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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. To subscribe, contact Executive Communications Manager Brian Keenan at bkeenan@uidaho.edu.

The Friday Letter

January 12, 2018
Dear Friends,
For Vandal students, the start of spring semester means continued progress toward a degree that will shape their personal and professional futures. In higher education, we refer to that progress toward an educational goal as “persistence,” and that term’s associations with hard work and determination are entirely appropriate. At U of I, we are working hard to complement those laudable values with the right combination of pragmatic approaches and novel solutions to help more Vandals cross the finish line. 
 
This spring we’re rolling out a comprehensive data management tool called VandalStar to help students, advisors and faculty members stay connected in support of a student’s progress. Academics, student life, financial aid and other aspects of the college experience are monitored and analyzed by VandalStar to identify risk factors and prompt timely interventions. We’re also centralizing our advising, recognizing that central advising can serve our students and position our staff to efficiently and effectively deliver the best possible support.
 
Affordability is a key consideration throughout a college experience. At U of I, our institutional scholarships are renewable for four years, meaning the affordability you experienced as a freshman remains a great deal for you as a senior. While at U of I, the Better Education About Money for Students (BEAMS) financial literacy program, available for every Vandal, helps students navigate their options and plan for their future. All students are urged to take advantage of our forward-looking Career Services center, connecting students with internships, post-graduation employment, graduate studies, and other opportunities that will prepare them for life after U of I. Many student services are being consolidated into a central location on our Moscow campus, the Vandal Success Center, and are also available to students at other locations.
 
Having sent three children of our own through college, Mary Beth and I know that parents want students to have a place to explore and grow on their own, and have all the support they need. At U of I, we are “big enough to matter, and small enough to care.” The best possible academic experiences and classroom learning opportunities are supplemented by mentoring from faculty and supportive staff. U of I is a caring community, and also a place where we understand the investment being made and the need for that to pay off with a degree.
 
Values of persistence, compassion and excellence drive how I think about higher education, and I know they motivate our faculty and staff. Last fall our first-to-second-year retention rates, already the highest among Idaho public institutions, rose from 77 percent to 82 percent. Changing and adapting student services means we’ll continue to get even better.
 
Ultimately, we hope to reward the brave and bold persistence of all students who enter U of I with degrees at Commencement, adding real meaning to the phrases we use in that ceremony when we award, “the degree, earned, with all the rights and privileges thereunto.”
 
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President

Albers’ Support the CLASS Excellence Fund

William Albers’ ’66 life was transformed by his experience at the University of Idaho. He met Patricia, the love of his life and wife of 56 years. He earned a degree in political science that led to a successful 51-year career in agribusiness. Their daughter ’91 followed her father’s example and became a Vandal alumna. Now, William and Patricia Albers show their Vandal pride in numerous ways, including their support of the CLASS Excellence Fund. The Albers know that this fund allows the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) the flexibility to invest in the most immediate and strategic needs of the college. “It’s a pleasure and honor to give back to the institution that has meant so much to me and my extended family,” said William. “I feel blessed to be able to contribute financially so that the college can assist others.” For more information on giving to CLASS, contact Shyanne Knighten at 208-885-4561 or sknighten@uidaho.edu.

Vandals Recognized As 2018 Women of the Year

Twelve University of Idaho alumnae are among the Idaho Business Review’s 50 honorees as 2018 Women of the Year. The honorees include: Ariel Agenbroad, associate professor, University of Idaho; Emma Atchley, director, Bank of Idaho, Ashton, and Idaho State Board of Education member; Renee Bade, program manager, Serve Idaho, Boise; Linda Clark, president, Idaho State Board of Education; Anna Eberlin, partner, Holland and Hart LLC, Boise; Shiloh Holmes, senior director, marketing and business development, Slichter Ugrin Architecture, Boise; Amy Little president and CEO, Idaho Nonprofit Center, Boise; Tara Malek, assistant United States attorney, United States Attorney’s Office District of Idaho, Boise; Elizabeth Montgomery, executive director, Inland Northwest SIDS Foundation, Coeur d’Alene; Christine Nicholas, partner, Hawley Troxell Ennis & Hawley LLP, Boise; MaryAnna Peavey, director, Flat Top Sheep Co Ranch, Hailey; Crystal Wilson, vice president, health and wellness, Dairy West, Meridian. Vandal alumnae have earned recognition as Idaho Business Review Woman of the Year in consecutive years: Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong was honored in 2017, and Norah Carpenter, president and CEO of United Way Treasure Valley, was similarly honored in 2016. This year’s awards and the selection of the 2018 Woman of the Year will occur March 8, and all women will be profiled in a March 9 magazine published by Idaho Business Review.

Distinguished Speakers Headline Upcoming Events

The University of Idaho welcomes two distinguished visitors to campus as part of its annual Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month events. Organizer, educator, attorney and community activist Nikkita Oliver will deliver the keynote address for U of I’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on Thursday, Jan. 18. Then on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead will give a talk on his book, “The Underground Railroad.” Oliver’s speech will begin at 5 p.m. Jan. 18 in the Bruce M. Pitman Center Vandal Ballroom. Her talk will address the importance of community organizing and grassroots efforts, and how white supremacist structures impact everyday life. The lecture is sponsored by U of I’s Office of Equity and Diversity and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.  U of I will continue celebrating the legacy of King throughout January and into the February as part of Black History Month. Whitehead’s talk is at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12, in the Pitman Center International Ballroom. His lecture is co-sponsored by the Idaho Humanities Council. A book signing will follow the presentation.
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The Friday Letter

January 5, 2018
Dear Friends,
This morning, thanks to the naming rights support of Idaho Central Credit Union, we are $10 million closer to making the dream of a new arena on our Moscow campus a reality. ICCU’s sponsorship makes a great difference toward construction of a stunning facility, one that serves our student-athletes well, offers a dynamic space for our community, and proves the potential for large-scale mass-timber wood construction.
 
I am proud to have the support of an Idaho company committed to serving our state. Like the University of Idaho, ICCU, born and based in the Gem State, has a statewide mission and presence. Over the years, ICCU has been a sponsor of many events at U of I, including our “Battle of the Domes” rivalry with Idaho State University, and many Vandal graduates have built careers at the company. We are thrilled to be further connected with this values-driven organization, already a positive presence across so much of Idaho.
 
The sponsorship of Idaho Central Credit Union sends a clear message about the direction of our state and our land-grant university. Our current fundraising for the project is about $34 million. Recent design estimates suggest that we have about $11 million to go. As we gain more support for this project, I am very optimistic. This is Idaho — we can achieve big things.
 
We started down this fundraising effort several years ago. Our students, represented by the Associated Students of the University of Idaho, stepped up with financial support. Our Alumni Association and the University of Idaho Foundation have made important contributions. Individuals and organizations in Idaho and beyond have been drawn to the project. If you want to join that effort, we welcome that support.
 
A world-class arena is a critical piece of infrastructure on our campus. I have always believed U of I can build outstanding basketball programs that compete for championships year in and year out. A modern, well-equipped facility sends a clear message to student-athletes who want to be a part of that excellence. The arena will contribute to a dynamic campus environment for students, faculty and staff alike. We can also show the world what Idaho industry and natural resources like timber are all about, with a unique wood facility at the leading edge of the commercialization of engineered wood construction.
 
This project is not quite a slam dunk yet, but victory is in sight. We’re deeply grateful for Idaho Central Credit Union’s partnership on this project. Over the next year, we need more partners to continue to step up and get involved. To borrow another basketball metaphor, every bucket counts.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President

Committed to Helping Students In and Out of the Classroom


“Taking care of students both in and outside the classroom is a priority of the U of I College of Engineering,” said Dean Larry Stauffer. Generous donors like Linda and Bob Parkinson share this commitment. The Parkinsons established an emergency fund to assist students facing unforeseen financial needs; they understand that an unexpected car repair or rent payment when a roommate walks out is a financial burden that can jeopardize a student’s ability to stay in school. The Parkinsons’ have also made a commitment to support a student success center, a larger college strategy to retain students and equip them with the tools they need to be successful and graduate. This summer, the college will begin construction on the center, helping mitigate common challenges students face in pursuit of their education — professional and academic planning, career guidance, and financial aid and scholarship counseling. For information on supporting the student success center or other College of Engineering giving opportunities, contact Bobbi Hughes at bhughes@uidaho.edu or 208-885-5303.

Jacob Sannon Named to Football Academic All-America First Team


University of Idaho senior wide receiver Jacob Sannon was named to the 2017 CoSIDA Football Academic All-America First Team, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced in December. Sannon is the fifth Vandal football student-athlete to earn Academic All-America distinction since the award’s inception in 1952, and Idaho’s second first-team honoree. He is just the third first-team Academic All-American in school history, regardless of sport, and the first since 1973. Football student-athlete Bruce Langmeade garnered Idaho’s first such honor in 1970, followed by baseball student-athlete William Tomtell in 1973. A native of Bradenton, Florida, Sannon earned an accounting degree last spring with a 3.91 grade-point average and currently holds a 4.0 GPA in graduate school as he works toward a master’s degree in accounting.

Graduation Improvements and Success


Guest column by President Staben published in Idaho Education News and the Moscow-Pullman Daily News:

Many of us in higher education and across Idaho’s education system have spent a lot of time in recent years working to get more of Idaho’s students to go to college. In today’s economy, we all know how important postsecondary education is for individual success, and for our society.

But that goal of getting more students into the higher education system means nothing if we do not also have a goal of getting those students out of the system, graduated and on their way to a better life.

In Idaho, we have lowered the hurdles for accessing an education through statewide initiatives such as dual-credit programs, direct admissions and a common college application. But we also must be proactive about the obstacles that prevent students from finishing their degrees. Our students — and our state — deserve a thoughtful approach to college retention and completion, complementing robust go-on efforts with measures that encourage students to stay on through graduation. Read More »

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Dec. 8, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
Tomorrow marks a milestone for 618 Vandals. Crossing the stage at Commencement, they join 118,000 other graduates of Idaho’s great public research institution. Each University of Idaho graduate has a unique story to tell of challenges overcome, talents unleashed and goals realized on their way to that final stage. Here are three great examples of Vandal excellence from among our graduates, representative of the many different students we are proud to include in the Vandal family.
 
A 20-year veteran of the of the United States Air Force, including 14 years in a fire protection role, Sidney Boardman wanted to go back to college. U of I’s reputation made it all the way to an air base in England where he was working, and while Sidney had never lived in Idaho, it was the right fit for his experience and ambition. He credits support from our Veteran’s Services office, Student Support Services, the Martin Institute, and, most importantly, his wife, for helping him graduate tomorrow where he’ll receive an international studies degree. “It allowed me to look at the world through a different lens,” he said of his degree path. “You learn more about the world when you think about things in a different way.” For a person who’s already seen much of the world, he plans to use his degree to explore an international career.
 
Corrina Cheatham had a career with the TSA when she moved to Boise in 2008. But it wasn’t fulfilling, and a disability was affecting her personally and professionally. She enrolled in animal science classes at the College of Western Idaho. Eventually, with the encouragement and support of U of I faculty, she transferred to the University of Idaho. Faculty and staff accommodated her needs, including a service animal, and she worked very hard to excel in her studies while balancing her family life as she completed a degree in animal and veterinary science with a dairy option. “If you want to come to a school that is going to fully support you as a university, a college and a department, I would suggest UI,” she said. “It’s so much more of a family and more of a support system then I’ve ever seen in a school.” I can’t think of higher praise for our institution or our people, and I am so glad we have earned it from Corrina.
 
Claire Majors, from Montana, came to U of I in 2013, and learned from a few experiences, including an internship, before she eventually discovered her passion as an engineering major. Saying that “today’s adventurers are engineers,” Claire was excited to see the breakthroughs and discoveries that engineers get to make. Participating in the University of Idaho Humanitarian Engineering Corps with a trip to build potable water systems in the indigenous village of Carani, Bolivia, proved eye-opening for Claire, as I know it has for many involved in this program. After graduation, Claire’s next exploration is a doctorate in biological engineering, though she’ll continue to work with the Humanitarian Engineering Corps. Get interested, get involved, get ready for your future after a degree — it’s all a part of the U of I experience.
 
Each of these students had different entry points to higher education. I am proud that we have offered each an environment where they can find their passion, take advantage of opportunities, and prepare for a great career and a rewarding life. Thank you to all our graduating students for setting an example with hard work and inspiration that makes U of I a better place. We look forward to seeing what you do next.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM U OF I

Auen Foundation Helps Transform Cummings Center

In 2005, the Auen Foundation generously gifted the University of Idaho full ownership of more than 1,000 acres of ranch land along with the following mission: Transform the land along the Salmon River into the future Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center. In November, groups from Salmon, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and U of I Extension Lemhi County gathered on the land for a groundbreaking ceremony. The Auen Foundation, the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, Nick and Sharon Purdy, Nikos Monoyios and the Idaho Cattle Foundation turned a powerful idea into reality by providing additional support to begin construction on the new educational and research facility. According to John Hall, Cummings Center superintendent, the 8,100-square-foot Cummings Center will house research projects and educational programming on cattle, grazing land maintenance, and cattle feed development. It will serve as a valuable resource for students and the community. For more information on foundation giving or supporting the Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center, contact Jen Root at jroot@uidaho.edu or 208-885-4087, or Chloe Rambo at 208-885-7060 or crambo@uidaho.edu.

Inspired Discoveries Research Report Available Online

The 2017 edition of Inspired Discoveries, the University of Idaho’s annual research report, is now available to explore online. Feature stories showcase the impact of the U of I research and scholarship enterprise across disciplines: work to visualize science, statewide collaborations to bolster cybersecurity, interdisciplinary research at the Integrated Research and Innovation Center (IRIC) and more. Inspired Discoveries also summarizes FY16 expenditures as reported to the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) survey. The stories and funding overviews highlight the university’s research, scholarly, creative and technology commercialization activities that drive discovery and innovation.

Tell Us What You Think About Here We Have Idaho Magazine

Do you get Here We Have Idaho magazine? Whether you are an alum, employee, student, parent or just a friend of the University of Idaho, your feedback can help inform the direction of the magazine. Tell us what you think by taking this quick survey. All responses are reported as statistical totals only; respondents will not be individually identified.

IGEM Grant Advances Partnership with Industry

The University of Idaho, its Idaho Falls center and partners at Boise State University and the Center for Advanced Energy Studies have secured a $237,898 Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) grant from the Idaho Department of Commerce to further develop the university’s partnership with Japanese company Sakae Casting. The grant will help fund research efforts toward the development of an aluminum cast with embedded natural boron for cooling used nuclear fuel. Richard Christensen, director of nuclear engineering at U of I in Idaho Falls, and Assistant Professor of nuclear engineering R. A. Borrelli will work with partners CAES and BSU on the project. Efforts on the IGEM project will go toward commercialization research aimed at bringing Sakae’s viable technologies to market. The IGEM grant is the second awarded to an Idaho Falls-based project in as many years. U of I’s College of Engineering was previously awarded a $2.1 million IGEM grant in 2016 to help develop new methods of protecting Idaho and national cyber infrastructure.

The Friday Letter

Dec. 1, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
We are near the finish line of another great semester at the University of Idaho. In the classroom, in research and in communities, Vandals have been busy this fall. It’s impossible to catalog every Vandal success story here, but I want to point out a few representative examples of Vandal excellence, and thank all our students, faculty and staff for their outstanding work.
 
This fall our students once again set a high bar for achievement. Two Vandals, Stephen Hancock and Emma Redfoot, completed a semester as INL graduate fellows, joining an inaugural cadre drawn from ambitious students across the nation. Accounting graduate and football team member Jacob Sannon was one of 25 student-athletes nationwide to earn an 1A Faculty Athletics Representative Academic Excellence Award. We even have a Rhodes Scholarship finalist — congratulations to Zachary Lien for advancing that far toward this distinguished award. In our classrooms, in our fraternities and sororities, and across our organizations, students are thriving in academics, getting involved in research and scholarship, and giving back to their communities.
 
Talented, caring faculty and staff set a great example for that success. This semester, professor Lisette Waits was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her contributions to research and teaching in conservation genetics, wildlife and conservation biology, and non-invasive DNA sampling techniques. U of I faculty, staff and students fanned out across Idaho this fall — from Idaho Falls to Boise to North Idaho and points in between — implementing innovative Vandal Ideas Project: Transform programs to help reach students and change Idaho’s college-going culture. Across our statewide campus and beyond, Vandals continue to advance important work.
 
The University of Idaho’s research mission is unique in size and scope in Idaho. We’re delivering on that mission with exciting work this fall, including a new Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) grant to nuclear engineering director Richard Christensen, assistant professor R. A. Borrelli and CAES and BSU partners, to commercialize technology in partnership with a Japanese corporation. A team led by U of I scientists Peter G. Fuerst, and including lead author doctoral student Aaron Simmons, found a way to stimulate formation of new neural connections in the adult brain. CALS researchers Greg Moller, Dan Strawn and Martin Baker won recognition for its innovative water treatment technology with a top-10 finish in the second stage of the $10 million George Barley Water Prize Competition. Each example has significant impact here in Idaho but also has potential for global relevance.
 
These examples — and I regret that there is only space for a few — speak to the quality of the U of I research university environment, and to the students, faculty and staff whose talent and passion make it so exceptional. They are propelled in their endeavors by the support of alumni and friends of the university — the larger Vandal family. I’m grateful for that support as we continue to achieve positive results that make a difference for students and for the world.
 
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

Rankin Scholarship Endowment Encourages Native American Students

While earning her Master of Fine Arts from the Department of Theater Arts at the University of Idaho as a non-traditional student, Ginger Minor Rankin ’06 came to better understand and appreciate the educational journeys of Native American students. Now Ginger and her husband David Rankin ’62 have put U of I in their wills, to benefit the Ginger Minor Rankin Scholarship Endowment and, in her words, “provide encouragement for Native American and other minority students.” By leaving their legacy to U of I, the Rankins have made it that much easier for students to say “Yes” to higher education. “No one should be denied the joys and advantages that education brings,” she said. “Our hope is to let the young people know that we believe in them.”  For more information about building your U of I legacy, contact Sharon Morgan, senior director of estate, trust and gift planning, at 208-885-5760 or morgans@uidaho.edu.

CNR Research to Improve Logging Safety

Each year, hundreds of workers in agriculture, forestry and fishing industries die as a result of on-the-job injuries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For 2015, the combined fatal work injury rate for those industries was 22.8 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. The fields remain among the most dangerous in the nation. The next most dangerous fields — transportation and warehousing — come in at just 13.8 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers. It’s a huge concern for states like Idaho, where natural resources and associated industries contribute more than $5.4 billion to Idaho’s economy annually, according to the UI Policy Analysis Group. Researchers in the University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources want to help. In 2015, UI alumnus and Assistant Professor Rob Keefe, director of UI’s Experimental Forest, received an $825,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to explore ways that technology can improve safety in the logging industry.

IRIC Facility Wins Architecture Award

The University of Idaho’s interdisciplinary research facility – the Integrated Research and Innovation Center (IRIC) – has been honored for building design by the Seattle chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The design by Seattle-based firm NBBJ was touted with a 2017 AIA Honor Award for “its flexible, transparent and open academic hub that fosters interdisciplinary and cross-department research projects.” It’s the first AIA Seattle Chapter honor for a U of I building. A three-story, 75,000-square-foot complex at the center of the Moscow campus, IRIC opened in January 2017 as a key tool in helping support the university’s research mission. The LEED-Gold-certified facility is currently home to more than 30 teams and serves as the university’s premier academic research location for faculty, graduate and undergraduate teams from diverse disciplines. AIA Seattle’s Honor Awards for Architecture is a nationally recognized program that explores and honors projects designed by Washington architects — the projects themselves can be located anywhere in the world. The IRIC building was selected among four 2017 Honor Award recipients from 133 submissions.

U of I Research Targets Glacier Tree Mortality

The outbreaks of mountain pine beetle and western spruce budworm have cut into wide swaths of the forest in and around Montana’s Glacier National Park. Such damage has been more visible in the park over the past decade — to the tune of about 300,000 acres of damage since 2008 and 160,000 acres damaged in 2012. Associate Professor Jeffrey Hicke in the Department of Geography in the University of Idaho College of Science and master’s student Bingbing Xu are working to map those outbreaks. They also want to document the change and link it with climate data so park managers can better respond to the adapting forest. “If we develop this climate information, could we forecast for spring what will happen in the future?” Hicke asked. “It’s just another means of documenting a change in the park that could be really important.” Hicke received a one-year, $24,000 grant from the Glacier National Park Conservancy to document changes in the park’s forest. Richard Menicke at Glacier National Park reached out to Hicke after noticing trees close to the road and in hiking areas of the park that are continuing to defoliate and die.
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Nov. 17, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
The University of Idaho marked this past Veterans Day in several ways. The annual Veteran’s Appreciation Dinner on Saturday was an opportunity to honor and celebrate veterans from U of I and the surrounding community. Last Friday, our Veterans Services and ROTC departments held a wreath-laying ceremony at Memorial Gym, in remembrance to those who have lost their lives in service to the country. In each case, U of I affirms its appreciation for service members and veterans.
 
Last week I mentioned a 100-year-old issue of The Argonaut. The front page of that issue offers a window into U of I’s longtime connection with military service. In 1917, World War I’s shockwaves were producing headlines like “Bayonet Practice Added to Course” and “‘Eat Less’ Says Federal Agent,” a reference to food conservation initiatives to help the war effort. Scroll through other Argonaut pages of that era, and you’ll find notices of students accepting commissions, drills on campus, updates from the front and more. “The university campus has taken on the air of a military camp,” offers one article, suggesting how dramatic war-time measures were on campus, and noting with pride the determination of the campus community to offer aid and support.
 
In the 128 years of the university, that spirit has extended to those who have completed their service. After World War II, for example, service members took advantage of their GI Bill education benefits in such numbers that temporary housing went up all over campus. That educational experience, at U of I and across the country, contributed to the incredible mid-century growth of the middle class. Those veterans, like generations before and after them, forever shaped our institution. Service to our veterans is definitional to this university.
 
We continue to build on that tradition in multiple ways. At every Commencement, we are honored to see commissions awarded for our Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force cadets and midshipmen, and I appreciate the commitment these young people display by participating in the rigors of ROTC while completing their education. We also proudly offer wraparound support to disabled veterans and spouses in our Operation Education program. It is an honor to facilitate an outstanding, accessible education for those who have given so much.
 
The University of Idaho has long held the door open to veterans, and to those who wish to serve. That role is a duty and a privilege.
 
We look forward to serving those who serve for years to come.
 
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

Supporting Faculty Excellence in Business and Economics

Matt Espe ’80 and Lori Espe ’81 recently fulfilled a six-year, $100,000 annual commitment to support the Espe Family Faculty Fellowship that they established in 2010. This fellowship recognizes and rewards faculty members who excel in teaching and research; it also serves to attract talented faculty to the College of Business and Economics (CBE). Matt and Lori graduated from the college with degrees in marketing and accounting, respectively. “We donate to the CBE because I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my experiences there,” Matt said. “Years before I got there, people made investments from which I benefited. So, as alums, it’s only right for us to make a similar investment in the future and to create opportunities for the young men and women coming after us.” The Espes understand that motivated, talented educators directly affect the quality of the student experience and influence post-graduation success. For more information about giving to the College of Business and Economics, please contact Brian Mitchell at bdmitchell@uidaho.edu or 208-885-2634.

Dietetics Students Offer Thanksgiving Recipes

Pie made with root vegetables. Potatoes made with coffee creamer. Cookies from mashed potatoes. Even chocolate soufflé starring yams. If these combinations don’t sound like your typical Thanksgiving fare, that’s the point: They are recipes created by students in the University of Idaho’s Coordinated Program in Dietetics. Each fall, students in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences are challenged to create a new recipe along a theme chosen by U of I first lady Mary Beth Staben. This year, Staben challenged the teams to create recipes around a “unity” theme of combining uncommon ingredients. The results showcased the creativity and ingenuity of students, said Katie Miner, a senior instructor in CALS. The recipes are judged and the winner is featured on a holiday card sent to university donors by the Office of Donor Relations and Stewardship. This year’s winner, Vandal Sweet Potato Mash, combined cultures as well as ingredients. Read more.

Her Best Self: VSF Offers Support for Success

In a way, volleyball is the perfect outlet for DeVonne Ryter. The fast-paced nature of every spike, dig and serve prevents the 20-year-old University of Idaho middle blocker from focusing on any one aspect of her game and pushes her to grow. “The sport itself, physically, is so fast-paced,” she said. “If you make a mistake or something happens, you have to move on.” It’s a framework Ryter has learned to live by. A junior from Sedona, Arizona, Ryter credits her coaches and other supporters — including financial support from the Vandal Scholarship Fund — with her growth as a person and athlete, especially when the hard reality of life was volleyed in her direction.
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Nov. 10, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
In today’s State of the University address, I’ll briefly turn to an advertisement we found in a 1917 issue of The Argonaut. “Why Go to Idaho,” the ad states, describing our mission, educational quality, and research and outreach excellence. It’s time-worn proof of how U of I has been THE place to go in Idaho. With a mission and overall quality that have remained a constant, today we have an opportunity to look forward.  
 
The University of Idaho still stands alone as Idaho’s premier research university. We have an aggressive plan to tackle new challenges and opportunities. We have made great progress in the past year in key areas. We are united in an effort to better serve our students, our state and our world.
 
Today, we are announcing a new milestone: $109.5 million in research expenditures in FY17. That new record represents more than TWICE the research of all other Idaho universities combined, and a 7 percent increase over last year’s $102 million record. We are closing the gap toward Carnegie R1 Highest Research Activity status, a peer group of America’s Top 115 universities. But a research university offers much more than a pile of research dollars or a prestigious rating. It is also a place where inquiry permeates all disciplines and unites our students and faculty in scholarship.  At U of I, our students learn best because they are learning from the best.
 
Our key initiative has been enrollment growth, expanding the great Vandal education to more students. This fall, our enrollment grew for the second consecutive year, to over 12,000. We had meaningful gains among international students, dual-credit participants, and members of underrepresented groups. But we are not satisfied with our full-time student enrollment numbers.
 
We resolve to increase our efforts, and I’d like our alumni and friends to help tell our story to every prospective student and to every friend or neighbor. That story includes the lowest net cost of any public university for Idaho students receiving federal financial aid. The highest graduation rates of any public university in Idaho. The highest first-to-second year retention rates, rising from 77 percent to 82 percent this fall, a new U of I record and the highest rate among Idaho public universities. The best career results, with the highest mid-career salaries for graduates. That story has earned U of I distinction as the only national university rated by U.S. News and World Report, and as the best college in Idaho according to Money, the Washington Monthly, PayScale and The Princeton Review.
 
We have other stories to tell and other stories in progress. We plan to build the United States’ largest and best research dairy, the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment. We plan to build a mass-timber construction arena, a showcase for Idaho’s wood products industry and a deserving home for our basketball teams. These will be best-in-class projects because U of I can be best-in-class if we keep our sights high.
 
Today, I ask that every Vandal take pride not just in the past 128 years, but in today and in the future. Our university is seizing forward momentum. How can you contribute as we continue our progress? We ARE a beacon for mountain and plain, so we must be brave and bold!
 
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

Passion and Dedication in Support of U of I

Passion and dedication are two words that many use to describe Frank Darlington III ’70.  Darlington, a Spokane native, attended North Idaho College where he was a student athlete and then transferred to the University of Idaho where he graduated with a degree in mathematics. He enjoyed a 20-year career as a chemist at Kaiser Aluminum in Spokane.  “I learned as much on the basketball court as in the classroom,” Darlington said. Wanting to leave a legacy for future student athletes at U of I, he established the Frank Darlington III Vandal Athletic Endowment Scholarship, believing “the student is the most important part of the institution.” Darlington is a long-time member of the Vandal Scholarship Fund and understands the importance of giving back to the university; he is also an active Vandal volunteer in Kootenai County.  For more information about contributing to the Vandal Scholarship Fund, please contact Shelly Robson at 208-651-7992 or shellyr@uidaho.edu.

Connections That Fuel Brain Trauma Research

A team led by University of Idaho scientists has found a way to stimulate formation of new neural connections in the adult brain in a study that could eventually help humans fend off memory loss, brain trauma and other ailments in the central nervous system. Peter G. Fuerst, an associate professor in the College of Science’s Department of Biological Sciences Department of Biological Sciences and WWAMI Medical Education Program, and a team that included lead author doctoral student Aaron Simmons, were able to stimulate growth of new neural connections in mice that are needed to connect the cells into neural circuits. Their study, which included scientists from the University of Louisville and University of Puerto Rico-Humacao, is titled “DSCAM-Mediated Control of Dendritic and Axonal Arbor Outgrowth Enforces Tiling and Inhibits Synaptic Plasticity.” It was published Nov. 7 in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more.

Patent and Trademark Resource Center Opens in Boise

The University of Idaho College of Law has partnered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to open a patent and trademark resource center at the Idaho Law and Justice Learning Center in Boise. The Idaho Patent and Trademark Resource Center will host a free public seminar Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, with an event for inventors, entrepreneurs, educators, students and legal professionals. The daylong seminar begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Legacy Pointe Room of the Idaho Water Center. A light reception will follow at 4:30 p.m.. The resource center, the only one of its kind in the state of Idaho, is scheduled to begin serving patrons Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, inside the Idaho Law and Justice Learning Center at Boise.  It will provide resources and trained staff for anyone interested in accessing patent and trademark information. Read more.
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Nov. 17, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
The University of Idaho marked this past Veterans Day in several ways. The annual Veteran’s Appreciation Dinner on Saturday was an opportunity to honor and celebrate veterans from U of I and the surrounding community. Last Friday, our Veterans Services and ROTC departments held a wreath-laying ceremony at Memorial Gym, in remembrance to those who have lost their lives in service to the country. In each case, U of I affirms its appreciation for service members and veterans.
 
Last week I mentioned a 100-year-old issue of The Argonaut. The front page of that issue offers a window into U of I’s longtime connection with military service. In 1917, World War I’s shockwaves were producing headlines like “Bayonet Practice Added to Course” and “‘Eat Less’ Says Federal Agent,” a reference to food conservation initiatives to help the war effort. Scroll through other Argonaut pages of that era, and you’ll find notices of students accepting commissions, drills on campus, updates from the front and more. “The university campus has taken on the air of a military camp,” offers one article, suggesting how dramatic war-time measures were on campus, and noting with pride the determination of the campus community to offer aid and support.
 
In the 128 years of the university, that spirit has extended to those who have completed their service. After World War II, for example, service members took advantage of their GI Bill education benefits in such numbers that temporary housing went up all over campus. That educational experience, at U of I and across the country, contributed to the incredible mid-century growth of the middle class. Those veterans, like generations before and after them, forever shaped our institution. Service to our veterans is definitional to this university.
 
We continue to build on that tradition in multiple ways. At every Commencement, we are honored to see commissions awarded for our Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force cadets and midshipmen, and I appreciate the commitment these young people display by participating in the rigors of ROTC while completing their education. We also proudly offer wraparound support to disabled veterans and spouses in our Operation Education program. It is an honor to facilitate an outstanding, accessible education for those who have given so much.
 
The University of Idaho has long held the door open to veterans, and to those who wish to serve. That role is a duty and a privilege.
 
We look forward to serving those who serve for years to come.
 
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

Supporting Faculty Excellence in Business and Economics

Matt Espe ’80 and Lori Espe ’81 recently fulfilled a six-year, $100,000 annual commitment to support the Espe Family Faculty Fellowship that they established in 2010. This fellowship recognizes and rewards faculty members who excel in teaching and research; it also serves to attract talented faculty to the College of Business and Economics (CBE). Matt and Lori graduated from the college with degrees in marketing and accounting, respectively. “We donate to the CBE because I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my experiences there,” Matt said. “Years before I got there, people made investments from which I benefited. So, as alums, it’s only right for us to make a similar investment in the future and to create opportunities for the young men and women coming after us.” The Espes understand that motivated, talented educators directly affect the quality of the student experience and influence post-graduation success. For more information about giving to the College of Business and Economics, please contact Brian Mitchell at bdmitchell@uidaho.edu or 208-885-2634.

Dietetics Students Offer Thanksgiving Recipes

Pie made with root vegetables. Potatoes made with coffee creamer. Cookies from mashed potatoes. Even chocolate soufflé starring yams. If these combinations don’t sound like your typical Thanksgiving fare, that’s the point: They are recipes created by students in the University of Idaho’s Coordinated Program in Dietetics. Each fall, students in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences are challenged to create a new recipe along a theme chosen by U of I first lady Mary Beth Staben. This year, Staben challenged the teams to create recipes around a “unity” theme of combining uncommon ingredients. The results showcased the creativity and ingenuity of students, said Katie Miner, a senior instructor in CALS. The recipes are judged and the winner is featured on a holiday card sent to university donors by the Office of Donor Relations and Stewardship. This year’s winner, Vandal Sweet Potato Mash, combined cultures as well as ingredients. Read more.

Her Best Self: VSF Offers Support for Success

In a way, volleyball is the perfect outlet for DeVonne Ryter. The fast-paced nature of every spike, dig and serve prevents the 20-year-old University of Idaho middle blocker from focusing on any one aspect of her game and pushes her to grow. “The sport itself, physically, is so fast-paced,” she said. “If you make a mistake or something happens, you have to move on.” It’s a framework Ryter has learned to live by. A junior from Sedona, Arizona, Ryter credits her coaches and other supporters — including financial support from the Vandal Scholarship Fund — with her growth as a person and athlete, especially when the hard reality of life was volleyed in her direction.
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Nov. 3, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
Last week at our Silver and Gold Gala, the University of Idaho celebrated the generosity and impact of Vandal donors. Private giving, whether from alumni, foundations, or industry partners, provides the margin of excellence at U of I. It helps this great public research university deliver opportunities for students, for research and scholarship, and for academic programs and key initiatives.
 
There was much to celebrate this year. Vandal donors contributed to a new record — nearly $39 million in total gifts for the fiscal year. That generosity supports the multiple pillars of Vandal excellence: More than $8 million fuels student scholarships; another $8 million-plus augments research and faculty support; $3 million helps build and maintain top-notch facilities; and nearly $19 million supports the outstanding programs that help U of I excel as the state's land-grant research leader.
 
Behind each and every one of those impressive figures is a generous person, family or organization investing in the University of Idaho. At the gala we honored our Loyal Donors, those who have supported U of I for more than 40 years — a remarkable legacy. We also recognized our Heritage Society members, those who incorporate the institution into their planned giving, and our President’s Circle donors. In addition, we also thanked and highlighted our President's Circle Leadership supporters, our Silver and Gold Society inductees, and our 1889 Society new and continuing members.
 
No other institution in Idaho has this resource — the passion and commitment of Vandals and friends who know the impact of this institution. Every dollar invested is a vote of confidence in our excellence. Each gift is a statement of belief in the future of a student, the outcome of a research project, and the success of important programs across Idaho and beyond.
 
That deep base of private support has U of I solidly placed. Our team will continue to build on our success. University of Idaho Foundation Chair Karen Gowland leads an organization committed to effective, responsible investment in institutional priorities. She is joined by a team of fellow leaders and directors, including foundation Executive Director Joy Fisher, who represent a wide array of Vandal talent, skills and passion. Vice President for Advancement Mary Kay McFadden’s love for her alma mater informs her tireless advocacy for the institution.
 
The University of Idaho will continue to do everything possible to honor the belief of each donor. After a truly special year, there are more reasons than ever for optimism about the future of this institution and the students and scholars who make it strong.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM U OF I

Meet Amy Ash Pohl: 1880 Society Inductee and Heritage Society Member

Amy Ash Pohl ’84, already a Heritage Society member at U of I, was inducted this fall into the 1889 Society. “It was my privilege and remains a distinct honor to have been educated at this very fine institution,” Ash Pohl said. “Standout professors in my areas of study are largely responsible for what I became and who I am today. I owe any successes to them.” Ash Pohl earned a landscape architecture degree at U of I in 1984, laying the foundation for diverse and successful careers as a landscape architect, an environmental scientist and resource economist, and most recently, a restaurateur. She has earned a Sigma Scholar award and a landscape architect award. The Heritage Society recognizes alumni and friends who have made planned gifts; the 1889 Society honors cumulative gifts and pledges to U of I. “Amy’s Heritage Society plans will make a transformational difference for the Landscape Architecture department and the College of Art and Architecture,” said Shauna Corry, CAA interim dean. “We thank Amy for her generosity that will support others seeking a great education.” For more information on giving to the College of Art and Architecture, contact Jim Zuba at 208-885-4142 or jzuba@uidaho.edu.

2018 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival Headliners Announced

The University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival will continue its legacy of honoring traditional jazz music while highlighting the best performers on the current jazz scene during the 2018 festival, Feb. 23-24. Joey DeFrancesco + the People headlines this year’s festival on Saturday, Feb. 24. DeFrancesco is a three-time Grammy nominee with more than 30 albums, including recordings with Miles Davis and Jimmy Smith. Following DeFrancesco’s performance, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival Big Band will feature vocalist and U of I jazz instructor Kate Skinner and Tanya Darby, lead trumpet and assistant professor at the University of North Texas. On Friday, Feb. 23, alto saxophonist Antonio Hart, joined by trumpeter Terell Stafford and vocalist Brianna Thomas, will lead a special tribute to the classic 1961 jazz record, “Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley,” giving it a modern twist. Also performing during the 2018 festival is the U of I’s Lionel Hampton School of Music Jazz Choirs I and II directed by Dan Bukvich, Jazz Band I directed by Vern Sielert, and solo and combo winners from the festival’s competition. The full concert schedule is available at www.uidaho.edu/class/jazzfest/calendar. Tickets go on sale Nov. 6 (series) and Nov. 17 (individual) and can be purchased at 208-885-7212 or online at www.uidaho.edu/ticketoffice.

U of I Researchers Among Top 10 for $10 Million Prize

A University of Idaho team won recognition for its innovative water treatment technology with a top-10 finish in the latest round of an international competition to reduce water pollution linked to toxic algae blooms. U of I College of Agricultural and Life Sciences researchers Greg Moller, Dan Strawn and Martin Baker were honored by The Everglades Foundation last week in Chicago. The event concluded the second preliminary stage of the $10 million George Barley Water Prize competition. The U of I Clean Water Machine that Moller, Strawn and Baker are developing can reduce phosphorus levels in polluted waters to below the most stringent federal and state water quality standards. The U of I technology mimics the soil’s natural ability to clean water, Moller said. It uses air, rust, sand, charcoal and electricity to remove fertilizers and other contaminants from polluted water. The Barley Prize entry by the U of I team was a cooperative project with Nexom, a wastewater treatment company that licenses U of I technology, and Cool Planet, a company that produces biochar, tiny particles of charcoal from agricultural and forestry residues.

Geography Without Sight: UI Doctoral Student Creates Curriculum for Visually Impaired

Travis Cowles’ Physical Geography class focuses heavily on the visual elements of planet Earth. He flips through pictures of Pangea and how continents formed. He displays graphic tables that highlight average annual rainfall of different terrains across the globe. Cowles has long relied on photos, graphs and PowerPoint slides to help his students comprehend basic concepts of the world’s physical features. That all changed in fall 2016.  After his first Geography 100 lecture of the semester, a student approached him. “Someone came up to me and said, ‘I just registered for your class, and by the way, I’m blind,’” Cowles said. “I realized that the majority of what I do will not work for her.” Alana Leonhardy, 23, was looking for another lab science to satisfy requirements of her bachelor’s degree in psychology and picked geography as a last-minute selection. She is completely blind without any light perception, so even larger-print graphics that are used by low-vision students weren’t useful to her. “We had to think of other ways to get that in my brain,” she said. Read more.

The Friday Letter

Oct. 27, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
How do we, as a society, help put people on a path to success in a competitive world? How do build a more vibrant economy and healthier communities? The University of Idaho believes that higher education offers the best pathway for a bright future. That’s why the university has been out in front of efforts to change the state’s college-going culture and promote post-secondary participation for several years. This fall, thanks to a university-wide effort, we have again seen positive results and an increase in enrollment.
 
Overall enrollment at U of I has grown 2.4 percent for fall 2017, topping 12,000 students for the first time in five years. That increase includes notable gains in key areas, including a 3.9 percent increase in total resident enrollment, a 7.3 percent uptick in international student enrollment, and an increase in underrepresented populations, including Hispanic and Native American student enrollment. International and underrepresented student enrollment are important measures of how our global research university cultivates a valued and diverse community.
 
This fall we’ve also seen a significant, 23 percent increase in participation in dual-credit courses in our K-12 system. College students aren’t born, they are made: We can reach Idaho students with an experience that helps them develop as thinkers and leaders while they are in high school. They emerge prepared to succeed in college, contributing right away to the classroom culture and using their accumulated credits to graduate on time. The U of I’s commitment to this statewide priority continues to pay off.
 
Lastly, a comprehensive understanding of enrollment acknowledges the importance of retention, the rate at which students continue on from year to year toward graduation. This fall our freshman-to-sophomore retention rate stands at 82 percent, a 5 percent gain over last year, on par with the national average and the highest rate among Idaho public institutions. The U of I is continuing to invest in approaches that foster retention such as our Student Success Initiative launched in January 2017 and success through graduation and into a career.
 
An educated citizenry is key to the university’s land-grant mission and to the aspirations of the state of Idaho. Challenges remain in areas such as growing new resident student populations, but the university is well-positioned to take on those challenges, thanks to the hard work of the entire Vandal community, from our teaching ranks to our recruiting teams to our advising staff. That university-wide dedication means that more students from Idaho and beyond come to know the U of I story as one of the best values in higher education a life-changing educational experience, at an affordable price, that prepares learners for lifelong success.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

University Gala Celebrates Donor Generosity and Impact

The generosity of University of Idaho donors will be celebrated tonight at the annual University Gala. U of I will induct and recognize new 1889 Society members alumni, friends and partners with lifetime contributions totaling $1 million and more  as well as 35 new Silver and Gold Society members alumni, friends and partners with lifetime giving of $100,000 to $999,999. The 2017 1889 Society inductees include Amy Ash Pohl, Caroline M. and Thomas E. Bitterwolf, Albert Hermann Suttmann, James E. and Kathryn A. Whistler, Fatbeam, LLC, the Idaho Beef Council and the National 4-H Council. The new 1889 Society and Silver and Gold Society members have been added to the university’s Legacy of Giving donor recognition display in the Administration Building foyer. The university is grateful to the 10,046 donors who contributed almost $39 million in the last fiscal year. That generosity allows outstanding programs and one-of-a-kind opportunities to continue to inspire new generations of Vandals. For more information on giving to U of I, visit the Give to Idaho website.

Idaho Treasure Award to Honor D. Nels Reese

This November, the University of Idaho will honor alumnus and preservation advocate D. Nels Reese with the 2017 Idaho Treasure Award. Awarded by the UI Retirees Association, the Idaho Treasure Award recognizes retired university faculty and staff and their family members for contributions of leadership and service to the university. A native of Boise, Reese graduated from U of I in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. He went on to receive a master’s in urban planning from City College of New York. His resume includes eight years spent in the Army National Guard, five years as art director for Army in Europe magazine while living in Heidelberg Germany, and seven years as director of facilities at U of I. Reese taught architecture at U of I for more than 20 years. His focus was primarily on urban design and planning and he led his students on numerous field trips, including to New York, to see architecture at work. A longtime public servant, Reese was appointed to Moscow’s Planning and Zoning Commission in 1996, a post he still holds today.

Fall Issue of Here We Have Idaho Magazine Available

The fall issue of Here We Have Idaho magazine was recently delivered to mailboxes across the country, and is also available online at uidaho.edu/magazine. This issue celebrates the successes of our students who have had to overcome personal obstacles to achieve their dreams, and the things that the University of Idaho is doing to remove those obstacles where we can. Did your magazine go astray, or do you need to update your information? Fill out the form at uidaho.edu/alumni/update.

Keeping Culture Alive in the Classroom

As a young girl in elementary school, JayLynn Rogers was proud to count to 10 in her native language. But as an Iñupiaq Eskimo in Alaska, Rogers grew up in classrooms filled with mostly white students and white teachers, and that pride in her language wasn’t always shared. Being discouraged from speaking her native tongue was one of many experiences that spurred her desire to teach music education to Alaska Native students in the villages that make up the 49th state. “Growing up, I didn’t have role models who were Native,” said Rogers, 19, a sophomore music education major in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) at the University of Idaho. She wants to better herself so she can be the best example possible for her fellow indigenous students. Jessica Matsaw has a similar goal. A senior finishing her bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in psychology in CLASS, Matsaw wants to take what she’s learned at U of I and apply it as a teacher on the Fort Hall Reservation in southeastern Idaho. Rogers and Matsaw are among a small group of Native American students at UI who are learning the best ways to serve Native communities through a cultural lens as part of the Indigenous Knowledge for Effective Education Program (IKEEP), run through the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences (CEHHS).

Students Travel to Bolivia to Assist Community

From The Argonaut: Claire Majors, a University of Idaho mechanical engineering senior, spent 10 days in Bolivia over the summer to help install a gravity feed water supply system for a local village as part of the UI Humanitarian Engineering Corps (UI-HEC). “I could feel the altitude immediately my heart rate went up,” Majors said. “At first, I wasn’t sure it was because I was excited, or because the altitude was so high definitely the altitude a little bit of excitement too.” UI-HEC is a student-led, non-profit organization which partners with communities worldwide to help with community driven designs to improve access to basic human needs, UI-HEC President Monica Erickson said. The main project for UI-HEC is installing a water pump in Carani, Bolivia, which Majors worked on. The group works in partnership with the city to help build the water system. This helps avoid giving a western solution to a South American problem, Erickson said. The team’s goals are to help the community of Carani obtain water closer to their homes, empower them to meet their needs and build together, Erickson said. Read more.

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Oct. 20, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
The University of Idaho, as a public university, is dedicated to serving and strengthening our shared discourse. That commitment takes many forms and directions, offering many opportunities for engagement and enrichment. It has been an exciting couple of weeks in U of I efforts to strengthen our public dialogue.
 
Next Monday we’ll have a lecture from Carol Tavris, co-author of this year’s Common Read selection, “Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me),” which describes the concept and the dangers of cognitive dissonance, the roles of self-justification in that behavior, and approaches to getting past that. The Common Read unites our university community, including our first-year students, in an intellectual exercise that sets a tone for engagement and inquiry. This year the new Vandal Book Club adopted “Mistakes Were Made” as its first book, a nice extension of this program to our alumni. I hope they’ve shared the interest and enthusiasm in this book that our campus community has shown.
 
This week we were honored to have Nobel Prize laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi at our annual Borah Symposium. Ebadi, the first woman to hold the post of chief magistrate of a court in Tehran, Iran, before the Islamic Revolution, has been a strong voice for human rights and justice in the years following the revolution. Her keynote was a highlight in a robust program that also included presentations by Professor LeRoy Ashby and Scott Shapiro.
 
Finally, a little over a week ago our annual Sherman J. Bellwood Lecture brought Professor Anita Hill to Boise and to Moscow. Many people may remember her launch into the public spotlight at the 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings for now-Justice Clarence Thomas. We were proud to host such a thoughtful and spirited examination of the role of evidence and accountability in policy, especially as it applies to issues such as civil rights and harassment.
 
Exploring ideas, policies and controversies in the public sphere is part of U of I’s commitment to helping our society understand the past, engage with the issues of the day and take on the challenges of tomorrow. Programs such as our Common Read, Borah Symposium and Bellwood Lecture provoke thought, spark dialogue and encourage new perspectives while promoting shared understanding. Engaging in these kind of programs, we grow as citizens and leaders. We develop a fuller appreciation for the challenges and opportunities ahead of us.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

St. Alphonsus Supports Idaho WWAMI Program

St. Alphonsus Health System has generously pledged $250,000 in support of the Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program’s building renovation project. “Supporting the Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program is critical to the entire medical industry in Idaho,” said Dr. Rodney Reider, president and CEO of St. Alphonsus’ Health System. “It is important in retaining physicians in Idaho with direct experience in the state who will eventually go on to practice in vital capacities, including primary care in rural areas.” The one-story medical school renovation will increase necessary space and state-of-the-art technologies for clinical faculty and students — emphasizing growth and investment in the University of Idaho’s research enterprise while enhancing education and patient care. For more information on supporting the Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program, contact Jim Zuba at 208-885-4142 or jzuba@uidaho.edu.

CNR Professor Recognized for Research

University of Idaho Distinguished Professor Lisette Waits was awarded the prestigious Jean'ne M. Shreeve NSF EPSCoR Research Excellence Award this fall for her internationally recognized research in molecular ecology. Idaho’s National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, known as Idaho EPSCoR, selects researchers from UI, Boise State University or Idaho State University each year to receive the award named for longtime U of I chemist and former Idaho EPSCoR Director Jean’ne Shreeve. Waits is the head of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences in the College of Natural Resources and leader of the Fishery Resources and Wildlife Resources programs. Her research focusing on conservation genetics and molecular ecology spans four continents, and includes collaborators from North America, Europe, Asia, and Central and South America. “I am extremely honored and humbled to receive an award named for Dr. Shreeve, who is an amazing role model and trailblazer for female scientists,” Waits said. “I am also very thankful for the EPSCoR funding I have received that really helped launch my career as a new faculty member. I am very appreciative of the individuals who nominated me and provided support letters."

Playing Out Final FBS Season, Idaho Doesn't Want to Go Quietly

From Sports Illustrated: Last month, Idaho receiver Jacob Sannon stopped by the Wal-Mart Supercenter near campus to run a post-practice errand. As he and a friend from the school’s soccer team made their way through the store, they paused in the television section, where every TV was tuned to the same program: a replay of the Vandals’ December appearance in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, a 61–50 win over Colorado State. Sannon, a fifth-year senior, was incredulous as he watched his second touchdown of the day, a 16-yard catch in the game’s third quarter, unfold on dozens of screens. “It’s six months since our bowl game, and they’ve still got it on the TV,” he recalls, still amazed 48 hours later. After playing on one-win teams in 2013 and ’14 and missing almost all of ’15 with an injury, last season was sweet redemption for Sannon, a Florida native of Haitian descent who had never seen snow until Idaho lured him to campus with his only scholarship offer. Finally healthy, he had 303 receiving yards for a Vandals team that tied a program record with nine wins and brought home the school’s first bowl victory in seven seasons. The turnaround Sannon had signed up for four years before was well on its way. This fall, Sannon is Idaho’s leading receiver, and he has one last chance to make a mark before he runs out of eligibility—and his team is run out of FBS ball. Read more.

U of I Receives Pollution Prevention Award

On Oct.16, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) honored the University of Idaho for its achievements in preventing pollution. Representatives from DEQ presented university officials with the agency’s “Pollution Prevention (P2) Champion” honor. Every September, in observation of Pollution Prevention month, DEQ recognizes Idaho businesses and organizations who stand out as state leaders in pollution prevention. This is the first time U of I has qualified for the award in its history. “As a respected research institution, we hope that others can learn from the University of Idaho’s efforts and follow their lead to reduce their impact to the environment,” said Ben Jarvis, DEQ’s pollution prevention coordinator. U of I qualified for the DEQ recognition by demonstrating with documentable results how it incorporates pollution prevention into its daily operations by reducing raw materials or toxic materials purchased, hazardous or solid waste generated, water, energy or fuel used or air pollutants emitted.

U of I Society of Women Engineers Promotes the Field

National trends related to women in engineering are grim — far fewer women are entering the profession than men; women engineers hold significantly fewer senior level and executive positions in the field; and women leave the occupation at much higher rates. But a group of women engineering students at the University of Idaho is trying to bust these statistics. The students are part of U of I’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), a nationwide organization that performs K-12 and college outreach, along with professional development in the workforce to help women achieve their full potential in careers as engineers and leaders. SWE members have the chance to network with other women in the field, attend leadership conferences, learn about internship opportunities and go on industry tours. Today, Oct. 20, 2017, UI-SWE will work to inspire a younger generation of potential innovators during U of I’s Women in Engineering Day, when up to 80 female high school students from Idaho and Washington visit UI to learn more about the discipline. Read more.
 

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October 13, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
This year marks the 100th anniversary of our College of Natural Resources (CNR). The anniversary is an opportunity to take pride in 100 years of excellence in education, research and statewide outreach. But while we celebrate our past accomplishments, we are also looking toward the future of this vital piece of our land-grant research university mission.
 
The college is a leader in natural resources education in the West, recently recognized among the top 5 percent of natural resource and conservation colleges. The college partners with industry on educational programs that prepare students to emerge with their degree armed with hands-on experience in their fields. The state’s forests, rangelands and waterways have been well-served by generations of highly skilled and motivated Vandals. We’re happy to welcome many of them back to Moscow this weekend to celebrate “100 Years of Leadership.”
 
Research and scholarship are also CNR strengths. Vital research and outreach through the Forest Utilization Research (FUR) Programs includes the Policy Analysis Group, which provides analysis on natural resource issues; our Center for Forest Nursery and Seedling Research, a global leader in native plant regeneration education and research; the UI Experimental Forest, which provides a working forest classroom; and the UI Rangeland Center collaboration between CNR and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, which uses science to find long-term solutions for managing rangelands. Through the college, UI provides unbiased research that helps deliver effective private and public management of our natural resources.
 
CNR is also an arm for UI’s outreach mission. One needs look no further than the McCall Outdoor Science School at our McCall Field Campus. To date, over 30,000 K-12 students have now gone through the program, an immersive experience that equips students with a new understanding of ecology and the exciting world of scientific exploration. Those STEM experiences engage curiosity and build character — they can be truly life-changing.
 
Lastly, CNR has a special connection to our Idaho Arena project. Right now in the United States, we have the potential for a breakthrough in mass timber construction – projects that extensively use one or more kinds of engineered wood. Idaho, and the University of Idaho, are positioned to be leaders in this fast-emerging industry, with the arena a milestone in its development. Using mass-timber construction means opportunities for the college to engage partners, to train students in a real-world project, and to study research questions. Before we ever score a basket in the arena, we’ll already have won a major victory in research and economic development in a potentially game-changing Idaho industry.
 
That’s an exciting future for UI, and a piece of it belongs to the College of Natural Resources. We appreciate the leadership role of the college throughout a century of teaching, innovation and statewide engagement. Here’s looking forward to the next century.
 
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
CNR 100th Anniversary
Celebrating a century of leadership at the University of Idaho College of Natural Resources.
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

Legacy of Student Enrichment Honored in Perpetuity

Mention the name “Fred Johnson” in the College of Natural Resources (CNR), and what happens next is quite remarkable: Smiles grow wider, quickly spreading, and people recount anecdotes of how Fred transformed their lives and the lives of those around him. Such is the legacy of this CNR professor, who devoted 38 years to sharing his tremendous enthusiasm for teaching with thousands of students. A strong proponent of experiential education and “real life” applications of learning, Fred and his family spent much of their time on the McCall Field Campus; to many, “Fred Johnson” and “summer camp” are synonymous. Fred’s legacy of great teaching lives on through the Fred Johnson Endowment for Teaching Excellence in Forest Resources, which recently reached $60,000 thanks to recent gifts by the Johnson family and fellow supporters. Fred’s advice to students: “Find something you love to do, then do it with passion.” For more information about this endowment or other opportunities to support CNR, contact Jennifer Farnum at 208-885-5145 or jfarnum@uidaho.edu.

A Window to the Outside World

First published in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News: Hexian Xue, a professor of Chinese at the University of Idaho, believes learning Chinese really isn't as hard as Americans might think. "When students attend the first few classes, to be honest, they do not have the confidence to learn the Chinese language well," Xue said. "But step by step, day by day, for at least some of the students, they become comfortable to say, 'Chinese is not as hard as I assumed.'" Xue, who teaches multiple levels of Chinese as well as a cultural course on Chinese cinema, is a co-director of the UI's Confucius Institute. The institute's goal is to spread knowledge about the Chinese language and culture. "As you know, the English language and the Chinese language are two very different languages. The pronunciation is different, the spelling is different and the grammar is different," Xue (pronounced sh UH eh) said. "There has been, for a very long time, an assumption among the people, particularly among the community around us, that it is very hard to acquire the language." To combat this assumption, the Confucius Institute holds community Chinese language classes in Moscow, Coeur d'Alene and Boise. In Moscow, the classes consist of two levels of Mandarin, each only $50 for the fall, and a Chinese calligraphy class at only $25. They're held Monday through Thursday in the Moscow Chamber of Commerce office. READ MORE

High-tech Sunglasses Entertain Vandal Fans

It’s the start of a classic marching band performance during halftime of a University of Idaho football game: The whistle blows, drums sound, the color guard twirls its flags and horns bellow. Members of the Vandal Marching Band begin moving into formation. They form the iconic letter ‘I,’ set their sunglasses down on the field, and the props begin flashing in a dizzying display of lights. When the band members go on to form the Vandals script, the ‘I’ is still illuminated in the middle of the turf. The crowd erupts in cheers at the unanticipated light show, and then sings along as the UI fight song resonates throughout the Kibbie Dome. This innovative performance is the product of a partnership between the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering and UI’s marching band — an effort that began in 2012 when Bob Rinker, associate professor of computer science, and Athletic Band Director Spencer Martin met at the behest of student Josh Armstrong. READ MORE

October 6, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
In the spring of 1892, the president of Idaho's then three-year-old land-grant university needed faculty members. Classes hadn’t yet started. Thanks to the Hatch Act, though, a dairy was up and running on campus, part of the just-established Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station. As Rafe Gibbs describes in "Beacon for Mountain and Plain," while interviewing an applicant for Latin and Greek studies, the president realized he might be able to attach funding to the Hatch Act. Would the professor mind, between his instruction on Homer and Virgil, milking the cows?
 
During this year's Homecoming weekend, we're also celebrating Idaho Agriculture or “Ag Days” weekend, and it's the 125th anniversary of the Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station. The IAES is the statewide research division for UI’s agricultural research, conducted at nine research and Extension centers and three affiliated centers. If you live in Idaho, chances are good that there is a hub of innovation and expertise near you.
 
Our agricultural teaching, research and outreach mission is rooted in the past but squarely aimed at the future. Look at our nuclear seed potato program, which helps the state of Idaho cultivate its signature tuber while educating and training students for rewarding careers. We’re also working hard on the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE), which when completed will be the nation’s largest research dairy, at the forefront of research on food production and processing.
 
Tonight we’re proud to welcome to Celebrating Idaho Agriculture weekend Sonny Ramaswamy, the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, delivering a talk on “Innovations for 21st Century Food Systems.” Our College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has a variety of other events planned, as well as workshops for high school students. Of course, we’re all looking forward to the pre-game barbecue, leading up to the homecoming football game.
 
Homecoming is an exciting week for students and for alumni. A personal favorite event is the serpentine, which winds across campus on the way to the bonfire, a classic tradition that really shines here at the best residential college in Idaho. We’re also looking forward to the parade and seeing what people come up with for the “Under the Big Top” theme.
 
For returning alumni, I know you’ll be struck by what has stayed the same since your college experience, as well as the many ways in which the university is moving forward. In that respect, it’s fitting that agriculture comes together with homecoming this weekend; our agricultural endeavors exemplify the best of our teaching, research and outreach mission, and prove how our past informs our future.
 
We still haven’t found a professor to milk the cows while teaching the classics, at least to my knowledge. But we have grown and thrived as a home for agricultural excellence over these 125 years.