’s Idaho Online program. Idaho Online is designed to consolidate online courses, streamline the process of earning a degree and improve the infrastructure for all the state’s colleges and universities.

Improving services for Vandals who take online courses will be vital as we work to ensure every student – whether learning remotely or through a mix of in-person and online classes – can take the same pride in earning a degree. We’re committed to investing in the needed infrastructure and building the marketplace that will better support online-only learners. The return will be worth it as we improve accessibility for our students, our communities and our entire educational ecosystem.

Remote learning at the university has come a long way since the Engineering Outreach programs of the 1980s that allowed students to earn their degree by mail through lectures on VHS tapes. This new focus on opportunities to strategically promote offerings and expand where we have expertise, combined with investments in broadband access and technology, will help us meet Vandals where they are for generations to come.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Student Team a Finalist in Nationwide Space Station Research Project 

A College of Engineering team is one of five groups nationwide selected by NASA to build an experiment that will fly to the International Space Station and remain there for 30 days before returning to Earth. Read more >

Vandal Cooking Class Set for February: Join alumna Keely Garrity ’06, owner of Ampersand Oil and Vinegar Tap House in Moscow, to kick off spring football with some gourmet tailgate food.

Moose Research Shows Potential Causes of Recent Declines: U of I wildlife ecology Professor Janet Rachlow is among university researchers working with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to explore why some Idaho moose populations are on the decline.

Confluence Lab Tackles Wilderness Understanding: The story of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is more than the science, more than the river, more than the people. The Confluence Lab is tackling that complexity.

Pride points
Join the Auditorium Chamber Music Series for Educational and Virtual Events: Free spring concerts start Jan. 28 and feature world-renowned artists. See the schedule >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Jan. 15, 2021
Dear Vandals,
An immense amount of effort went into building the pandemic response ecosystem that protected University of Idaho students and employees last fall.

The in-house COVID-19 testing lab, our partnership with Gritman Medical Center, efforts to examine wastewater and classroom technology improvements all contributed to our ability to hold in-person classes on the Moscow campus.

Fall semester operations were a success because of the logistics put into testing students, isolating positive COVID-19 cases and proactively approaching challenges related to the pandemic.

We saw which tactics worked and identified where improvements could be made. To that end, Spring 2021 is beginning to look a lot like fall. We are off to a great start. More than 5,100 people have already received the COVID-19 tests required to enter a classroom or live in U of I residence halls, and we have experienced a low positivity rate, much lower than the statewide average.

We expect that instances of COVID-19 will rise as the Vandal Family comes together for spring and our asymptomatic community is tested and retested. We are prepared to respond quickly and thoughtfully to this dynamic environment. As was the case last fall, students who test positive will be cared for and supported in our isolation facilities.

I am excited to see our students return to campus. There’s an encouraging feeling that comes from seeing Vandals start a new semester in Moscow and around the state. 2020 was a year we are all glad is behind us, but there’s also a sense of pride for what we have accomplished as a university, and a knowledge that 2021 will continue to challenge us. Spring is a busy time as many Vandals make the final push to complete capstone projects and the final credits toward a university degree. Student-athletes are working to achieve their highest potential during an eventful and unprecedented spring sports season. Achieving these milestones while in person and keeping COVID-19 in check requires vigilance.

Living by the Healthy Vandal Pledge is a critical piece of the ecosystem we have created to keep our community safe. I appreciate how our community has responded thus far and am optimistic we will soon be on the other side of this historically challenging time, well-positioned, stronger and ready to achieve the objectives we have set.

We have many opportunities to thrive this spring with your support.

Keep Calm and Vandal On!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

New U of I Degree Program Works to Fill Demand for Cybersecurity Professionals

The cybersecurity landscape is rapidly evolving and the next generation of professionals from U of I is ready to lead the way. (From Spokane Public Radio) Listen to the story >

U of I Study: Grizzly Bears Use Cooling Baths to Avoid Heat Stress 

Taking a bath to relieve stress isn’t unique to humans. Bears do it too, U of I researchers have found. Although the bears appear to enjoy taking a dip, it likely helps them cool down. Read more >

Idaho Beef Council Invests in $250,000 Research Endowment

The Idaho Beef Council is investing state beef checkoff dollars in an endowment that will support graduate students conducting research in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Read more >
Did you know?
We Have the Rankings to Back up Vandal Pride: Find the outside validation about the University of Idaho’s value, academic excellence, research and social opportunities, all in one place. See the list >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Jan. 8, 2021
Dear Vandals,
I hope you had a healthy and joyous holiday season. Here at the University of Idaho, we are again gearing up for a semester of productive, in-person classes.

Students are returning in advance of classes next Wednesday and, therefore, free COVID-19 testing began this week to ensure a safe return to live instruction. Our innovative and proactive approach in Fall 2020 allowed the Moscow campus to remain open with a COVID-19 positivity rate well below the local, state and regional averages. As we look to replicate that goal this spring, we know it will take all of us working together to ensure the health and safety of the Vandal Family.

With the help of everyone living the Healthy Vandal Pledge, we’re confident we can manage the pandemic while providing access to the in-person learning experience our students want and expect. Our efforts proved successful in Fall 2020 as no coronavirus cases were traced back to classrooms. Just like last semester, students must clear COVID-19 protocols before being allowed to attend classes in person. Face coverings and social distancing will remain part of our daily life for some time.

Still, COVID-19 will challenge us again this spring until a vaccine is more widely available. As I communicated earlier this week to our students, staff and faculty, we must stay mindful and not let COVID-19 beat us. We have many opportunities to thrive this spring if we stay vigilant and committed to each other.

Vandals make great things happen when we set our minds to it. We will tackle the obstacles presented and embrace the opportunities in front of us to succeed as only Vandals can.

Happy New Year, Keep Calm and Vandal On!

C. Scott Green
President