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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.

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Letter from the President
May 10, 2019
Dear Friends,
This Saturday our Vandal students will leave the Kibbie Dome heading off to a bright future. More than 1,400 students here in Moscow are eligible for degrees (and more than 1,500 statewide). Before they cross the stage, I’ll remind them what I’ve already told our graduates in Coeur d’Alene and in Idaho Falls: This is the beginning of a journey, not the end.
 
Let me offer a couple examples of what our Vandals have accomplished on the way to Commencement. In Coeur d’Alene, Alex Parenti – originally from Boise – is earning a degree in computer science through the four-year program recently developed there. Already a working professional, he wanted to enhance his skills to carve out a new role in the region’s fast-growing tech sector. On his way to a degree, he developed exciting new apps, including a “Park-My-Ride” app to track open parking spots. He’ll bring that practical and innovative spirit to his new role as a software engineer.
 
Here in Moscow, senior Leah Fisk, from western Washington, is earning a degree in exercise scince and health/psychology. Fisk is a member of our Vandal swimming and diving team. She’s also a committed member of our Vandal community, volunteering her time with programs such as Circles of Caring and the U of I Ravens Scholars Program, which supports students on the autism spectrum. Having worked with Assistant Professor Joshua Bailey in the U of I Biomechanics Lab, after graduation Fisk is going to embark on a career in occupational therapy.
 
U of I is also proud to offer life-changing experiences for non-traditional students. Claire Miley is originally from Helena, Montana, but worked for a cereal company in Illinois and a canning company in Arizona, spurring an interest in food science. When the time was right, she found the University of Idaho to be the right place to follow her dreams and her interest in the application of continuous improvement systems to food production. She gained more experience through an internship with Darigold, and the company was impressed enough to create a new position for her, which she starts soon.
 
These are just three examples of Vandal excellence – I invite you to read through all our stories and videos about this spring’s graduates. Each of them represent some of the talent and passion and determination you’ll find among our 1,500 graduates. Furthermore, each of our graduates is joining a proud history that includes more than 121,000 all-time graduates.
 
That history goes back a long way. In my remarks to students at our statewide commencement, I mention our very first graduating class of 1896. That handful of proud students came up with a simple motto for Commencement: “Not finished, but begun.” Some 123 years later, that description remains apt. I congratulate our students, and I thank the supportive parents, family, faculty, staff and others who have helped them get to where they are this May. We look forward to seeing where they go next.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
Latest News from U of I

Huckabay Foundation Makes Idaho’s Medical School More Affordable

More Idaho medical students with financial need will receive scholarship support thanks to a gift from the Durward and Susan Huckabay Foundation. The gift to the Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program will support medical students in completing their studies and graduating with less debt. Foundation Trustee John Huckabay established the scholarship in honor of his grandfather, Durward A. Huckabay M.D., who struggled to afford medical school in the 1920s while also supporting his wife and four siblings. Scholarship funds will be available starting in the 2020-21 school year. “We’re deeply grateful for the Durward and Susan Huckabay Foundation’s generosity,” U of I President Chuck Staben said. “This gift will create important scholarship support that helps our Idaho WWAMI students succeed.” WWAMI is a partnership with five Western states – Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho – and the University of Washington. For more information about giving to Idaho WWAMI, contact Brad Martin at [email protected] or 111-111-0935.

New U of I Specialist Wants to Elevate Manure’s Profile

: The University of Idaho’s newest nutrient and waste management specialist, Linda Schott, grew up in rural Iowa, but she didn’t consider a career in agriculture until graduating from high school. With a strong background in math and chemistry, she took the path strongly suggested by one of her teachers and pursued degrees in agricultural engineering. With a Ph.D. almost in hand, she applied for a position with the University of Idaho. “The job description matched perfectly with what I wanted. It meshed water quality, soil and waste management,” she said. […] She started her job in January, a perfect time for getting to know people at all the winter commodity meetings and workshops. She’s also been visiting with local USDA researchers and soil and water conservation districts. One of her first assignments was to put together a producer advisory board for the university’s planned Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE) to better understand producers’ practices and how the university can help them, she said. Read the full article at .

U of I Professor Wins National Theatre Award for Service in Teaching Acting

Professor Kelly Quinnett, head of performance at the University of Idaho Department of Theatre Arts, has received a national award in recognition of her commitment to teaching at the university level. Quinnett is the first and only recipient of the Uta Hagen Award, presented and sponsored by the College of Fellows of the American Theatre in honor of Uta Hagen, the late Broadway star who spent decades training generations of aspiring actors. The award, presented in April at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C., recognizes Quinnett’s distinguished service as a teacher of acting and her distinguished career as a working actor. Quinnett is past chair of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival’s (KCATCF) Region 7 and was the 1990 recipient of the festival’s National Irene Ryan Scholarship. She has appeared on “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” and numerous film and stage productions. In 2016, Quinnett was honored with the National KCACTF Special Achievement in Performance as Medea in “Medea: Her Story,” produced by U of I Theatre Arts. She has taught at U of I since 1998.

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Letter from the President
May 3, 2019
Dear Friends,
Each semester, our Vandal students distinguish themselves in the classroom and outside the classroom. We’re proud to facilitate those achievements, and I appreciate what our students contribute to U of I through their talent, passion and hard work. We can’t celebrate every accomplishment here, but let me give you a few examples of Vandal excellence this semester.
 
The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship is a prestigious and highly competitive award. This year, not one, not two, but three Vandals won an award. U.S. Army veteran Clint Elg is studying antibiotic-resistant bacteria – so-called “superbugs” – in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Lab. Neil Paprocki has his sights on the skies, studying raptor migration and the rough-legged hawk. And Hallie “Reena” Walker’s research takes her to Mozambique to focus on the behavioral ecology of large animals.
 
Undergraduates also earned national recognition. This spring, Taylor Azizeh, a senior majoring in environmental science and wildlife resources, was selected for a Fulbright Study/Research Award; she’s taking courses in Denmark and conducting Arctic research and fieldwork at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources in Nuuk, Greenland. Samuel Myers, studying mathematics and physics, has been selected to receive the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship through the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Samuel, working with advisor Professor Jason Barnes, investigates exoplanets to understand how planets are formed and how their orbits have evolved.
 
Vandal students learn through hands-on work. That has been on display during Innovation Month at U of I. At our annual Engineering Design EXPO last week, we saw more than 100 senior capstone projects displayed – engaged, active learning that solves real problems. More than 500 K-16 students visited the expo to gain an understanding of how to “Engineer like a Vandal.” Thank you to the sponsors, judges and involved alumni who help make the event a success. The Northwest’s oldest ongoing engineering expo continues to shine at U of I.
 
I also visited the Undergraduate Research Symposium this week, learning from undergraduates who presented 183 posters – a new record total – on a range of topics examining natural history, social policy, biological science, health and disease, and more. Sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research, which we created in fall 2015, the symposium highlights our commitment to getting undergraduates involved in research, scholarship and creative activity. One student with work at the symposium, undergraduate Ren Dimico, is actually participating in another science outreach project, a “Posters on the Hill” session on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., hosted by the . This competitive opportunity helps share the importance of undergraduate research with the highest levels of our government.
 
Our Vandals exemplify a university-wide commitment to high-impact educational experiences that immerse students in learning, provide mentorship and open doors to new opportunities. It is exciting and affirming to see what our Vandals accomplish as they walk through those doors.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
Latest News from U of I

Supporting a Virtuous Circle of Healthy Competition and Success

With groundbreaking on the horizon, the ICCU Arena is on its way to becoming a landmark on U of I’s Moscow campus, providing a flexible event space for the entire Vandal Family and giving U of I Athletics a competitive edge. It’s that vision and purpose that garnered the support of Howard ’69, ’71 and Tere Foley. The Foleys were among the arena’s first donors because they saw its potential to enhance the entire university, starting with the “front porch” of its basketball programs. “It’s necessary for us to be competitive,” Howard said. “When Athletics is successful, people are more likely to support colleges and entities throughout the university.” The reverse is true, as well, with the arena garnering university-wide support. “We appreciate the student body’s initiative to step up twice now to help finance the project. It’s their facility, too.” For information about supporting the ICCU Arena, contact Michael Perry at [email protected] or 111-111-1029.

Vandals Earn Udall Scholarship Honorable Mentions

Two U of I students, Kassandra Townsend and Madi Thurston, have earned Honorable Mentions in the Udall Scholarship 2019 competition. Udall Scholarships and Honorable Mentions are awarded to students based on their commitment to careers in the environment, Native health care or tribal public policy; leadership potential; record of public service; and academic achievement. Townsend, a junior from Nampa majoring in ecology and conservation biology, is a member of the Acoma Pueblo tribe, an All Nations Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Scholar, and a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar. Thurston, a sophomore from Kuna majoring in environmental science, is a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar and an active participant in the Alternative Service Break program, the Conservation and Environment Club, the Environmental Science Club, and the Women's Volleyball Club. Established by Congress in 1992, the Udall Foundation is an independent federal agency that provides scholarships, fellowships and internships for college students intending to pursue careers related to the environment and American Indian students pursuing tribal public policy or health care careers.

Here We Have Idaho Magazine Now Available Online

The spring 2019 issue of Here We Have Idaho is available. Explore the stories to learn more about the impact Vandal alumni are making in important ways across the state and beyond. Published twice a year and managed by University Communications and Marketing, Here We Have Idaho is the official magazine of the University of Idaho. It has a circulation of over 100,000 readers and is mailed free to all University of Idaho alumni and friends within the U.S. Update your mailing address at divinedestinations.info/alumni/update. Alumni living abroad will receive an email message with links to articles as each issue is published. Prefer an emailed magazine rather than print? Sign up to receive the digital magazine.

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Letter from the President
April 26, 2019
Dear Friends,
A highlight of spring semester is honoring our faculty and staff, who contribute so much to Vandal excellence. Our faculty are teachers, mentors, scholars and leaders in their fields. Our staff members offer support and resources across our mission for students, scholarship and statewide engagement. Faculty and staff are the lynchpins of Vandal success.
 
At this week’s University Awards for Excellence, three faculty members earned our highest honor for faculty, the designation of university distinguished professor. I encourage you to view the video testimonials from our distinguished professors below; I find them incredibly inspirational.
 
James Alves-Foss is professor and director of the Center for Secure and Dependable Systems. Alves-Foss has been with U of I since 1991 and is an internationally recognized leader in computer security and software. He’s also a passionate teacher who helps students go on to successful careers in computer science.
 
Bruce Haglund, professor of architecture and interior design, has been a faculty member at U of I since 1982. He is a leader in sustainable and regenerative architectural design and community development. He has emphasized bringing students into his work, from design and construction to presentations, helping develop a new generation of architects, engineers and designers.
 
Mark McGuire, our third university distinguished professor designee, is a highly respected administrator, researcher, mentor and teacher. He is the associate dean of research and the director of the Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station at our College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. With U of I since 1995, he’s a Fulbright scholar and an award-winning researcher who has earned more than $6 million in grants while helping students succeed.
 
This week we also recognized the important contributions of our staff, who do so much, often behind the scenes, to keep our university running and support our educational and scholarly efforts. Among many awards to many deserving recipients, the Lawrence C. McBride Prize recognizes staff members who go above and beyond expectations. Shawna Lindquist, with our University of Idaho Foundation, is this year’s McBride Prize winner. She’s an invaluable contributor to a foundation team that makes sure each much-appreciated donation gets to where it needs to go to ensure impact for students, programs, facilities and more.
 
James, Bruce, Mark and Shawna are just a few examples of Vandal excellence. I hope every reader – whether an alum, a student, an employee or a friend of the university – shares my pride in our people. They represent the commitment to high standards, passion and purpose you’ll find throughout the Vandal Family.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
Hear from our university distinguished professor cadre about what motivates them in their teaching, scholarship and creative activity.
Latest News from U of I

Wagstaff Prepares Vandal Engineers of Tomorrow

Wagstaff Inc. is a Spokane-based company globally recognized for quality equipment, expertise and leadership in direct-chill casting methods used by aluminum industry professionals. Wagstaff is also a dedicated partner with the University of Idaho College of Engineering. Most recently, Barbara Wagstaff Parkes, company president, as well as Jeff Smutny ’94, ’98, and Mike Thompson ’06, Wagstaff employees and College of Engineering alumni, generously reinvigorated the “lathe fund.” This fund helps purchase new lathes and equipment for the machine shop in the Gauss-Johnson Engineering Building. Wagstaff employees also contributed to the fund through a dollar-for-dollar match program. “We like the University of Idaho’s engineering programs, and we like the type of engineer they produce,” Wagstaff Parkes said. From the Engineering Design EXPO to the “lathe fund,” Wagstaff’s diversified and ongoing support of the college and the university provides engaging, hands-on experiences to students that prepares them for careers. For more information on Engineering Design EXPO or renovations of the engineering machine shop, contact Chloe Rambo at [email protected] or 111-111-7978. 

Three Students Awarded Prestigious Fellowships

The University of Idaho College of Graduate Studies, along with the College of Science and the College of Natural Resources, is pleased to announce that three doctoral students have been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in the 2019 award cycle. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship is a prestigious and highly competitive award program, offering a three-year annual stipend to support students’ education and research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at accredited institutions of each student's choice. Clint Elg, a U.S. Army veteran and former airborne combat medic, studies “superbugs” – antibiotic-resistant bacteria – in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology lab. Neil Paprocki studies the causes of differential migration among raptors, focusing on the rough-legged hawk. Hallie "Reena" Walker’s graduate research focuses on the behavioral ecology of large mammals, specifically three species of African antelope in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. Read more about 2019 recipients, and visit the U of I Distinguished Awards page for a list of previous U of I awardees.

Researchers Identify Seasonal Lakes at Titan's North Pole

U of I doctoral graduate Shannon MacKenzie, Associate Professor Jason Barnes and Assistant Professor Matthew Hedman from the Department of Physics published in Nature Astronomy, a monthly, peer-reviewed journal for astronomy-relevant disciplines. Using Cassini spacecraft observations, the team identified three north pole lakes that seem to disappear between winter and summer on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Their findings likely provide regional evidence for seasonal changes in evaporation and precipitation and may have implications for sediment processing and habitability. 

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Letter from the President
April 19, 2019
Dear Friends,
This has been an important week at the University of Idaho. The State Board of Education convened its annual meeting on our Moscow campus. I had the opportunity to present the university’s annual report to the board, a look at progress toward strategic goals. The board also deliberated over tuition and fee setting, ultimately approving our in resident undergraduate tuition for the university.
 
The annual report (read and see it here), presents some of the highlights our students, faculty and staff have contributed to in the past year. I pointed out success such as:
  • Our research enterprise has grown to nearly $112 million in annual expenditures. Exciting projects include our $20 million NSF EPSCoR grant focused on fish genetics and sagebrush; clean energy research and innovation; studies on antibiotic resistance and disease; and scholarship and creative activity across humanities, arts and social sciences.
  • We continue to work to make college an expectation among more Idaho students. Process improvements are accompanied by measures to mitigate cost, including our Vandal Promise need-based aid initiative and , which we aggressively promoted to students. We’re already seeing an increase in eligible students committing to U of I.
  • Student success remains a focus. We have strong first-to-second-year retention rates, graduation rates and career outcomes. We’re continuing to work to improve that leadership position by enhancing advising and by offering high-impact experiences. Check out our stories of student academic success across a range of endeavors during U of I Innovation Month.
  • We continue to focus on cultivating a valued and diverse community. That goal has internal and external components. For instance, we’re making strides on market-based compensation for our employees, updating a campuswide diversity plan with concrete objectives, and ensuring we have representation and inclusion for international and multicultural students.
  • New facilities are coming online across our statewide footprint. In Moscow we have our ICCU Arena project, our University House, and our WWAMI facility improvements, among other projects. Statewide, we’re working on a new facility at the Nancy M. Cummings Research, Education and Extension Center, are conducting organic agriculture research at a new center in Sandpoint, acquired a long-term lease on the Rinker Rock Creek Ranch and are making strides on the Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment.
That level of excellence does require resources. We have to walk a tightrope between funding our endeavors and maintaining affordability for students. To that end, on Wednesday the board approved an increase in resident undergraduate tuition and fees. This increase helps us maintain the appropriate level of quality across our educational, scholarly and outreach mission.
 
We made our request based on a realistic appraisal of our funding needs, and after extensive consultation with the Associated Students of the University of Idaho (ASUI). For instance, ASUI backed the $15 per semester increase in a facilities fee that supports arena construction.
 
It is never easy to raise costs. But I hope you’ll review our Annual Report and see the excellence that revenue supports. In the end, we’re making a wise investment in the future of this university and its service to students and to the state.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
U of I Innovation Month celebrates students like Allison Stevens, a graduate student in animal science who is contributing important research while preparing for her future.
Latest News from U of I

Founder and Curator Boosts the U of I Asian American Comparative Collection

The University of Idaho’s Alfred W. Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology began successfully excavating archaeological sites in Idaho and Oregon in the 1980s, uncovering historical artifacts from Asian American pioneers. Priscilla Wegars ’91, a U of I Ph.D. student in history during this time, recognized the need to preserve the findings. She raised the money and built support to found the , now a program more than 30 years old with an established endowment. Wegars, longtime volunteer curator of the AACC, recently donated a rental property to U of I, with proceeds going straight to the AACC Endowment to benefit the research done by U of I students, faculty, staff and other scholars. “I used the archaeological collections, books and other resources at the AACC extensively for my master’s degree research,” said Renae Campbell, now a history Ph.D. candidate. “I would not have been able to complete my thesis without the AACC.” For more information about of real estate to the University of Idaho, contact Clark Hyvonen, [email protected] or toll-free at 866-671-7041.

Ben Hunter Appointed Dean of University of Idaho Libraries

Ben Hunter has been named as the next dean of University of Idaho Libraries, effective April 21, 2019. Hunter is currently the interim dean and has worked in U of I Libraries since 2006, serving as an associate dean since 2014. Within the libraries, Hunter has acted as interim head of user and research services, head of technical services, head of cataloging and collections and as a reference librarian. In addition, he has published on library patron satisfaction and library-based digital publishing. Before he came to U of I, Hunter was an Association of Research Libraries Academy Fellow at the University of Washington. The Idaho Library Association named Hunter Idaho Librarian of the Year in 2017 and Library Journal listed him as a “Mover and Shaker” in 2013. He is also a part of the American Library Association Emerging Leaders 2011 cohort. Hunter was president of the Idaho Library Association from 2010-11 and is a member of the American Library Association’s governing council.

Is Wood the Future of Campus Construction?

The University of Idaho has one architectural marvel on its campus with the "Kibbie Dome," a sports arena that dates to the 1970s and whose inside has been likened to a tin can cut in half, thanks to its arched roof of wood-and-steel trusses. Now it's gunning for another, right next door. The proposed 4,200-capacity Idaho Central Credit Union Arena will have a structure that consists primarily of wood, using innovative construction technology that is gradually finding its way into new campus buildings across the U.S. The trend has been driven by an aggressive effort from the wood-products industry to generate demand for the emerging market segment. And it is feeding colleges' desire to show off commitments to sustainability, local industry and innovation. It gained some momentum last month with news of up to $1 million in grant money to help colleges add mass timber buildings to their campuses.

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Letter from the President
April 12, 2019
Dear Friends,
This is a time of transition at our University of Idaho. Yesterday, we welcomed C. Scott Green as the incoming and 19th president of this great institution. While we still have plenty of work to do before my administration ends in June, I would like to focus on welcoming the new president to the Vandal Family.

An accomplished executive, Scott was born and raised in Idaho, and returns to the institution from which he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1984. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University and currently serves as the global chief operating officer and financial officer for Hogan Lovells, an international law firm. He has had responsibility for more than 3,000 employees and over $2 billion in annual revenues.

In my conversations with Scott, I’ve found him to be smart, inquisitive and determined. I am confident the University of Idaho will be in good hands come July 1. He mentioned in his speech yesterday: “U of I has a rich history, a distinct experience unlike any other university. We have many stories to tell of success and achievement.” I couldn’t agree more.

I’m happy to work with Scott as the transition approaches. I know he will also have the support of many of our hardworking staff and faculty members, our students, and our alumni and friends. Transitions always present challenges, but the university is guided by its history, its mission and its dedicated people. U of I is well-positioned for continued success.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
Latest News from U of I

The Ursos: Vandals, Through and Through

This year, Capt. Bob ’80 and Gail Urso stoked the energy of Vandal Giving Day as match donors, generously matching all gifts made to the College of Business and Economics’ Idaho Entrepreneurs Program dollar for dollar up to $25,000. They also served as ambassadors, successfully recruiting 31 other ambassadors. “As an alumni supporter of CBE and the Idaho Entrepreneurs Program, I have witnessed the positive impact of our giving, both mentoring time and financial support,” Bob said. A unique and meaningful experience, the Idaho Entrepreneurs Program provides “hands-on” experiential learning to students who seek to develop and contribute innovative ideas and solutions to the business world. “There are many great ways to become involved in the University of Idaho success story and contribute to students’ ability to seize life’s opportunities upon graduation,” Gail said. The Ursos’ involvement makes a very real difference at U of I through the many ways they’ve identified — endowed scholarship support, mentoring and Vandal Giving Day, for example.  For more information on how you can support the College of Business and Economics, contact Brian Mitchell at [email protected] or 111-111-2634.

Vandal Giving Day Boosts Student Success with Record-Setting Participation

Vandal Giving Day 2019, April 2-3 at U of I, brought in 1,795 gifts – a new record, with 436 more gifts than 2018’s event. Many alumni, Vandal faculty and staff, and friends of the university stepped up with match challenges to multiply the generosity of donors. For example, the U of I Alumni Association board put up a challenge of $1,898 to honor their founding year, and a group of past Student-Alumni Relations Board presidents created a $500 matching gift. Online ambassadors, including 300 alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends encouraged their personal networks to get involved and give. Their efforts contributed to the $439,307 raised during this 1,889-minute event. “Thank you to everyone who participated,” said Eric Billings, director of Annual Giving. “Every email, every text and every social media post made a difference. Every dollar donated will matter to a student or a project at U of I. We’re proud and incredibly grateful.” Visit for giving details or contact [email protected].

Idaho Needs to Focus on Getting Its Students to College

The recent scandal over fraudulent admissions at “elite” private colleges takes attention from another real problem in college admissions: Too few high school graduates proceed to college, and too few college students graduate. In Idaho, with the “go-on” rate seemingly stuck, and graduation rates average at best, we need to continue to focus on the “why” and “how” of providing young adults with a postsecondary education. The “why” should be easy: College graduates, on average, earn $1 million more than non-college graduates in their lifetimes. College graduates also enjoy better health and are more engaged citizens, according to Gallup polling. In the bigger picture, our state’s long-term prospects depend on employees equipped with skills and perspectives gained through postsecondary education.

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Letter from the President
April 5, 2019
Dear Friends,
April is “Innovation Month” at the University of Idaho. A number of events and activities highlight the accomplishments of our student community: our , the , the Innovation Showcase, Engineering Design Expo and our Undergraduate Research Symposium. It’s an exciting month that showcases the talented students and the high-impact activities that are hallmarks of the Vandal educational experience.
 
As you can see by that list of events, I’d be hard-pressed to do justice to all the hard work of our students and faculty members in one letter. So while encouraging you to learn more about the events, and attend and support them if possible, I wanted to take a little time to discuss the Idaho Pitch and Startup Vandal Business Plan competitions. The signature programs in our College of Business and Economics (CBE) take place toward the end of April, and I look forward to participating this year, as in years past.
 
Early in my career I worked at a startup company in California, Chiron Corporation. Our scientists worked on several projects, including a vaccine for hepatitis B (later licensed to Merck and Co.) and a blood test for hepatitis C. At that time, with no way to test for the virus, transmission of hepatitis C occurred frequently through blood transfusions, with fatal consequences. Finding the route to a blood test was a labor-intensive and uncertain slog, but I was equally fascinated by the process of bringing our results to the market. Developing the test itself couldn’t help anyone if we couldn’t get it out of the laboratory and into the world – that is, if we couldn’t commercialize it.
 
For that, skills beyond science were needed: vision, salesmanship, creative thinking. That lens with which to view innovation has stayed with me, and has informed my appreciation for the work our CBE students do in the Idaho Pitch and Startup Vandal Business Plan competitions. In Idaho Pitch, interdisciplinary student teams practice networking and selling their products and ideas with real-world professionals. In the Startup Vandal Business Plan Competition, teams pitch business proposals to investors. The product or idea is one thing – students certainly have to understand their product’s functions, but they also have to be able to communicate its importance. They have to have a sound business plan, but they also must have inspiration.
 
The stakes are real – $100,000 in prize money is on the line in Idaho Pitch and other events. Students can and do succeed in bringing products to market. Look no further than past champion , a U of I-student project turned successful business venture that produces and sells kits to convert dirt bikes to snow bikes with tracks. I know the Mototrax team benefitted from the feedback of our expert judges, many drawn from alumni ranks, and from the leadership of CBE faculty members like George Tanner.
 
What innovative idea will come out of this year’s competitions to make an impact on our world? I’m looking forward to finding out. I’m also eager to see, throughout the month, the many other ways in which our students are contributing to how we understand the world and how we thrive in it.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
Latest News from U of I

Baileys Support Need-Based Scholarship Initiative

Debra ’76, ‘86 and Peter ’85 Bailey continue their generous support of U of I students through their commitment to Vandal Promise, a new multiyear scholarship initiative. Each year, over 1,200 Idaho students admitted to U of I do not enroll because of unmet financial need. The Baileys seek to tackle this challenge and open the door to higher education a little wider for students who identify cost as a barrier. “We believe a lack of financial resources should not prevent talented students from benefitting from a degree from the University of Idaho,” Debra said. Debra and Peter, both University of Idaho College of Education, Health and Human Sciences (CEHHS) alumni, dedicated their careers to education. Debra was an elementary teacher and principal, retiring from the Boise School District in 2012. Peter Bailey served as a teacher, elementary principal, area director and retired as the deputy superintendent for the Boise School District in 2014. CEHHS is grateful to the Baileys for continuing to make a difference for U of I students. For more information on supporting access to a CEHHS education, contact Stacy Rauch at 111-111-7053 or [email protected].

‘There There’ Selected as 2019-20 U of I Common Read

The University of Idaho has chosen “There There” by Tommy Orange as its Common Read for the 2019-20 academic year. Orange, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, was born and raised in Oakland, California. The book, which tells the story of 12 characters living in Oakland, closely examines what it means to be a Native American. “There There” was named among the 2018 National Book Critics’ Circle Awards and to the New York Times Favorite Books of 2018. The Common Read is partially supported by the Judith Runstad Lecture Series, which annually helps sponsor a keynote address by the book’s author or someone closely associated with the book. Orange will give his address Tuesday, Nov. 5. Now in its 12th year, the Common Read is designed to engage the university and Moscow community in a unified intellectual activity. First-year students will be assigned to read the book as part of their Integrated Seminar 101 course, and in English 101 and 102, all part of the General Education program.

Idaho’s Only: Land-Grant and Related Acts Are Fundamental to U of I Research Efforts

During the University of Idaho presidential candidate open forums March 4-8, multiple candidates mentioned the importance of land-grant universities — a classification of universities such as U of I that dates back to the 1800s. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln passed the Morrill Act, awarding a grant of land to each state, meant for the construction of a university. The act was later extended to include historically African-American colleges in 1890 and tribal colleges in 1994. Under the Morrill Act, universities were required to teach agriculture and mechanical arts, such as engineering. U of I President Chuck Staben said before the Morrill Act, there were about 300 people with engineering degrees in the United States. […] Michael Parrella, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, said prior to the Morrill Act, universities were located in the eastern half of the United States and were restricted to the upper class, typically offering only three degrees — medicine, theology and law. 

Vandals in Focus 2019 Highlights Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Work

Choosing a career isn’t easy. Many Vandals — in fact two-thirds of U of I undergraduates — test out potential careers while still in school by participating in out-of-class research, scholarly work and creative activities. Guided by faculty members, students learn how to ask and answer questions about practical problems and scientific mysteries. In Vandals in Focus 2019, published in March and supported by the Office of Undergraduate Research, undergraduate writers and photographers showcase the varieties of projects University of Idaho students have undertaken. The publication is student-driven, allowing student writers, photographers and artists a chance to publish in a professional magazine. Undergraduates produce all the stories, photos and cover art for Vandals in Focus. Read the issue.

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Letter from the President
March 29, 2019
Dear Friends,
This week we unveiled University House on our Moscow campus. This special facility offers a private residence for the president’s family and a public space for the university community. The beautifully designed house nods to the tradition and heritage of our campus and our area, but it’s also a thoroughly modern facility that will serve the university well for many years. It has been very rewarding to work on this addition to the university community and see it completed this spring.
 
University House is so named because it belongs to the U of I community. The house will provide space to entertain university groups, community organizations and other partners for the institution. Abundant space to exhibit art and other displays will welcome people to the space. Foremost, the house also offers privacy, practicality and sanctuary to the next U of I leader and his or her family. In the heart of our campus, University House will help the next president foster a close connection with our community. One’s life as president is all-consuming; to have a sanctuary literally within the university campus signifies this incredibly close relationship.
 
The pictures below highlight the stunning design of the house. While certainly a non-traditional design, the house includes many ties to the traditions of our university and to the region. For instance, the fireplace is reused from the previous iteration of the building (as is the foundation). Black locust harvested on site accents the entrance gallery and dining room. The interior stair treads to the second story are made of glulam beams whose first life involved supporting the roof of the old house. The flooring is made from larch from our nearby Experimental Forest and cut by our own student logging crew. The gables and dormers echo features common on distinguished older buildings, such as the Life Sciences Building, across our campus.
 
The end result is striking: A thoroughly up-to-date and modern venue, aligned with our aspirations for the future, but in touch with our past and with our place.
 
University House is one of many exciting building projects at U of I. Our ICCU Arena project is out for bid and close to putting shovels in the ground. In June, our Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program will open a completely revamped facility in Moscow. A new aquaculture center is up and running, and we’re moving ahead on a potato germplasm facility. The Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center in North Idaho; a new classroom and office space at the Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center; our Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment in the Magic Valley; and 10,000 acres of research possibilities at the Rinker Rock Creek Ranch near Hailey enlarge and enhance our statewide footprint.
 
These facilities touch different aspects of our mission, from student success to research and scholarship to outreach and engagement. But in each case, an up-to-date, well-designed and fiscally responsible building represents a sound investment in future accomplishments. As we look to the future at U of I, we can be confident we have a good foundation.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
UNIVERSITY HOUSE
Latest News from U of I

Vandal Giving Day 2019: Vandals Unite for Incredible Impact

In typical Vandal fashion, the University of Idaho community has united in an incredible show of preliminary support for the upcoming .  Contributing over $160,000 to over 50 matches and challenges, donors are instrumental to funding student scholarships and programming at the University of Idaho. The combined impact of these gifts touch every academic college and include pivotal areas like the Women’s Center, the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research, and Campus Recreation. This year’s theme, inspired by the nostalgia of early video games, will likely bring back the memories — and we hope you decide to “play.” Everyone is invited to make a difference and get involved. To learn more about getting involved, contact Eric Billings, director of annual giving at 111-111-5369, or visit .

Project Echo Gives Idaho Doctors New Tools to Combat Opioid Addiction

Twice a month, the doctors click the link and tune into the conversation. They call in from tablets at home and from computers in their hospital offices, representing Moscow, Coeur d’Alene, Shoshone, Hailey. At Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, the call is displayed on a TV screen in a staff room and residency nurses eat lunch while they listen in. The largest group gathers in a conference room in Boise, a dozen experts from local hospitals, the Department of Health and Welfare and recovery networks. Lachelle Smith manages the meetings through Project ECHO, the only version of the international digital medical program currently operating in the state, through the University of Idaho’s Boise office to address opioid addiction and treatment. For an hour on every other Thursday, experts swap advice for treating recovering addicts in all corners of the state and rural doctors receive free online training. “The whole idea is to de-monopolize knowledge. Patients who need care live wherever they live, and we have some critical shortages in the state,” Smith said. .

Planning for Changing Landscapes in Idaho’s Magic Valley

It’s not hard for Kathryn Frostenson to imagine her hometown of Jerome — part of Idaho’s agricultural epicenter — in the throngs of some pretty hefty changes between now and 2050. Frostenson grew up running heavy equipment on her family’s farm — swathing and raking alfalfa, wheat and barley. She’s already seen dairies in the region go belly up due to trade disputes involving foreign governments’ retaliatory tariffs on cheese and milk. She’s also heard chatter of the tech sector moving in to snatch up cheap land, which could put a strain on the region’s water supply. Then there’s the potential for increased water quality regulations, which would further limit farmers’ ability to irrigate. All signs point toward the Magic Valley, home to a thriving dairy and food processing industry that supports Idaho’s economy with thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in sales, in the midst of a fairly uncertain future. That’s why a group of University of Idaho faculty and students, including Frostenson, are working with the Center for Resilient Communities (CRC), a research facility housed in U of I’s College of Art and Architecture, along with 25 researchers across the nation and community members in the Magic Valley, to create models of alternative future scenarios that will allow the region to proactively plan for a very different time.

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Letter from the President
March 22, 2019
Dear Friends,
As I’ve often said, one of our university’s great strengths is our academic and scholarly excellence, driven by faculty members who are at the leading edge of their disciplines. Thanks to our faculty, students at U of I find an academic experience that helps them grow as thinkers and leaders, and prepares them for life and careers. They have access to role models who are more than just researchers, more than just teachers – they are mentors.
 
Recently, the National Science Foundation made funding awards in its Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program. CAREER awards, highly coveted, are offered on the basis of excellence in teaching and in the integration of scholarship and education. That is, the National Science Foundation issues funding based not just on the possibilities for the area of research, but for how well faculty members bring students into the work. Two University of Idaho faculty members earned CAREER awards this year – Elizabeth Cassel, assistant professor of geological sciences, and Michael Strickland, assistant professor in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
 
Assistant Professor Cassel earned a $729,932, five-year grant to study the history of the Rocky Mountains and Northern Basin and Range, from western Idaho to eastern Montana and Wyoming. Her work will try to more accurately gauge elevation and terrain changes in this vast region over the past 50 million years to understand the processes that formed the basin and range – and still cause earthquakes in eastern Idaho today. In addition to two new graduate students, she’ll recruit low-income and underrepresented high school students through our STEM Access and Upward Bound programs to handle and analyze rocks collected. These students will have a fascinating entryway into the topography of our world and the excitement of hands-on STEM research.
 
Assistant Professor Strickland’s $651,698, five-year award supports research connected to soil, including antibiotic resistance across different soil types and antibiotic effects in food webs. Graduate students will find opportunities in his program. He will also bring the program to Idaho middle and high schools. The health and productivity of our soil is critically important for agriculture and our food supply. Connecting students to this work will get them excited about agricultural research, and they’ll be able to grasp and contribute to key questions.
 
Cassel and Strickland represent something important about our public research university: Research and teaching are intertwined. Involvement in research, scholarship or creative projects is one of the high-impact experiences that makes a difference for students as they progress through to graduation. Most undergraduates gain that experience at U of I, and it’s a feature of graduate student life. I appreciate that our CAREER award winners are also extending that participation in a different capacity to even younger students.
 
Did you know that U of I actually has That distinguished cohort includes Cassel and Strickland, as well as 2018 recipients Eric Mittelstaedt, assistant professor of geology; and Christine Parent, assistant professor of biology. Our 2016 winners include Tara Hudiburg, assistant professor in the department of Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences; Craig McGowan, associate professor of biology; and Vishal Saxena, associate professor in the College of Engineering and the Micron Endowed Professor in Electronics. In 2013 David Tank, the Stillinger Herbarium director in our Department of Biological Sciences, earned a CAREER award. The active awards total nearly $3.9 million in federal funding brought to U of I.
 
But the real impact of these awards goes beyond money. I congratulate our CAREER award winners on their well-deserved recognition and funding. I’m eager to see the discovery and innovation we’ll unlock for the state, and the teaching and learning that will shape the lives and careers of students.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
Latest News from U of I

National Law Firm Rooted in Idaho Gives Back

In gratitude and recognition of the education they received at the University of Idaho College of Law, the shareholders of the national law firm James, Vernon and Weeks P.A., recently established an endowment that will provide an annual scholarship award for law students. Originating out of Coeur d’Alene, the firm is focused on bringing justice to child victims, those injured by drugs and medical devices, and other serious cases involving physical or financial injury. The fund will allow the College of Law to provide scholarships to students who demonstrate a commitment to help individuals or small businesses access the courts and achieve civil justice. If you would like to learn more about giving to the College of Law, contact Michele Bartlett at 111-364-4044 or [email protected].

U of I Medical Students Receive Scholarship Support

More Idaho medical students with financial need will receive scholarship support because of a recent gift from the Durward and Susan Huckabay Foundation. The $1.5 million gift to the Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program at the University of Idaho will support medical students in completing their studies and graduating with less debt. John Huckabay of Coeur d’Alene, trustee of the Durward and Susan Huckabay Foundation, established the scholarship in honor of his grandfather, Durward A. Huckabay M.D., who struggled to afford medical school in the 1920s while also supporting his wife and four siblings. “The D.A. Huckabay M.D. WWAMI Endowment is the first of its kind for the program,” said Jeff Seegmiller, regional dean and Idaho WWAMI director at U of I. “It’s the largest gift directly benefitting our medical students.” The Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program Scholarship Committee will select WWAMI-eligible students with financial need for the scholarship. The endowment will have funds available in the 2020-21 school year in the form of scholarship support for Idaho WWAMI students. “We’re deeply grateful for the Durward and Susan Huckabay Foundation’s generosity,” said U of I President Chuck Staben. “The endowment is an investment in the careers of medical professionals for Idaho, in our university’s great public medical education program, and in the health and well-being of our state.”

U of I Student Selected for a Fulbright Award to Denmark

Taylor Azizeh, a senior majoring in environmental science and wildlife resources, has been selected for a Fulbright Study/Research Award to Denmark. During the grant period, Azizeh will take master’s courses at the Arctic Research Center in Denmark and conduct Arctic research and fieldwork at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources in Nuuk, Greenland. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in over 160 countries worldwide. As a grantee, Taylor joins the ranks of distinguished participants in the program who have included 59 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 72 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors.

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Letter from the President
March 15, 2019
Dear Friends,
This week in Boise we’ve come together as Vandals for the 2019 Big Sky Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. Our student-athletes represented the University of Idaho with pride, determination and character. For this week’s Friday Letter I connected with Pete Isakson, interim athletics director, who has stepped in this year to lead our program. I asked him about our successes and our opportunities. 

President Chuck Staben: Why has it been special to have our Big Sky basketball tournament in Boise this year for the first time? What has stood out to you?
Athletic Director Pete Isakson:
The opportunity to play postseason games in our home state is awesome. It’s unfortunate we didn’t end up hoisting the trophy, but we saw such an outpouring of support from our fans and alums down here, as well as the Vandal faithful who traveled to come watch our teams lay it all out there in a tournament setting. It doesn’t get any better than that. We look forward to doing it all again and staying a little longer at next year’s tournament.

CS: We love Athletics, but are also proud of the student side of the student-athlete equation. How have Vandals excelled as students this year?
PI: Our student-athletes put a tremendous amount of work into their academics – 190 student-athletes . But I want to single out a couple of the women in our department who have taken their achievements to the next level. Earlier this week, Mikayla Ferenz was named the . A 4.0 student in actuarial sciences, Mikayla is not only the first Vandal to earn this award in its 30-year history, she’s the first woman in Big Sky Conference history to be named the Academic All-American of the Year in any sport. Last month, former women’s soccer student-athlete Kelly Dopke was . One of the most sought-after and prestigious awards the NCAA hands out, the $10,000 scholarship will help jump-start Kelly’s medical career.

CS: Vandals have seen success on the court this year. What other program success have we seen in other sports?
PI: We have seen a great deal of success this season, both individually and with our teams. Last fall, volleyball earned a share of the regular-season Big Sky title and advanced to the conference tournament championship match, while soccer finished second in the league. In winter sports, diver Janelle Lucas became the first woman in WAC history on the platform. in the shot put at the Big Sky Indoor Track and Field Championships and became the first Vandal in six years to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships. Three of our spring teams are defending Big Sky titles – women’s golf and both tennis programs. Women’s tennis is fresh off a win over Oregon and senior Marianna Petrei is seeking her fourth Big Sky MVP award. Women’s golf senior Sophie Hausmann is the reigning Big Sky Player of the Year, and she will spend part of next month competing at Augusta National as part of an elite world amateur tournament.

CS: Sadly, we when Collin Sather passed away. What has that meant to our student-athletes?
PI: First and foremost, our thoughts continue to be with Collin’s family and friends. Collin clearly had a great impact on a number of our student-athletes, coaches and staff during his time in Moscow. It has been powerful to see our student-athletes come together and take care of one another during this difficult time. We’ll have the chance to celebrate Collin with all those who were close to him on March 29, at 4:30 p.m. at Millwood Presbyterian Church near Spokane. He embodied what it means to be a Vandal, and his legacy will live on forever within our department.

CS: The ICCU Arena was approved for construction, pending consultation with the incoming president once named. What will that mean for our Athletics Program?
PI: We are forever grateful to everyone who has stepped up along the way to make the ICCU Arena project a reality and to the State Board of Education for sharing in our vision. This building will transform the future of the university and Vandal Athletics. Many thanks go out to you, President Staben, and to Mike Perry for your leadership on this project. This is an exciting time to be a Vandal. We can’t wait to break ground!

CS: You’re meeting many Vandal alumni and friends this week. What’s the impact of their support for the program?
PI: There are countless Vandals in and around Boise who make a significant impact on the lives of our student-athletes. The Big Sky Championships have brought the student-athlete experience to so many of our alumni and friends in the Treasure Valley and showcased the incredible young men and women who will leave our program better people because of the opportunities afforded by our supporters. New Associate Athletic Director Mahmood Sheikh and I have enjoyed visiting with hundreds of local Vandals and seeing the silver and gold worn and displayed with pride throughout Boise this week.

President Staben: Thank you, Pete, for your leadership in the department and your commitment to student-athlete success.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
Pete Isakson returned to U of I in 2017. He earned a master's degree from U of I in 2003 and actually began his career in Athletics at our institution from 1995-96.
Latest News from U of I

Two Faculty Members Receive National Recognition

Two University of Idaho assistant professors have earned national Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Elizabeth Cassel and Michael Strickland will receive a combined $1.38 million in funding for their projects through the prestigious NSF CAREER program, meant to fund the research and education activities of early career faculty. Cassel, assistant professor of geology in the College of Science, will use her $729,932, five-year award to develop a new method for more accurately measuring the timing and magnitude of elevation and terrain changes in the North American Cordillera, which spans the mountains and plateaus of the continent’s entire Rocky Mountain range to the mountainous regions along North America’s West Coast. Strickland, assistant professor in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences' Department of Soil and Water Systems, will use his $651,698, five-year award to determine the effects agricultural antibiotics have on soil food webs and the ecosystem. NSF CAREER awards fund the research and education activities of early career faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.

Vandals Earn National Theatre Awards

Two University of Idaho theatre students and a theatre team took top awards at the regional competition of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Sophomore Andrew Yoder of Boise won the National Award for Excellence in Sound Design for his work in U of I’s performance of “A Kind of Alaska.” Senior Jessica Shehan won the National Stage Directors and Choreographers Society Directing Fellowships Award for her direction of a scene from “The Baltimore Waltz.” In addition, a U of I student improv club, Awkward Silence, took home a second-place award. Members performing were Joseph Winder, Katharine Sonas, Valerie Denton, Andre Szarmach, Emma Pace, Aidan Leonard, Katy Sokol and Ricky Kimball. The festival awards are part of a national theatre program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities across the country. U of I also took first place in the festival’s Tech Olympics with a team composed of Jared Sorensen, Mason Chadd, Valerie Denton and Stephanie Lutz. Read more, including other award winners.

U of I Professors Contribute to Publication on Idaho’s Most Significant Structures

Boise, Moscow and Pocatello have the most architecturally significant structures in the state of Idaho, according to the peer-reviewed online encyclopedia contributed to by University of Idaho faculty members. Idaho’s most significant buildings, landscapes, infrastructure and monuments —from the Panida Theater in Sandpoint to the Red Baron Hangar in Idaho Falls to the Warehouse Historic District in Twin Falls — were recently chronicled in the  by four faculty members in U of I’s College of Art and Architecture. Professor Anne Marshall, Professor Emeritus Wendy McClure, Associate Professor Phillip Mead and Associate Professor Emeritus D. Nels Reese identified, researched, photographed and wrote about 119 districts and buildings for the site. Idaho cities with the most entries include Boise with 23; Moscow with 20; Pocatello with eight; Idaho Falls and Sun Valley with five; Twin Falls and Wallace with four; and Lewiston, Plummer and Sandpoint with three. The academics sought to tell the social and cultural history of the state through their entries.

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Letter from the President
March 8, 2019
Dear Friends,
The University of Idaho is a leader in master's, doctoral, legal and medical education – and we value the contributions of these students and strive to support their work. For this week’s Friday Letter, I connected with Ananth Jillepalli, president of the Graduate and Professional Students Association at U of I. Originally from India by way of Syracuse, New York, Ananth will complete his doctoral degree in computer science this spring. Ananth’s research focuses on cybersecurity; his mentor is Assistant Professor Daniel Conte de Leon. Ananth is committed to serving students, improving the academic environment and leading by example.
 
President Chuck Staben: What are you studying? Why did you choose the University of Idaho?
GPSA President Ananth Jillepalli:
I’m a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Computer Science. My field of study is cybersecurity of critical infrastructure. Five years ago, when I was scouting for a decent grad program with an emphasis on cybersecurity, the University of Idaho’s cybersecurity program was ranked as one of the top 10 in the U.S. I investigated the department’s website, and I liked the resources and flexibility offered by the cybersecurity program here.
 
CS: Tell me about the GPSA. Why is the organization important? What are the organization’s goals and major priorities, as you see them?
AJ: GPSA is a student service organization run by graduate students and for graduate students. It’s important to have an organization like GPSA on every campus because we champion the welfare of graduate students. In the last four years alone, GPSA has helped the university institute several initiatives for grad students. Some examples include in-state tuition waivers for teaching assistants, financial support for grad student clubs and uniform pay scales for graduate assistants’ stipends.
 
GPSA’s goals and priorities, under my leadership since fall 2018, have been four-fold: 1) Minimize bureaucracy and maximize efficiency; 2) Advocate for a parental leave policy for grad students; 3) Advocate for health insurance packages for teaching assistants; and 4) Cultivate a strong graduate student identity and activity on the Moscow campus. Although there remains a lot more to be accomplished, I’m proud of the progress we’ve made on each of these issues.
 
CS: What have you learned about being a leader, as president of the GPSA?
AJ: Four things about leadership have stood out to me during my time in GPSA: 1) One has to be better than themselves and their peers, for true leaders must lead by example; 2) One must realize and understand that not everything is always clean – one cannot grow and maintain a beautiful garden without getting their hands dirty; 3) Bringing about change in an organization is hard, and even harder is ensuring that the change is actually implemented and not just left on paper; and 4) One must use their powers like the waves of an ocean – harsh and unrelenting at times, yet welcoming and soothing at other times.
 
CS: What’s a challenge you’ve had to overcome as a student or as GPSA president? What did you learn about yourself?
AJ: Until recently, GPSA has had an idealistic organizational structure, which was steeped in red tape and prone to inefficient management. Since joining GPSA four years ago, my biggest challenge has always been to change the way GPSA functions, to make it as efficient as possible. And after years of struggling with this challenge, I realized that the only realistic solution was to rewrite the GPSA Constitution from scratch. I rewrote the GPSA Constitution with help from the GPSA executive board, and it is on the path to be ratified by the GPSA body. There were several times where I considered dropping this action item. However, in the end, I’m glad to have not abandoned it. We now have a structure that’s still democratic, but will facilitate quicker action. I’ve learned that well-guided decisiveness and perseverance pays off in the end.
 
CS: What would you tell prospective graduate students about U of I?
AJ: Prospective grad students are like seedlings looking for a place that will help them grow. U of I is that fertile soil that will provide them with all the opportunities and resources required for them to grow and bloom. I have been at U of I for four years and all through this time, I’ve never once been disappointed about choosing U of I for my grad studies. I’d happily give U of I an 11/10, and I would choose this school again if I could ever go back in time.
 
CS: What are your future plans? 
AJ: I hope to graduate by summer 2019, and after that I wish to serve in academia. The field of cybersecurity is growing rapidly, and I want to teach and do research that contributes to a safer, more secure world.
 
President Staben: Thanks, Ananth, for sharing your insight, and for representing students in GPSA. We wish you continued success as president and in your future after U of I!
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
We appreciate Ananth Jillepalli's leadership, and the contributions of all advanced degree seekers in building a dynamic living and learning community!
Latest News from U of I

Greg Nelson Gives the Gift of Exploration

At a young age, the historical and cultural sites that Greg Nelson ’77 and his family visited on camping trips exposed him to topics ranging from the segregation of the South to the mythical romance of the West. As a student at the University of Idaho, Nelson continued to expand his understanding of the world through similar learning opportunities. Nelson has to U of I students studying geography to ensure they have a broad education. “It feels great to be able to take part in a student’s journey through higher education and make sure that they are not crushed by heavy student debt,” Nelson said. “As an individual with modest means, I can give to U of I now with a charitable gift annuity and receive income and some tax benefits.” Gifts like Nelson’s will provide students room to explore options in U of I’s welcoming and individualized environment. For more information on , contact Sharon Morgan, [email protected] or toll-free at 866-671-7041.

Meet Tom Mueller: From Idaho Logger to SpaceX Co-founder

Tom Mueller started life in Idaho, the son of a logger; he himself worked summers logging when he was a student. But today, Mueller is a rocket scientist and co-founder of Elon Musk's SpaceX. Mueller isn't famous like Musk, but he is a linchpin in the story of SpaceX — as chief technology officer of propulsion, he leads the team that makes sure the rockets lift off. Mueller met Musk in Los Angeles in the early 2000s through a mutual friend, and they decided to build rockets that could one day take humans to Mars.

JFAC Approves $7 Million Scholarship Boost

The Opportunity Scholarship is in line for a $7 million increase. The new money, approved unanimously by the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, would fund at least 2,000 additional college scholarships next year — and cut into unmet demand. The need- and merit-based Opportunity Scholarship is the state’s centerpiece financial aid award, and part of a multimillion-dollar campaign to convince high school graduates to continue their education. This year, Idaho is awarding $13.5 million in scholarships. Boosting the program to $20.5 million is one of Gov. Brad Little’s top budget priorities. Even with this year’s $13.5 million — a record Opportunity Scholarship budget — more than 3,400 eligible students remain on a waiting list. […] The Opportunity Scholarship budget bill still must pass the House and Senate.

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Letter from the President
March 1, 2019
Dear Friends,
As a public research university, we tackle problems important to Idaho that have worldwide impact. What is more crucial than how we feed a hungry planet? How do we supply protein efficiently and sustainably? How do we create a workforce ready to contribute innovation and expertise? How do we partner with communities and our industries to foster sustainable prosperity?
 
The proposed Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE) at the University of Idaho will tackle those critical challenges. We recently took a significant step toward bringing CAFE to life when the State Board of Education approved our acquisition of 640 acres of land near Rupert. We partnered with the Idaho Dairymen’s Association – that organization supported the $4.5 million acquisition with $2 million – and the Whitesides family on the purchase. The 2,000-cow research dairy we plan to build on this site will be the largest operation of its kind in the United States.
 
CAFE represents a proposed $45 million investment in animal agriculture – a fast-growing agriculture sector that provides a significant percentage of Idaho’s farm revenues. Idaho now ranks third nationally in milk production – behind only California and Wisconsin – with the dairy industry concentrated in southern Idaho, especially the Magic Valley. In addition, food processors like Glanbia, Chobani, Jerome Cheese Co. and others have emerged as notable employers. Food processors depend on a steady supply of quality milk; all of us depend on sustainable production with minimal environmental impact to preserve Idaho for future generations. 
 
Milk production relies on livestock, soil and feed, energy, and water inputs, and has considerable environmental impacts. In each case, the new research dairy at CAFE can help us work in collaboration with industry to promote effective and long-term success. Our dynamic research enterprise will also train the next generation of dairy professionals – a unique laboratory for cultivating Idaho expertise.
 
The center’s distributed model features two other important elements: an outreach and engagement center in the Magic Valley, and a dairy processing program to be developed in collaboration with the College of Southern Idaho (CSI). We’ve already identified a location for the outreach and engagement center at Crossroads Point, in Jerome County. The distributed model of the center offers us the most prudent fiscal course, a way to best work with collaborators like CSI, and an opportunity to place our outreach and engagement center in the population center of Twin Falls.
 
A number of key partners have helped make our progress possible so far. The Idaho Dairymen’s Association and the Whitesides family were instrumental in securing the research dairy site near Rupert, of course. Glanbia, Elanco, Northwest Farm Credit Services and the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation have contributed to the project. The Idaho Barley Commission is a supporter. The Jerome 20/20 economic development organization has been highly engaged. We’re proud to have the support of private individuals, as well – people like Don and Mary Johnson, who see the vision for this project, the need it fills, and the opportunities it stands to unlock for our state and our world (read more about the Johnsons below). Partnership also comes from the state of Idaho, which has appropriated $10 million for this project, with a planned total contribution of $15 million if we can provide $30 million in non-state funds. Fundraising for CAFE continues – if you’d like to get involved, contact Jim Miller at 111-111-7476 – as we build on this base of support.
 
The purchase of the Rupert-area property represents our first step toward the world-leading dairy research, education, and outreach that Idaho deserves and of which Vandals can be proud.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
Latest News from U of I

Johnsons Help U of I Lead the Way with CAFE Project

Don ’59 and Mary Johnson have spent their careers in Idaho dairy. After completing a bachelor’s degree in animal and dairy science at the University of Idaho, Don returned to Kuna as the second generation to own and operate the family dairy. He and Mary married and raised three sons on the dairy, operating it for 40 years before deciding to sell the property and retire. The Johnsons’ experience in the dairy industry and decades of community involvement inform their view on the importance of the Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE) to provide research and education to the state and nation. The couple recently donated in support of the project. “We felt CAFE would make Idaho a place for others in the industry to follow,” Don said. “It will let us lead the way in innovation, research and marketing for the dairy industry and agriculture in general.” “The Johnson’s gift came at a perfect time to energize the CAFE project,” said Michael Parrella, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS).  “The significance of their contribution as individual dairy producers and members of the Vandal Family is hard to measure.” For more information on supporting CAFE, contact Jim Miller, director of development and capital projects for CALS, at 111-111-7476 or jim[email protected].

Collaboration Thrives at Rock Creek Ranch

Rock Creek Ranch embraces 10,400 acres in a series of succulent meadows surrounded by miles upon miles of quality rangeland below the shadow of the Smoky Mountains in Blaine County. The ranch is home to sage grouse, a species of concern, as well as moose, elk, deer, antelope and other critters. Because of its dual qualities as a working ranch with strong conservation values, the Wood River Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy, in a unique partnership with the University of Idaho, purchased Rock Creek Ranch from the Rinker Family. Under the partnership, the university provides a cow-calf cattle herd from its Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center in Salmon for rangeland research. The 850-acre Cummings Ranch is all irrigated pasture. Rock Creek offers an opportunity to do research on a ranch with a true rangeland setting. “It’s a great station, we can do a lot of great research here, but one of the things we’ve always lacked has been a range component,” Cummings center Superintendent John Hall said. “That means our system of production was not really relevant to the majority of the industry, which relies on range at least five to six months out of the year. So the Rock Creek Ranch gave us a wonderful opportunity to expand our research, and make our research more industry-relevant.”

CNR Student Selected for International Program in Sweden

College of Natural Resources doctoral candidate Sarah Burnet is one of 27 graduate students selected nationally for the first cohort of the Limnology and Oceanography Research Exchange (LOREX) program run by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography. The LOREX program connects U.S. aquatic science graduate students with international scholars to collaborate on research at the collaborator's home institution. Burnett will collaborate with Janne Karlsson and Ann-Kristin Bergstrom at the Climate Impacts Research Centre at the Abisko Scientific Research Station associated with Umeå University in Sweden for two months in 2019. While at the centre, she will assess the role of sediment-released phosphorus from laboratory-incubated cores collected from arctic lakes. Her research in Sweden will be part of her doctoral dissertation, advised by Frank Wilhelm, focusing on sediment biogeochemistry and physical limnology to inform decisions for lake management.

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Letter from the President
Feb. 22, 2019
Dear Friends,
This is an exciting weekend at the University of Idaho. Our 52nd annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival finds a lineup of world-class artists, music lovers from all over, and students descending on Moscow. We’ll welcome more than 4,000 students – college-age, elementary, middle and high school – from 130 schools to campus for competitions and workshops. While this signature event has evolved over the years, we’ve never lost sight of the power of musical performance and education to teach and inspire.
 
The festival is one of many recent success stories at Idaho’s great public research university. Let me share with you a few notable recent developments at our institution and for higher education. Did you know:
  • In January, the State Board of Education that allows one to view and compare a wide variety of metrics. Take a look at important data points such as remediation, retention and graduation. At U of I, we are always looking to improve, and we have work to do, but we’re proud of how we’re serving students.
  • Last week, the State Board of Education approved the purchase of land toward a critical U of I project, the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment. The Idaho Dairymen’s Association joins us to acquire 640 acres from the Whitesides family near Rupert. Idaho is now third nationally in milk production, so building the nation’s largest research dairy will help accelerate and enhance that success and is a great fit for U of I’s expertise.
  • Jim Bull will be joining the Vandal Family. Jim, an evolutionary biologist, is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, and will be the first NAS member at an Idaho university. I’ve known Jim for 20 years – we were on a National Institutes of Health study section together. He’ll be a mentor for students and, as a specialist in the evolution of viruses, an important contributor to our research enterprise. When we talk about prestige as an institution, we’re talking about academic and research excellence personified by people like Jim.
  • U of I’s combination of affordability, academic excellence and career outcomes earned us a spot on The Princeton Review’s 2019 list of The Princeton Review cites a number of data sources, including PayScale.com data on starting and mid-career salaries for graduates. The publication concludes: “The University is an incredible deal for both residents of Idaho and those who would like to spend their formative years in the Gem State.”
Those points represent important achievements across our mission to serve students, conduct research and make a difference in our state. Let’s keep building on our success.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
P.S. Last week I mentioned the Vandal Promise scholarship initiative. That program invites support of $5,000 annually for five years – a commitment especially valuable for students who work while attending college full-time. We appreciate the generosity of donors who have joined on already – and those who would like to – to make life-changing educational experiences possible for Idaho students. To learn more about supporting the Vandal Promise campaign, contact Kim O'Neill, associate vice president for development, at 111-111-5371 or [email protected].
Latest News from U of I

Idaho Forest Group Sponsors CNR Distinguished Speaker Series

One of America’s largest lumber producers, the family owned Idaho Forest Group (IFG) prides itself on observing stewardship and land management practices that ensure sustainable, resilient, productive forests. IFG also serves the people of Idaho through cooperative, constructive relationships with employees, their families, landowners, and organizations such as the University of Idaho. With a demonstrated commitment to lifelong learning and a firm belief in community philanthropy, IFG recently sponsored an eight-part speaker series in collaboration with the University of Idaho College of Natural Resources, taking place over the next two years across Idaho. “The speaker series will provide a forum to discuss ideas, develop relationships, and create shared meaning from multiple perspectives,” said Tom Schultz, IFG’s vice president for governmental affairs. ”We are very pleased to have the College of Natural Resources as a strategic partner in educating students to become contributing members of society and our industry.” The first lecture will take place in Moscow at the Best Western Plus - University Inn on March 21, 5-7 p.m.; Dr. Alan Potter, senior adviser and former Executive Vice President with FPInnovations, will present "Forestry 4.0 and Other Research Initiatives in the Canadian Bioeconomy." Contact Jennifer Farnum at [email protected] or 111-111-5145 for details and registration.

Architecture Professors Document Idaho’s Most Significant Structures

Several College of Art and Architecture professors — past and present — contributed their expertise to the recent publication of , an online encyclopedia that highlights the most significant buildings, landscapes, infrastructure and monuments across the country, including the top 100-plus in the state of Idaho. The professors helped explain the structures’ styles and typologies, materials and techniques and social and political contexts, according to the Society of Architectural Historians. Entries demonstrate the richness and diversity of architecture and building practices and vary in geographical location. They include the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, with its trailhead in Plummer; the Mission of the Sacred Heart, Idaho’s oldest standing building, constructed by the Coeur d’Alenes and Jesuit missionaries in Cataldo; the contemporary and visually stunning Chicken Point Cabin in Hayden; the Hispanic Cultural Center of Idaho in Nampa; the historic Fort Russell Neighborhood District in Moscow; and the Modern Idaho Potato Cellar in American Falls. The featured structures tell the story of architecture in the United States from pre-European settlement to the 21st century.

Overcoming Change and Uncertainty

When Bishal Thapa first arrived in Idaho he assumed he would encounter tall buildings, large groups of people and cars everywhere. Growing up in Nepal, Thapa harbored the perception that the United States was similar to what he’d seen on the big screen of New York or Los Angeles. Arriving in Moscow to begin his studies in agricultural education from the University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) and biological engineering with an agricultural emphasis from the College of Engineering quickly dispelled him of that notion. “They don't show Idaho in movies, they only show big cities,” Thapa said. “I flew to the Moscow-Pullman Airport and all I could see were patches of big round things everywhere on brown land. “I was thinking the whole time, ‘Am I going to the right place? Is my university just one building in the middle of the field?’” Thapa said. Fortunately, Thapa learned at a young age that change and uncertainty are guaranteed elements of life. How a person manages uncertainty — whether they choose to overcome change or resist it — all comes down to a person’s attitude. Read more.

CNR Doctoral Student Wins National Award from Ecological Society of America

College of Natural Resources doctoral candidate Kristina Bartowitz is one of 10 students nationwide selected to receive the Katherine S. McCarter Graduate Student Policy Award by the Ecological Society of America. This award provides graduate students the opportunity to receive policy and communication training in Washington, D.C., and meet lawmakers. Working with her faculty advisor, Tara Hudiburg, Bartowitz studies the interaction between climate, wildfires and ecosystems. Using ecosystem models, she is studying how repeated disturbance and climate change will impact forest composition and structure as well as ecosystem resilience. Bartowitz will travel to the nation’s capital in March to learn about the legislative process and federal science funding, hear from ecologists working in federal agencies and meet with Idaho members of Congress on Capitol Hill.

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Letter from the President
Feb. 15, 2019
Dear Friends,
Over my five years at the University of Idaho, we’ve promoted college-going for our state and its citizens. We’ve streamlined many processes at U of I and throughout the state as well as joined other institutions in aggressive marketing and recruitment. But the “go-on” rate remains stubbornly low. How can we finally move the needle?
 
Gov. Brad Little’s to can help bring more students to postsecondary education. Potentially reaching 2,000 more students, each $3,500 award can help address the central concern students have about college: cost.
 
Let me give you an example. A University of Idaho freshman, let’s call her Emma, comes from a hardworking family with annual income of $41,000 – somewhat below the state’s average family income of $49,000. (In fact, about 39 percent of U of I students are similarly situated.) Emma is a well-qualified student, with a solid 3.5 GPA. Even given the comparative affordability of our state’s public colleges and universities, and even after her family contribution ($1,000), federal loans ($5,500), personal savings from summer and part-time work ($4,000) and U of I aid (a renewable $2,000 Go Idaho! scholarship), Emma has a gap to bridge.
 
For Emma, a $3,000 gap might as well be $3 million. That’s why the Opportunity Scholarship is so important. The program weighs both need and academic achievement in determining eligibility. But funding limitations have meant that more than 4,500 eligible students – accomplished and motivated students similar to Emma – are on a waiting list to receive an award.
 
The Opportunity Scholarship is an award to a student, not to an institution. If a student earns an award and decides the academic programs at the University of Idaho are the right fit for his or her future, then we appreciate having earned that consideration. We are also putting our own skin in the game, bolstering our institutional aid with the new Vandal Promise campaign that seeks donors willing to offer $5,000 annually for five years so that money can go to qualified students. This campaign represents immediate cash to bridge a funding gap and help a student succeed.

An aggressive need- and merit-based program such as the Opportunity Scholarship – matched here at U of I by programs such as Vandal Promise – helps address cost, the primary driver of decisions not to pursue education. The renewability of the award for up to four years with a minimum GPA also incentivizes retention from year to year through to graduation – outcomes we strive to help students realize.
 
Unfortunately, the time has passed since one could pay for college simply through hard work at a summer job. One of our celebrated alumni, SpaceX co-founder Tom Mueller, did just that, in St. Maries. But costs have risen beyond the point where that is feasible for most students. I appreciate the governor’s and the state of Idaho’s commitment to ensuring we reward the ambition of students like Tom and Emma. This is a long-term investment in our students, in our state, and in our shared future.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
Latest News from U of I

Dennis Reece Invests in Student Success

Dennis Reece of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, recently made a $25,000 gift to establish the Dennis Reece Chemistry and Geology Scholarship Endowment. The endowment provides valuable scholarship support for undergraduate and graduate students in both departments. Reece earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and master’s degrees in chemistry and hydrology at U of I. He is a vice president with AECOM, overseeing remediation and restoration projects. “Scholarships to the University of Idaho are important to help students achieve their goals,” Reece said. “Their subsequent contributions during their careers will benefit Idaho and our nation.” For more information about giving to the College of Science, please contact Eric Bennett at [email protected] or 111-111-9106.

U of I Named “Best Value College” by The Princeton Review

The University of Idaho has earned national recognition with a spot on The Princeton Review’s 2019 list of The annual book is aimed at “college shoppers seeking affordable, academically outstanding colleges that stand out for their success at guiding students to rewarding careers.” The Princeton Review’s methodology is informed by 40 data points, including Payscale.com data on starting and mid-career salaries, and by surveys that measure academics, affordability and student success. Financial support is an important component of the analysis — U of I awards $25 million in annual aid, participates in the Western Undergraduate Exchange program, and has scholarships for other non-residents outside of that region. The university’s array of Career Services programs and resources are also touted. The Princeton Review’s bottom line: “The University of Idaho is an incredible deal for both residents of Idaho and those who would like to spend their formative years in the Gem State.”

Dopke Earns NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship

Former soccer student-athlete Kelly Dopke has been . The scholarship, worth $10,000, is awarded to former student-athletes based on academic and athletic success, as well as other factors including community service and standing within the institution. In all, 21 men and 21 women participating in fall sports are awarded the scholarship. Dopke will use the funds to jump-start her medical career. Earlier this year, she became the first Vandal soccer player and the third female Vandal ever to earn Google Cloud Academic All-America First Team honors, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Dopke was an All-Big Sky First Team selection and was named the 2018 Big Sky Defensive Most Valuable Player. She also earned United Soccer Coaches All-West Region Second Team honors. Her class leaves Idaho as the winningest class in program history, having won 41 games in four years. She currently boasts a 4.00 GPA in the medical sciences.

National Academy of Sciences Member Jim Bull to Join U of I Faculty

National Academy of Sciences (NAS) member Jim Bull will join the University of Idaho faculty in fall 2019 – the first member affiliated with an Idaho university. The NAS is charged by Congress to provide the nation objective and independent council on scientific and technological matters. Bull is an evolutionary biologist who has specialized in the evolution of viruses and sex determination. He joins the College of Science Department of Biological Sciences from The University of Texas at Austin. At U of I, Bull plans to offer a course that instructs students on how to think scientifically. He is starting a collaboration with Department of Mathematics faculty members Steve Krone and Chris Remien that will use computer modeling to investigate the effectiveness of a genetic engineering technology called gene drive that spreads desired genes throughout a population. In work with Department of Biological Sciences’ Scott Nuismer, Bull will study the potential for designing vaccines that could be transmitted from animal to animal without inoculating each animal individually in order to create an immune population.

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Letter from the President
Feb. 8, 2019
Dear Friends,
Private giving provides a critical margin for excellence at the University of Idaho. The University of Idaho Foundation, and its volunteer board, manage private gifts to support Vandal students, faculty, programs and initiatives. This week I connected with Andrew Emerson ’97, our new foundation chairman, to learn more about his leadership and help shine a light on the important work of the foundation.
 
President Chuck Staben: Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Why did you choose the University of Idaho?
Chairman Andrew Emerson ’97:
I grew up in Lewiston and attended a lot of Vandal football and basketball games in the 1980s, so I had been to Moscow often. Like many high school graduates, the allure of leaving the area was appealing, but it came at a significant price tag that would have meant serious student loans. I have to credit my parents for helping an impressionable teenager understand that concept. Additionally, I planned to study engineering, and U of I had a much better program than the other schools I applied to. In retrospect, I can say unequivocally that I made the right choice. I obtained a great education, made lifelong friends and graduated debt-free. There's not much more you can ask for.
 
CS: You’re a civil engineering graduate. How did U of I prepare you for life and work? 
AE: The rigor of the engineering curriculum taught me a lot about problem-solving, analytical processes and time management – skills I use daily. I also have a Spanish minor from U of I, and I use my Spanish skills every day. The combination of language and engineering backgrounds opened a lot of doors for me professionally. As a part of the Spanish minor curriculum, I spent a semester studying in Chile, where I met my future wife and gained an appreciation for the people and culture. After graduation I spent a year living and working in Chile before eventually settling in Boise. My employer supplied conveyor systems to the mining industry and the bulk of our projects were in South America, mainly Chile and Peru, so I've had many opportunities to return to Latin America over the years.
  
College is about a lot more than just going to classes, taking exams and writing papers. It's a transformative time where you learn a lot of life skills and transition to adulthood. I was fairly shy when I entered U of I and pledged Sigma Nu fraternity. I credit the guys in the house and the Greek system as a whole for helping me break out of my shell. Those social skills have been invaluable in business and life.
 
CS: Why did you want to take on the role of chairman of the foundation? What do you like about the work so far?
AE: I have been on the foundation board for several years, and I can't overstate how impressed I've been by the caliber of people I've met during that time. When Karen Gowland asked if I would succeed her as chairman, I was humbled, excited and a little anxious. I don't take the honor lightly. We’re the largest public foundation in Idaho, with about $350 million in total assets at the end of the most recent fiscal year.
 
Far and away the most rewarding aspect of foundation work is helping students achieve their goals through our financial support. At the end of the day, that's why we are here. In fiscal year 2018, we distributed $10.9 million from our endowment to fund scholarships. Since fiscal year 2000, we have distributed $339 million. We have been a major supporter of Idaho Central Credit Union Arena and other building projects and university initiatives. We’re proud the endowment and accounts we oversee provide opportunities for students and for university priorities.
  
CS: U of I is working on a scholarship campaign called “Vandal Promise.” What is that campaign, and why is it important?
AE: We know too many students struggle with the financial barriers of attending college – the average gap students face is $5,000. They come from backgrounds that don’t prioritize college or have the ability to provide the necessary financial support. Oftentimes, a relatively small amount of the overall cost prevents students from changing their lives forever. The university is trying to tackle that problem head-on, establishing the Vandal Promise need-based scholarship campaign. Our goal is to provide students with need-based scholarship support. The long-term benefit to their lives and our state as a whole is tremendous.
 
CS: You’ve been involved with U of I advisory boards, the Alumni Association and other areas. Do you have advice for alumni who might not yet be engaged?
AE: I stay closely engaged with the College of Engineering. I have been very impressed by Dean Larry Stauffer's vision and accomplishments. I support Athletics, contributing annually to the Vandal Scholarship Fund, attending Vandal sporting events, and recently getting to know the Women's Tennis Team, where I’ve been impressed by the student-athletes Coach Babar Akbar has recruited.
 
There are many ways for alumni to get engaged. Alumni events around the state and region are great for networking with other alumni and U of I leadership – you’ll often find another opportunity to get involved through that. You can also reach out to people in an individual college, living group, athletics, or other area of interest. I've found that once you establish contact, the power of the Vandal network takes over.
 
CS: What’s one thing that’s surprised you so far as chairman of the foundation?
AE: Probably the variety and complexity of gifts the foundation receives. We have received everything from artwork and rugs to fully operating farms and occupied apartment buildings. Our Gift Acceptance Committee meetings are generally pretty interesting, and we work hard to mitigate risk while maximizing the benefit to the university and its students and programs, and to our donors.
 
President Chuck Staben: Thank you, Andrew. We appreciate your leadership; it means so much to our continued progress as a university. To learn more about supporting the Vandal Promise campaign, contact Kim O'Neill, associate vice president for development, at 111-111-5371 or [email protected].
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
Latest News from U of I

Loyal Vandals Darrell and Rosemary Daubert Support Athletics

Darrell ’59 and Rosemary ’62 Daubert set an incredible example for all long-time supporters of the University of Idaho and Vandal Athletics. Darrell believes in helping Vandal Athletics reach the next level with contributions to the Kibbie Dome renovation and most recently, the ICCU Arena. Nearing his 60th class reunion, Darrell’s support begins long before he became a U of I alum. He regularly attended Vandal football games as a high school student, eventually becoming a member of the university’s freshman football team. He has continued to be part of the team for seven decades, as a season ticket holder and member of the Vandal Scholarship Fund, Quarterback Club and Round Ball Club. “I continue to be a part of the Vandal family because I love the University of Idaho,” Daubert said. “It is a wonderful university.” For more information on supporting Vandal Athletics, contact Abby McLauchlin at 111-111-0259 or [email protected].

Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival Seeks Volunteers

From greeting guests and managing competition sites to driving artists and educators to locations around town, the University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival is seeking volunteers to fill a variety of roles for this year’s festival, Feb. 22-23, 2019. The two-day event, part of the Lionel Hampton School of Music in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, will host thousands of student performers from across the region, who will be competing and attending educational sessions on the U of I campus. Volunteers have the opportunity to earn one evening concert ticket for every four hours of service, including training and orientation meetings. Volunteer registration is open to community members, students, faculty and staff. For a description of the specific volunteer opportunities available, visit divinedestinations.info/class/jazzfest/get-involved. To volunteer for the 2019 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, call 111-111-5900 or email [email protected]

Mikayla Ferenz Featured in Idaho Statesman

To get an idea of just how good Mikayla Ferenz is with a basketball in her hands, consider the company she keeps. The University of Idaho’s 5-foot-10 senior guard is on a short list that includes 2018 NCAA Tournament MVP Arike Ogunbowale of Notre Dame, reigning ACC Player of the Year Asia Durr of Louisville and All-American Katie Lou Samuelson of UConn. And what exactly do those four players have in common? They are among just 12 active NCAA Division I women’s basketball players with 2,000 or more career points. […] Ferenz set the Vandals’ single-season scoring record in 2017-18 with 742 points, and this season she is just 55 points away from breaking the program’s career scoring record. Alli Nieman holds the school record with 2,140 points from 1996 to 2000. […] The 2019 Big Sky men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be . The women play March 11-13 with the championship on March 15. The men play March 13-16. Single-game and tournament passes can be purchased at .

New Program Brings U of I Students, Inmates Together for Class

As a group of University of Idaho students make their way to class, they have to exchange their IDs for bright yellow visitor badges. They are escorted through a maze of hallways and several locked doors before they reach their destination: a classroom tucked away inside a prison. For three hours every week, the students sit side-by-side with inmates at the Idaho Correctional Institution-Orofino as they pursue higher education goals through the Inside Out program. It’s the first time the international program has been offered in the state of Idaho. […] For the inmates, the program can build confidence and skill sets they can use once they’re released. Each prisoner must meet certain behavioral standards to participate. The class is free, but if the inmates want college credit for the course they have to pay about $1,200 in tuition. The inmates must have a high school diploma or GED certificate to be eligible. As for the UI students, the majority of whose studies include an emphasis in criminology, it helps create an awareness and understanding of prison populations and the hurdles inmates face when trying to re-enter society.

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Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
Feb. 1, 2019
Dear Friends,
Wednesday marked 130 years since our founding as Idaho’s land-grant research university. That proud heritage informs our forward-looking mission to help students excel and graduate prepared for the challenges of today and tomorrow. This week I connected with Cher Hendricks, our vice provost for academic initiatives, to introduce a fresh face in U of I leadership and to gain insight on our efforts to help even more Vandal students succeed.

President Chuck Staben: Tell us a little about yourself. How and why did you come to academic leadership?
Vice Provost Cher Hendricks:
I’ve had a varied career, from working in technical theatre building sets and props to teaching students with special needs at the elementary and middle school levels. I earned a Ph.D. in Educational Research and Measurement and began my university teaching career in 1998. After a stint at Georgia Tech as a research scientist, I started working in faculty development and really found my passion. It didn’t take long to realize that faculty are the key to moving academic initiatives forward, and I started working closely on various academic initiatives related to student success, undergraduate education, and general education. When I discovered the Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives position at U of I in 2017, it was a perfect fit.

CS: U of I is a leader in student success – retention and graduation. How can we improve on that success? What is top of the list?
CH:
We have a great freshman retention rate, but we could do a lot better with achievement gaps for underrepresented groups and to improve our 4-year graduation rate. On-time graduation means less student debt and more earning potential. I think any of us who have or have had a child in college can relate to the desire for our kids to finish on-time. But we should also focus on providing students with courses and experiences that are meaningful and engaging. Success isn’t just about graduating in four years. It’s also about offering academic programs and co-curricular experiences that help students learn and develop habits of mind that will support them throughout their personal and professional lives.

CS: The University of Idaho recently joined onto the APLU’s “Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success” initiative. Why is that initiative important?
CH:
Powered by Publics focuses on student success, college completion and workforce preparation. There are 130 institutions taking part, and those institutions work within a smaller cluster of similar institutions. We’ll collaborate in our Western Land-Grant cluster with schools similar to us and facing similar challenges. We have the opportunity to share strategies that are working for us and learn from our sister schools about the effective student success and support strategies they’ve used. In a way, we are a learning community that’s focused on implementing evidence-based strategies to help students succeed.

CS: What is the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning? Why is it critical, and what success have we had with it?
CH: The supports development of faculty at all levels, from tenured full professors to part-time instructors, focusing particularly on helping faculty build teaching skills to best support active, engaged student learning. CETL supports faculty whether they are teaching face-to-face, blended classes or fully online. Faculty can get help with using technology tools, but they also have access to staff who can help redesign an entire course using evidence-based practices that increase student learning and engagement. Students, of course, benefit from taking well-designed courses that set them up for success. For faculty, the CETL provides a place to tinker with their courses, try new strategies, and work with other colleagues who have similar interests in teaching and learning. This type of community building is a great outcome for the work the Center is facilitating.

CS: You and College of Science Dean Ginger Carney are co-chairing this year’s Vandal Ideas Project: Transform initiative. What are your hopes for that project?
CH: I hope we’ll see innovative, scalable and sustainable ideas that focus on on-time degree completion. I’ve been engaged in student success work for many years now, and it’s easy for me to get tunnel vision and focus on strategies I know to be effective or that I’ve seen have success at various institutions. But we need fresh ideas and new ways of thinking about and supporting student success. I’m excited to see some truly innovative ideas come from our students, faculty, and staff.

CS: What do you like about your job? What experience that stands out?
CH: I like the people I work with, the students I get to interact with, and the complex problems I get to try to solve with others. On the student side, I often work with students appealing an academic decision. A student may have had a tough semester or made poor decisions that put them in a difficult situation. We’ll often have a long discussion about where they are and how they got there, and sometimes I’ll get out the catalog and help map a way forward. In other cases, we may have a hard conversation about choices and the effects of those choices. Connecting with students  always puts me back in touch with my purpose for being in higher education — which for me centers on the student and the student experience. Those moments with students are important and special to me.

President Staben: Thank you, Cher, for serving our students. We appreciate your energy and passion for innovation. Go Vandals!
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
Latest News from U of I

Erstads Design Vandal Educational Opportunities

While not themselves University of Idaho alumni, Andy and Shannon Erstad have plenty of branches on their Vandal family tree, including parents, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, and, closest to home, two of their children. The Erstads have also participated as Parent Advisory Board Members and served on the College of Art and Architecture’s Advisory Council. They’ve felt inspired to advance the university’s mission of a world-class education for students, especially those with financial need. The Erstads created two endowed scholarships for CAA students. “Endowing two scholarships is a small step in assuring that students inspired to pursue a career in architecture and interior design will have an opportunity at some financial help,” Andy said. “I was fortunate to receive scholarships as a student, and am committed to providing that opportunity to others.” The Erstads are also excited about the opportunities U of I students earn at erstad ARCHITECTS, their Boise-based company, through internship programs and as exceptional graduates. Vandals comprise the vast majority of their workforce. To learn more about supporting scholarships and the College of Art and Architecture, contact Brad Martin at 111-111-0935 or [email protected]

53 Vandals Earn Big Sky Academic Honors

The University of Idaho landed for football, volleyball, women's soccer and men's and women's cross country. The Vandals were led by 15 women's soccer student-athletes earning all-academic accolades. Football followed close behind with 14 all-academic team members. Idaho led the Big Sky in women's cross country with 11 all-academic honorees. Men's cross country (seven) and volleyball (six) rounded out Idaho's contingent. Each of Idaho's fall sports teams increased or maintained its number of all-academic team members from 2017. Women's soccer student-athletes Kelly Dopke and Claire Johnson concluded their Vandal careers as four-time Big Sky All-Academic recipients. Nine more Vandals were honored for a third time this year. To be eligible for the recognition, a student-athlete must carry at least a 3.2 cumulative grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) and participate in at least 50 percent of the team's competitions.

State Rep. Maxine Bell Given Honorary Jean’ne M. Shreeve Research Excellence Award

Longtime Idaho State Rep. Maxine Bell has been presented with the first ever honorary Jean'ne M. Shreeve NSF EPSCoR Research Excellence Award by the , the first time since the award’s 2011 establishment it has gone to a non-faculty member at one of Idaho’s universities. The award recognizes Bell’s long-standing support for high-quality scientific research at Idaho’s universities and her extraordinary leadership at the state level. Bell, of Jerome, recently retired after more than 30 years in the Idaho Legislature. She was appointed by the State Board of Education to the Idaho EPSCoR Committee in 2001 and has been an active member ever since. Since Bell’s appointment to the EPSCoR Committee, research and development expenditures from all sources at Idaho’s universities and colleges have nearly doubled, from $82.5 million to $155 million in 2016, and Idaho’s share of National Science Foundation research funding tripled. Those investments address water and natural resources issues, biomedical science needs and other topics of importance to Idaho, as well as educate and train scientists.

Safe Routes to School Celebrates 10 Years at U of I

The  at the University of Idaho, which helps encourage walking, biking and other physical activity, is marking 10 years in 2019. The group’s next event is the Polar Walk on Wednesday, Feb. 6, which includes hot chocolate for elementary and middle school participants. Elementary and middle school students, with the help of 50-80 U of I students, staff and other volunteers, will walk to school and participate in morning activities designed to help the young students get to their classes safely. The mission of Safe Routes to School is to educate and encourage physical activity as well as change the perception that walking and biking to school is inconvenient or unsafe. With the help of an army of U of I student volunteers, student-athletes and others, participation among Moscow School District students for the walk-to-school events has increased from about 50 percent to 70-80 percent over the past decade. U of I students, staff or faculty interested in volunteering for the Polar Walk or other programs can contact Erin Bacon, U of I’s Safe Routes to School program coordinator, at [email protected].

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Letter from the President
Jan. 25, 2019
Dear Friends,
This week many Vandals gathered in our state’s largest city for what’s known as “Higher Education Week.” The University of Idaho had an opportunity to present to the Idaho Legislature’s Joint-Finance and Appropriations Committee, as well as the House and Senate education committees. is simple: As our state’s public, land-grant research university, U of I is excelling in its mission to serve students, conduct innovative research and scholarship, and connect with our communities. We are well-positioned to continue our success.
 
Gov. Brad Little when he said, “A well-educated and well-trained population improves our overall prosperity as a state.” He also said, “I can tell you, unequivocally, a strong public education system attracts investment in new and existing businesses of all sizes. We all benefit from a strong economy.” At U of I, we believe higher education has an important role in promoting that broad-based prosperity.
 
The Governor’s Opportunity Scholarship investment recommendation – an additional $7 million, or 50 percent increase, for this need- and merit-based scholarship program – offers a chance to promote higher education participation and address our state’s “go-on” challenges. In FY 2018, some 1,780 applicants were eligible for Opportunity Scholarship support but did not receive it due to funding limitations. Too many, we think, may have decided that college was unaffordable.
 
We know that cost is a critical difference-maker for families considering college. And we believe it is so important to bring students to postsecondary education, in fact, that we are telling 500 qualified students that we believe they will be . We’re willing to backstop that commitment with internal funds should they be necessary. We will , as the saying goes. It is too important to our students and our state to do anything less.
 
During legislative budget-making, a number of agencies that are a part of U of I or closely connected to us also have the opportunity to share information about their programs. Our Agricultural Research and Extension Service, in our College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, fosters valuable research and educational opportunities, for instance at our new Rinker Rock Creek Ranch where we seek to understand the effect of grazing on rangeland. Our Forest Utilization Research program, the , Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program and WIMU Veterinary-Medicine partnership also provide important research, services and educational experiences.

As I advocate for the university, I often point to the example of our alumni. Their success is the best possible ambassador for University of Idaho excellence. I enjoyed honoring our alumni at the Ada County Silver and Gold Celebration dinner last night. Each of our honorees, and in fact the whole group of Vandal friends and family, exemplify talent, hard work, and passion for service and involvement.
 
Next week we’ll have a special anniversary – 130 years since the University of Idaho’s founding. But we are not stuck in the past. We are forward-looking, intent on growing, learning and innovating. The future is very bright for Idaho’s public, land-grant research university.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
I was joined by a great team in Boise, including Provost and Executive Vice President John Wiencek, Vice President for Finance and Administration Brian Foisy, Vice President for Advancement Mary Kay McFadden, and Special Assistant Joe Stegner. We're proud to represent the Vandal Family!
Latest News from U of I

U of I Joins Effort Addressing Retention and Graduation

The University of Idaho has joined 129 other public universities in a new, collaborative initiative to enhance student success: . Sponsored by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, the initiative addresses college access, retention and graduation rates. Universities are clustered into smaller groups to more quickly implement best practices for student success. Addressing the retention and graduation rate of Idaho’s students is as important as the current statewide initiative to improve the rate at which students go on to higher education.

LCSC and U of I Collaborate on Accelerated Law Degree Program

Lewis-Clark State College students who want to pursue a law degree and are accepted into the University of Idaho College of Law will now have a quicker path to earn that degree thanks to a transfer articulation agreement between the two schools. LCSC students will have an opportunity to take part in the U of I College of Law’s 3+3 Program under the new agreement. That program allows undergraduate students to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a juris doctor in six years instead of seven. Upon completion of an LCSC student’s third year of undergraduate study in the pre-law interdisciplinary degree program, that student can begin their first year of the law degree program at the U of I College of Law — simultaneously fulfilling their last year of undergraduate studies and completing their first year of law school. The agreement, which went into effect Jan. 7, 2019, includes a course-to-course transfer equivalency guide, which will allow a seamless transfer of credits from the U of I College of Law to LCSC.

Study Shows Economic Boost from Eastern Idaho Reactor Plan

Construction of an electric power generation facility in eastern Idaho that would utilize a group of small modular reactors could significantly boost the regional and state economies and increase U.S. carbon-free energy development, according to an economic impact study completed by the University of Idaho and Boise State University. The study looks at the economic impact of a 720-megawatt power facility using 12 small modular nuclear reactors at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) site in southeast Idaho during the project’s four-year construction, as well as the ongoing impacts over its 40-year operations period. The Idaho Policy Institute at Boise State and the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research at U of I completed the study at the request of economic development and industry groups. It notes the project would complement research activities at INL and enhance nuclear energy-related research and development in Idaho.

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