The Friday Letter Archive

A collection of the president's weekly messages to the Vandal family


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The Friday Letter is the University of Idaho’s long-running, weekly message from the president to the university community. The University of Idaho Library captures items from the Office of the President’s web page on an annual basis and select materials are made available in the Web Archive Collections. For more information, please contact Special Collections and Archives.

Title Date Body
Fri, Jun 07, 2013 2013/06/07 June 7 Dear Friends of the University of Idaho, In case we haven’t met, please let me introduce myself: I’m Don Burnett. I began serving as our university’s interim president this week and will continue to do so while we look... Read
Fri, Jul 12, 2013 2013/07/12 July 12 Dear Friends of the University of Idaho, In my introductory “Friday Letter,” I highlighted our university’s distinctive place in American higher education. We are a national land-grant institution that is also the state’s founding, comprehensive, and constitutionally established... Read
Fri, Aug 30, 2013 2013/08/30 August 30 Dear Alumni and Friends,  When you next have an opportunity to visit our campus in Moscow (I especially recommend visiting in the autumn, when the Palouse bursts forth with stunning colors), please take a moment to view an... Read
Fri, Aug 23, 2013 2013/08/23 August 23 Dear Friends of the University of Idaho, “All our lives through, we’ll go singing, singing of you, singing of Idaho.” For the Vandal family, these words -- often accompanied by the memory of melodic chimes emanating from the... Read
Fri, Sep 06, 2013 2013/09/06 September 6 Dear Friends, Innovation and creativity have long characterized the American experience. Our nation, and the world, can thank innovators from Idaho for creations such as television, invented by Philo Farnsworth, of Rigby, among others; for vehicle back-up warning... Read
Fri, Sep 13, 2013 2013/09/13 September 13 Dear Friends, As I write this, the sunlight of a warm autumn day is shining on Memorial Gym, one of the most photographed buildings on our Moscow campus.  The “memorial” reminds us of soldiers who have given their... Read
Fri, Sep 20, 2013 2013/09/20 September 20 Dear Friends, “Moscow has much to toast of, much to be proud of. The legislature made no mistake in locating the University at this point…. its people are intelligent, enterprising and public spirited and, we believe, will spare... Read
Fri, Sep 27, 2013 2013/09/27 September 27, 2013 Dear Friends, This is our homecoming week.  It is a time of special nostalgia for me because -- as many of you know by now -- my parents attended the University of Idaho during the Great Depression.... Read
Fri, Oct 04, 2013 2013/10/04 Office of the President Oct. 4, 2013         Dear Friends,   Next year, in 2014, we will celebrate the 125th anniversary of Idaho’s national land-grant, comprehensive, founding university. During that auspicious year we also expect our next long-term president to... Read
Fri, Oct 11, 2013 2013/10/11 Office of the President October 11, 2013 Dear Friends, As readers of the Friday Letter know, the University of Idaho has a unique heritage.  Established in 1889 it is our state’s national land-grant, founding, comprehensive, and constitutionally recognized university. Those characteristics,... Read
Fri, Oct 18, 2013 2013/10/18 Office of the President October 18, 2013 Dear Friends, This has been a week of inspiration tinged with sadness. Last Saturday the Vandal family lost a gentle giant in our midst – the incomparable Malcolm M. Renfrew – who passed away... Read
Fri, Oct 25, 2013 2013/10/25 Office of the President October 25, 2013 Dear Friends, How often have you heard universities described – with more derision than reverence – as “ivory towers” disconnected from the societies they serve?    It’s a common perception, perhaps borne of... Read
Fri, Nov 01, 2013 2013/11/01 Office of the President November 1, 2013 Dear Friends,   Readers of the Friday Letter are familiar with historian Rafe Gibbs’ stirring description of the University of Idaho as a “beacon” of excellence. In no endeavor does Idaho’s light shine... Read
Fri, Nov 08, 2013 2013/11/08 Office of the President November 8, 2013 Dear Friends,   In 1863, at the first session of the Idaho Territorial Legislature, William B. Daniels, Secretary of the Territory and Acting Governor, issued a clarion call for public support of education:... Read
Fri, Nov 15, 2013 2013/11/15 Office of the President November 15, 2013 Dear Friends,   It takes a special kind of person to be a good doctor: someone who combines intellect with compassion. The Association of American Medical Colleges asks aspiring doctors not only whether... Read
Fri, Nov 22, 2013 2013/11/22 Office of the President November 22, 2013 Dear Friends, This has been a week of contrasts:  solemn remembrance and hopeful anticipation. The remembrance -- for those old enough to recall November 22, 1963 -- is of the exact place where... Read
Fri, Nov 29, 2013 2013/11/29 Office of the President November 29, 2013 Dear Friends,   Due to the Thanksgiving break, the next issue of our ‘Friday Letter’ will appear on December 6.  Meanwhile, by the time you read this message, Karen and I hope that... Read
Fri, Dec 06, 2013 2013/12/06 Office of the President December 6, 2013 Dear Friends,   During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the concept of “place” became a focus of scholarship and public discourse on issues of social progress, human development, and education. The... Read
Fri, Dec 13, 2013 2013/12/13 Office of the President December 13, 2013 Dear Friends,   “Like all organizations and individuals, a university must be judged by what it does, not by what it says.” This cautionary note, sounded by one of our university’s most distinguished... Read
Fri, Dec 20, 2013 2013/12/20 Office of the President December 20, 2013 Dear Friends,   I was born on third base.  Please let me explain.    If life were analogized to baseball, we might characterize a career as “circling the bases” in an effort to... Read
Fri, Jan 10, 2014 2014/01/10 January 10 Dear Friends, I hope this first “Friday Letter” of 2014 finds you enjoying a happy new year. At the University of Idaho, this new year will bring a celebration of our 125th anniversary as Idaho’s founding, land-grant, comprehensive... Read
Fri, Jan 17, 2014 2014/01/17 Office of the President January 17, 2014 Dear Friends,   We teach what we know. That seems self-evident, but it carries an important corollary: the knowledge we transmit to our students -- or share beyond the academic community through scholarly... Read
Fri, Jan 24, 2014 2014/01/24 Office of the President January 24, 2014 Dear Friends,   This week the University of Idaho has begun to celebrate 125 years of service to the State of Idaho. During a well-attended ceremony inside the state capitol, Governor C. L.... Read
Fri, Jan 31, 2014 2014/01/31 Office of the President January 31, 2014 Dear Friends,   Yesterday we had a birthday party, and it was a dandy. In a festooned Idaho Commons building -- with an overflow crowd filling the main floor, and more observers elbowing... Read
Fri, Feb 07, 2014 2014/02/07 Office of the President February 7, 2014 Dear Friends,   In more ways than one, Dr. Donald R. Theophilus is a towering figure in our University’s storied history. While serving as president from 1954 to 1965, he became famous for... Read
Fri, Feb 14, 2014 2014/02/14 Office of the President February 14, 20143 Dear Friends, A great university – shall we say Idaho’s national land-grant, founding, comprehensive, constitutional, and (therefore) flagship university? – may have many physical campuses, but it always has a single symbolic address.... Read
Fri, Feb 21, 2014 2014/02/21 Office of the President February 21, 2014 Dear Friends,   In 1950, University of Idaho President Jesse Buchanan told students in an open letter, “Attending the University is important to both you and your country. The strength of our nation... Read
Wed, Feb 26, 2014 2014/02/26 Office of the President February 28, 2014 Dear Friends,   The snows of winter bring a quiet, austere beauty to the Arboretum on our Moscow campus. A white blanket covers the clearings and the frozen ponds.  Deciduous trees from forests... Read
Fri, Mar 14, 2014 2014/03/14 March 14, 2014 Dear Friends, Discovery is a part of any new job, and one area I've learned about quickly is Vandal Athletics.    Athletics is one of the most visible activities at a university. Boosters and fans follow their... Read
Fri, Mar 28, 2014 2014/03/28 March 28, 2014 Dear Friends,   I’ve spent much of this week in Washington D.C. meeting with Vandals and friends as well as government leaders. It was great to meet with so many enthusiastic friends in both formal and informal... Read
Fri, Apr 04, 2014 2014/04/04 April 4, 2014 Dear Friends, Vandals love their moms, and this weekend we have a chance to show them -- it’s Mom’s Weekend on the Moscow Campus. Great events are in store: receptions, a fun run, classes, entertainment and more,... Read
Commencement 2014/05/09 May 9, 2014 Dear Friends, Commencement: 1. A ceremony at which degrees are conferred.  2. A beginning or start. The "beginnings" we celebrate at commencement manifest two central roles of our land-grant university: educating citizens and benefitting society. This week... Read
Fri, Jun 06, 2014 2014/06/06 June 6, 2014 Dear Friends, Many of our students have left for the summer, but our University community keeps working.  Faculty and students dive into their research, whether in the laboratory, the library, or for many researchers, in fields and... Read
Fri, Jul 11, 2014 2014/07/11 July 11, 2014 Dear Friends, Summer is a great time to be outdoors in Idaho, enjoying the natural beauty, but also participating in a healthy lifestyle. And, as I mentioned in my previous letter, it’s been a great time to... Read
Fri, Aug 22, 2014 2014/08/22 August 22, 2014 Dear Friends, Day by day, activity on campus has increased exponentially! A new academic year begins today as nearly 12,000 graduate and undergraduate students — representing 50 states (plus Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, District of Columbia, American... Read
Fri, Aug 29, 2014 2014/08/29 August 29, 2014 Dear Friends, Imagine a football coach rounding up his team on the first day of practice and telling them they won’t be lifting weights or running this year. No prepping plays. No reviewing their opponents’ tactics. Just... Read
Thu, Sep 04, 2014 2014/09/04 September 5, 2014 Dear Friends, The University of Idaho provides abundant opportunities for students to shine. Some stand out in academics, earning awards for their classwork and promoting their fields of study through clubs and honor societies. Some excel in... Read
Fri, Sep 12, 2014 2014/09/12 September 12, 2014 Dear Friends, Among the many activities with which we welcome students to the University of Idaho, an event coming up next week stands out as particularly important. “I Got Your Back” Campus Safety Week begins Monday. This... Read
Fri, Sep 19, 2014 2014/09/19 September 19, 2014 Dear Friends, This afternoon, I’ll walk into the Kibbie Dome and join the Vandal community as we celebrate my inauguration. This is a big occasion for me, certainly, but the day is truly about all the people... Read
Fri, Sep 26, 2014 2014/09/26 Sept. 26, 2014 Dear Friends, This weekend, we honor three great contributors to the University of Idaho’s past, present and future. First, we welcome our students’ parents with Dads' Weekend. I’m thankful for the fathers and families who support, encourage... Read
Thu, Oct 02, 2014 2014/10/02 October 3, 2014 Dear Friends,   The strength of a university lies in the strength of its faculty. In my first 200 days as president, I’ve been privileged to meet faculty members whose enthusiasm, positivity and intelligence make the University... Read
Fri, Oct 10, 2014 2014/10/10 October 10, 2014 Dear Friends,   Last week at Envision Idaho, one of our events for prospective Vandals, I welcomed more than 100 high school seniors from Idaho and beyond to our Moscow campus. For soon-to-be Vandals, it’s an exciting... Read
Thu, Oct 16, 2014 2014/10/16 October 17, 2014 Dear Friends,   From my office window, I look out over the Admin Lawn and Hello Walk where the leaves are changing colors, students are bundling up a bit more and strands from a section of the... Read
Thu, Oct 23, 2014 2014/10/23 October 24, 2014 Dear Friends,   Most mornings I start my day by walking through the main entrance to our iconic Administration Building. On the north wall in the great arched entryway is a small historical marker, one you may... Read
Fri, Oct 31, 2014 2014/10/31 October 31, 2014 Dear Friends,   With Veteran’s Day around the corner, we have an opportunity to recognize the service of the men and women in our armed forces — student cadets here at the University of Idaho, current military... Read
Fri, Nov 07, 2014 2014/11/07 November 7, 2014 Dear Friends,   One of the pressing challenges in our state — and a broader regional and national trend — is a troubling shortfall in the number of physicians available to attend to a growing and aging... Read
Thu, Nov 13, 2014 2014/11/13 November 14, 2014 Dear Friends,   For a sports fan, and for a supporter of the University of Idaho, this is an exciting weekend. The University of Idaho men’s basketball team kicks off another season at historic Memorial Gymnasium, the... Read
Fri, Nov 21, 2014 2014/11/21 November 21, 2014 Dear Friends,   As Idaho’s land-grant research university, we pursue research that pushes the frontiers of knowledge and makes a difference in people’s lives.   We humans have a natural curiosity. We want to understand our place... Read
Fri, Nov 28, 2014 2014/11/28 November 28, 2014 Dear Friends, This year at the Thanksgiving table, Mary Beth and I were thankful to be joined by our daughter, Rae, home from college. Our two sons had late exams and were not able to join us... Read
Fri, Dec 05, 2014 2014/12/05 December 5, 2014 Dear Friends,   This December marks a special occasion for the University of Idaho and the Vandal family. Seven years ago we embarked on an ambitious project, a $225 million capital campaign to maintain and improve upon... Read
Wed, Dec 10, 2014 2014/12/10 Office of the President January 10, 2014 Dear Friends, I hope this first “Friday Letter” of 2014 finds you enjoying a happy new year. At the University of Idaho, this new year will bring a celebration of our 125th anniversary... Read
Fri, Dec 12, 2014 2014/12/12 December 12, 2014 Dear Friends,   Tonight Mary Beth and I attend a special event on the Palouse, the Jazz Choirs Holiday Concert in Moscow. With the participation of more than 700 local and regional elementary, junior high school, and... Read
Special Edition China Trip 2014/12/17 December 17, 2014 Dear Friends, At the beginning of December I had the opportunity, with several other university leaders, to visit China. Our trip had multiple objectives, including visiting a dairy research institute in Harbin; touring and meeting with leaders... Read
Fri, Dec 19, 2014 2014/12/19 December 19, 2014 Dear Friends,   As we approach the New Year, our university’s 125th anniversary draws to a close. The anniversary proved a fortuitous time to join the Vandal family — the pride in our institution’s achievements and the... Read
Fri, Jan 09, 2015 2015/01/09 January 9, 2015 Dear Friends,   I hope the New Year finds you well, having spent well-earned time with friends and loved ones. Mary Beth and I had a wonderful holiday in Idaho with our family, too. Having our children... Read
Thu, Jan 15, 2015 2015/01/15 January 16, 2015 Dear Friends,   This has been a difficult week in Moscow. We mourn the tragic loss of members of our community and our Vandal family. I know the thoughts of Vandals everywhere — in Moscow and beyond... Read
Fri, Jan 23, 2015 2015/01/23 January 23, 2015 Dear Friends,   This weekend in Boise we celebrate a special milestone, the conclusion of the Inspiring Futures: Invest in the University of Idaho campaign. The donations from thousands of supporters — more than 45,000 — have... Read
Fri, Jan 30, 2015 2015/01/30 January 30, 2015 Dear Friends, On Monday, I went before the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) of the Idaho Legislature to discuss our university’s mission, activities and budget requests for the upcoming fiscal year. The governor has issued budget recommendations that... Read
Fri, Feb 06, 2015 2015/02/06 February 6, 2015 Dear Friends,   This weekend my wife, Mary Beth, and I enjoyed skiing at Sun Valley. Standing on Mt. Baldy, gazing over the snow-capped mountains of Idaho reminded me that it has been nearly a year since... Read
Fri, Feb 13, 2015 2015/02/13 February 13, 2015 Dear Friends,   The University of Idaho has long been an international institution. Since its founding, the university has provided students from beyond our shores with a first-class education. In turn, international students bring new perspectives, cultural... Read
Fri, Feb 20, 2015 2015/02/20 February 20, 2015 Dear Friends,   Next week I’ll have the pleasure of attending my second Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow. Jazz Fest is a signature event for the University of Idaho, bringing together students of many ages, faculty... Read
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 2015/02/27 February 27, 2015 Dear Friends,   One full year into my presidency at the University of Idaho, I have been thinking about our mission of reaching students with a transformative education. How do we prepare graduates not just for careers,... Read
Fri, Mar 06, 2015 2015/03/06 March 6, 2015 Dear Friends,   Just over a year ago, I became president of our leading, national research university. One of my first public events was the state finals of the Invent Idaho competition, hosted here at the University... Read
Fri, Mar 13, 2015 2015/03/13 March 13, 2015 Dear Friends,   The groundhog may have seen his shadow, and it may technically still be winter for another week, but from where I sit, spring is in the air. That has me thinking ahead to enjoying... Read
Fri, Mar 20, 2015 2015/03/20 March 20, 2015 Dear Friends,   For many students, Spring Break is a time for rest and relaxation. But nearly 100 Vandal students have been taking a different kind of break from their studies this week. Fanned out in communities... Read
Tutxinmepu Powwow 2015/03/27 March 27, 2015 Dear Friends,   Regretfully, this morning’s letter listed the incorrect weekend for the Tutxinmepu Powwow. It takes place April 4-5 in Moscow. Click here for more event details. I hope you will join us then. The corrected... Read
Fri, Apr 03, 2015 2015/04/03 April 3, 2015 Dear Friends,   Our university is a leader in many areas: teaching and learning, research, and community outreach. In addition, we play another important role, as a facilitator for dialogue about important issues facing our world. Several... Read
Fri, Apr 10, 2015 2015/04/10 April 10, 2015 Dear Friends,   You’ll often hear me refer to the University of Idaho as our state’s “leading national research university.” It’s a way of describing our university as defined, at least in part, by the scale and... Read
Thu, Apr 16, 2015 2015/04/16 April 17, 2015 Dear Friends, This week the State Board of Education approved a 3.5 percent increase in undergraduate, resident tuition and fees at the University of Idaho. The increase supports the quality of our academic experience. I am also... Read
Fri, Apr 24, 2015 2015/04/24 April 24, 2015 Dear Friends, As we approach the end of another great academic year, it’s worth reflecting on the excellence achieved by our Vandal students. Our first priority, after all, is facilitating student success. Though we celebrate each student’s... Read
Engineering a Great Experience for Students 2015/05/01 FRIDAY LETTER: Engineering a Great Experience for Students May 1, 2015 Dear Friends, My first visit to a university was when my father took me to an engineering expo at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The experience left a lasting... Read
Our Vandal Alumni Family 2015/05/08 FRIDAY LETTER: Our Vandal Alumni Family May 8, 2015 Dear Friends, Nearly one year ago today, I happened to be at the airport in Louisville, Kentucky, more than 2,100 miles from Moscow. I had been president of the University of... Read
Our Graduates at the Finish Line 2015/05/15 FRIDAY LETTER: Our Graduates at the Finish Line  May 15, 2015 Dear Friends, This weekend in Moscow, we come together to celebrate the success of our Vandal graduates. Statewide this spring, more than 1,500 students have officially become degree-bearing University... Read
How UI Fuels Success in STEM Education 2015/06/12 FRIDAY LETTER: How UI Fuels Success in STEM Education June 12, 2015 Dear Friends, As Idaho’s leading, national research institution, the University of Idaho helps drive economic growth by taking on research in key areas and by preparing graduates for... Read
An American Dream Institution 2015/08/21 August 21, 2015 Dear Friends,Today young men and women from all over the world begin their educational journeys as Vandals. At Convocation this morning, our faculty and staff members gather to welcome our incoming freshmen and transfer students. We applaud... Read
Foundations for a Safe Campus 2015/08/28 August 28, 2015 Dear Friends, As a father of three college-age children, I’ve had to drop my students off at college three times. That’s a tough experience for any parent — leaving your loved one in a new place, on... Read
How We Power the Future 2015/09/04 September 4, 2015 Dear Friends, This week, we announced the chair of the Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Endowed Chair in Power Engineering . Brian K. Johnson, a professor in the College of Engineering’s electrical and computer engineering department, brings national recognition... Read
Great Examples of Vandal Energy 2015/09/11 September 11, 2015 Dear Friends, Maybe you’ve experienced something like this in your own lives, whether you work at a company, go to school or are involved in community organizations. Invariably, there are people making things happen behind the scenes.... Read
A Center of Excellence – in the Center of Boise 2015/09/18 September 18, 2015 Dear Friends, Next week we celebrate the opening of the new Idaho Law and Justice Learning Center (link) in Boise, a collaboration between our University of Idaho College of Law and the Idaho Supreme Court. In the... Read
Two Great Traditions at UI 2015/09/25 Two Great Traditions at UI  September 25, 2015   Dear Friends,  This is a special weekend at the University of Idaho, as we come together for two special traditions: Celebrating Idaho Agriculture and Dad’s Weekend. Our state has been shaped by... Read
Engaging with Our Tribal Partners 2015/10/02 October 2, 2015 Dear Friends, This week at the University of Idaho, our College of Natural Resources (link) , Office of Tribal Relations (link) and tribal partners from across the region came together in an important summit at UI. The... Read
Our Purpose, Our Future 2015/10/09 October 9, 2015 Dear Friends, This week I offered the 2015 State of the University address (link) to students, faculty and staff, community members and others who joined us over the web from near and far. I wanted to give... Read
Be a Vandal VIP 2015/10/16 October 16, 2015 Dear Friends, As president of the University of Idaho, I’m often asked about our current work and future initiatives — as one would expect. Oftentimes, such questions are posed in an interesting way: What are you doing... Read
A Hero in All of Us 2015/10/23 October 23, 2015 Dear Friends, This is a special time of year. On campus and across the state, we bundle up in Vandal gear, as the October days get chillier. In our arboretum, fall colors are on full display. Midterms... Read
Changing Our College-going Culture 2015/10/30 October 30, 2015 Dear Friends, Two years ago tomorrow, I was on my way to Boise. I’d just interviewed for the job of president of the University of Idaho, and was traveling to meet with the State Board of Education.... Read
How Small Change Adds Up 2015/11/06 November 6, 2015 Dear Friends, How many times have you had this happen? You find a couple pennies, or nickels or quarters on the ground. They wind up at the bottom of your washing machine, or stuck in the seat... Read
Vandal Leaders Give Back to UI 2015/11/13 November 13, 2015 Dear Friends, This morning, perhaps as you’re reading this, I have the pleasure of speaking to an All-Advisory Board gathering here in Moscow. This is part of an annual event we call Leadership Weekend at the University... Read
The Way Forward for a Great Life 2015/11/20 November 20, 2015 Dear Friends, Last week was a remarkable week for education in Idaho – for our K-12 schools, and for our higher education system. High school seniors across the state, and their parents, received letters of acceptance to... Read
UI Leads the Way in Outdoor Adventure 2015/12/04 December 4, 2015 Dear Friends, Our state is filled with a remarkable abundance of mountains, canyons, rivers and wide-open spaces. With nearly unlimited opportunities for exploration, there is no better launching pad for educational and inspirational adventure than the University... Read
Vandal Excellence – There’s an App for That 2015/12/11 December 11, 2015 Dear Friends, This week nearly 700 Vandals (link) approach the commencement stage as students, cross it as graduates and leave it as proud, degree-holding members of the Vandal family. Students have earned degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s,... Read
New Report Showcases UI’s Economic Impact 2016/01/08 January 8, 2016 Dear Friends, Welcome to an exciting new year with the University of Idaho. Our family vacationed together, but I am glad to be back in Moscow, rested and ready for a great semester. I often speak to... Read
Making the Grade on the College Scorecard 2016/01/15 January 15, 2016 Dear Friends, Many of you have likely witnessed the proliferation of yearly college rankings, ratings and lists, all purporting to add information and insight. Instead of clarification, however, confusion is often the result. Why is an institution... Read
An Investment We Can’t Afford Not To Make 2016/01/22 January 22, 2016 Dear Friends, Next week I will present the University of Idaho’s budget priorities before committees of the Idaho Legislature, sharing the story of our success and how we can build on that excellence. As our state’s land-grant... Read
Higher Education Week 2016/01/27 Jan. 27, 2017 Dear Friends, This week Vandals converged on our state Capitol for “Higher Education Week.” It’s a time for sharing the University of Idaho story with our Legislature, meeting future Vandals at our annual downtown Boise recruiting event,... Read
Medical Education in Idaho 2016/01/29 January 29, 2016 Dear Friends, I would like to share some information on a complex issue: medical education in Idaho. Providing medical professionals to ensure the health of our citizens is an important educational mission. Healthcare encompasses many professions: physicians,... Read
North Idaho Is Vandal Country 2016/02/05 February 5, 2016 Dear Friends, The University of Idaho is unique among colleges and universities in our state in that our teaching, research and outreach touch every corner of Idaho. From Priest Lake to Bear Lake, from Preston to Ponderay,... Read
The Vandal Flag in Boise 2016/02/12 February 12, 2016 Dear Friends, In “Beacon for Mountain and Plain,” historian Rafe Gibbs describes a mid-1870s effort to create a university in the Idaho Territory. In an address to the legislature, the governor noted that citizens, “inspired with a... Read
Our Home in Idaho Falls and Southeastern Idaho 2016/02/19 February 19, 2016 Dear Friends, In the early 1950s, the first lights powered by nuclear technology flickered to life in the desert of southeastern Idaho. The region has grown and thrived ever since, and the University of Idaho has played... Read
Jazz Fest Opens Pathways for Students 2016/02/26 February 26, 2016 Dear Friends, This week marks the 49th anniversary of the University of Idaho’s acclaimed Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival (link) , an example of Vandal excellence in arts and culture and educational outreach. This signature UI event highlights... Read
Our Options for UI Football 2016/03/04 March 4, 2016 Dear Friends, This week you heard news about the discontinuation of our football team’s affiliation with the Sun Belt Conference (link) after the 2017 season. While the timing of the Sun Belt’s decision was unexpected, we face... Read
Vandal Pride, Nationwide 2016/03/11 March 11, 2016 Dear Friends, The University of Idaho serves the students of Idaho; that is a central part of who we are. But our impact does not stop at the state line. We are also a premier destination for... Read
Our Vandals Go Dancing at the NCAA Tournament 2016/03/18 March 18, 2016 Dear Friends, What would March be without a little “madness”? The NCAA basketball tournaments are an action-packed time for colleges, student-athletes and fans across the country. Having delivered a Big Sky Conference championship (link) to the University... Read
The Best Way to Stay Engaged 2016/03/25 March 25, 2016 Dear Friends,Reading is one of the great pleasures in life. Access to libraries and the collection of scholars in one place with students were the foundation of universities in the Middle Ages, the early origins of our... Read
Why the Place Where You Attend College Matters 2016/04/01 April 1, 2016 Dear Friends, The place where you attend college matters. Sounds obvious, right? Just find the right school. But I want to concentrate on more expansive definitions of place and “matters.” Where you attend school is not just... Read
International Experiences at UI 2016/04/08 April 8, 2016 Dear Friends, You’ve heard me mention the “Friendship Families” program at the University of Idaho, something Mary Beth and I have gotten involved with over the past two years. We’ve come to know students from overseas who... Read
Our University’s Next 10 Years 2016/04/15 April 15, 2016 Dear Friends, “Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men's blood." – Daniel Burnham Several years ago, a friend of mine described the importance of sharing a vision when pursuing an important objective. His... Read
New Opportunities To Build a Stronger Idaho 2016/04/22 April 22, 2016 Dear Friends, As Idaho’s statewide research institution (link) , the University of Idaho is in a special position to be responsive to the economic aspirations of our state. We live and work in a complex economy that... Read
The Future of UI Football 2016/04/29 April 29, 2016 Dear Friends, Yesterday we announced that the University of Idaho Vandal football team will accept an invitation to join the Big Sky Conference (link) , pending State Board of Education approval, starting in fall 2018. UI Athletics... Read
Where a Vandal Education Can Take You 2016/05/06 May 6, 2016 Dear Friends, Where can a Vandal education take you? Just about anywhere on Earth — and in some cases, beyond. In April, we celebrated a “Month of Innovation” at UI, culminating with the College of Engineering Design... Read
The World Needs Vandals 2016/05/13 May 13, 2016 Dear Friends, This week and next, we celebrate the accomplishments of students across our state, as more than 1,500 Vandals cross the stage as graduates (link) . Each has contributed greatly to the vibrant cultural and academic... Read
Students at the Center of Our Academic Excellence 2016/05/20 May 20, 2016 Dear Friends, Summer is a great time to celebrate the accomplishments of our students. We take pride in providing opportunities for student success through access to a comprehensive, high quality education. While I can’t highlight every deserving... Read
Why UI is the Best Choice 2016/08/19 This morning, a brand new class of Vandals comes together at Convocation, the annual tradition marking the beginning of our academic year and the start of each student’s educational journey. It can be a time filled with trepidation for students... Read
Kicking Off Our Vandal Football Season 2016/08/26 On Thursday, Sept. 1, our Vandal football season kicks off at the Kibbie Dome. I've often referred to our Athletics program as the “front porch” of the university — the place where we come together to celebrate our heritage, our... Read
Important Changes for College-Bound Students 2016/09/02 The University of Idaho remains committed to bringing more students — especially Idaho students — into the life-changing, career-shaping experience of higher education. That has been a central goal of my presidency. This fall we are rolling out ways to... Read
Meet Our New Research Leader 2016/09/09 Janet Nelson joined us this month as our new vice president for research and economic development. She was most recently the associate vice chancellor for research development at the University of Tennessee and has more than 30 years of experience... Read
The Best Campus is a Safe Campus 2016/09/16 The University of Idaho has always stood out for having a distinctive residential campus. Among our historic buildings and modern facilities, students find a living and learning environment that facilitates growth and success. To reach that potential, a safe, supportive... Read
Sneak Peek at New Book of UI History 2016/09/23 There is no place quite like the University of Idaho. We have a special story to tell as an outstanding institution with a proud history and a bright future. A new book, "University of Idaho: The Campus History Series," by... Read
Three Stories of Vandal Spirit and Success 2016/09/30 At our 108th Homecoming this weekend, our “Joe for the Gold” theme nods at this summer’s Olympics and UI’s excellence in preparing graduates for success. It has been a fun week filled with spirit competitions, our 67th annual blood drive,... Read
Big Goals from Our State of the University 2016/10/07 This week I delivered my third State of the University address as a Vandal. I shared with our faculty and staff, along with our supporters and friends, the success we’ve had in the past year.  I also shared the goals... Read
These Great Rankings Tell Our Story 2016/10/14 Autumn means a season for changing leaves, football weekends and mid-term exams. It’s also a time when future college students closely examine their options for higher education. Students and families often rely on college guides and rankings to make college... Read
Announcing Our Plans for an Arena at UI  2016/10/21 For the two years of my presidency, my highest fundraising priority has been building a new arena for basketball and volleyball at the University of Idaho. Today I’m formally announcing the public phase of our campaign to build an arena... Read
Our Enrollment Growth at UI 2016/10/28 This is an exciting time at the University of Idaho. Last week we announced the public campaign for a new arena for basketball and volleyball. The arena will enrich UI’s great residential experience and offer outstanding facilities to our student-athletes... Read
Our Native American Partnerships 2016/11/03 The University of Idaho is dedicated to serving all people. Our student body is more diverse than ever. This year's increase in enrollment includes more students who identify as Native American, reflecting on our strong partnership with regional tribes. This... Read
Celebrating 10 Years of Changing Lives with Operation Education 2016/11/11 Veterans Day is special at the University of Idaho. Our military tradition dates back to the famed “Chrisman Battalion” at the turn of the 20th century and continues to this day with our Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC and... Read
From Idaho to the U.S. Capitol 2016/11/18 This holiday season, Idaho residents can share the pride of knowing the tree shining at the U.S. Capitol glows with a little extra silver and gold flair, cut from the heart of our beautiful state.   Known as “the People’s... Read
A Year of Progress at UI 2016/12/02 This has been an exciting year at the University of Idaho. Across our statewide campus, new programs, initiatives and facilities are making an impact. The hard work of our faculty and staff has been complemented by the commitment of our... Read
The Story Our Graduates Write 2016/12/09 This Saturday 634 Vandals cross the stage at our fall Commencement and take their place among the more than 116,000 graduates of our state’s leading national research university. We celebrate their accomplishments, their hard work, their persistence and their creativity.... Read
Happy Holidays from the University of Idaho 2016/12/16 Mary Beth and I are delighted to wish you happy holidays. Whether you are in Idaho or elsewhere, thank you for being a part of the Vandal family. I hope you will enjoy the harmony of our Vandaleers, who have... Read
Four Great Accomplishments from 2016 2017/01/06 Welcome to an exciting new year at the University of Idaho. We have no shortage of work to do in the year ahead. But I want to reflect on the progress we made in 2016, accomplishments that provide forward momentum... Read
The Task for Idaho Higher Education 2017/01/13 Last week, Gov. Otter announced the formation of a Higher Education Task Force to develop a five-year plan for higher education in Idaho, building on the work of the K-12 task force, whose 2013 recommendations are in the third year... Read
Changing 'The Way It Is' 2017/01/20 On Monday, we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.-Idaho Human Rights Day. It’s a chance to honor the progress of civil rights in our country and our state, to continue to that work through local service, and to reflect on the... Read
A Special Week in Boise 2017/01/27 This week Vandals converged on our state Capitol for “Higher Education Week.” It’s a time for sharing the University of Idaho story with our Legislature, meeting future Vandals at our annual downtown Boise recruiting event, and recognizing our great alumni... Read
Making Things Happen with Our New Research Facility 2017/02/03 Dear Friends, This week, research and scholarship at UI took a leap forward with the opening of the Integrated Research and Innovation Center (IRIC). Idaho’s research leader now has a world-class center for interdisciplinary research and discovery in the heart... Read
Opportunities for Women's Leadership 2017/02/10 February 10, 2017 Dear Friends, The University of Idaho is committed to strengthening our culture of opportunity. In March, Mary Beth will join Noel Schultz, professor of electrical engineering and first lady at neighboring Washington State University, and a number... Read
Sharing Our Stories During Black History Month 2017/02/17 February 17, 2017 Dear Friends, This past Wednesday, College of Law alumnus Reginald Reeves shared his perspective on the contributions of African-Americans and on philanthropy. Reeves, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, is the recipient of the Outstanding... Read
Our Reinvigorated Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival 2017/02/24 Our Reinvigorated Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival February 24, 2017 Dear Friends, This year marks the 50th anniversary of our nationally recognized Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. As we bring the festival back within our School of Music, we’ve made some changes... Read
Our Expanded WUE Program 2017/03/03 March 3, 2017 Dear Friends, The Northwest is a special place to live, work and learn, not the least because of an abundance of great options for higher education. A great experience that positions students for lifelong success doesn’t stop... Read
Our New Medical Sciences Degree 2017/03/10 Friday Letter March 10, 2017 Dear Friends, Health care is an important part of our lives and our economy. The University of Idaho is doing its part to train more physicians and prepare students for a wide variety of health-sector... Read
Not a Typical Spring Break 2017/03/17 The Friday Letter March 17, 2017 Dear Friends, It’s spring break at the University of Idaho. For many Vandals, that’s an opportunity to serve their communities. The Alternative Service Break program at UI finds students involved in important projects that... Read
Our New First-Year Law Program in Boise 2017/03/24 The Friday Letter March 24, 2017 Dear Friends, For generations, the University of Idaho has offered a law degree that opens doors to a fulfilling career. Now, students looking to build their future through the best legal education in Idaho... Read
Investing in a UI Computer Science Degree 2017/03/31 March 31, 2017 Dear Friends, A strong component of UI’s service to Idaho is preparing students for good jobs that anchor great lives. In North Idaho, that mission goes hand-in-hand with supporting economic development. Recognizing an opportunity to support this... Read
Celebrating Scholarship Impact at UI 2017/04/07 April 7, 2017 Dear Friends, Today I have the special opportunity to join students and University of Idaho scholarship donors at our Celebration of Scholarships, an annual event that brings students together with the donors who support their scholarships. Private... Read
Public Investments in Excellence this Legislative Season 2017/04/14 April 14, 2017 Dear Friends, As the state’s leading public research university, the University of Idaho benefits from robust investment by our state. This spring we are pleased with the investments Gov. Otter and the Idaho Legislature have made in... Read
Update 2017/04/17 April 14, 2017 Dear Friends, Many of you may be aware of an explosion that occurred late Thursday on our Moscow campus. I want to be sure you know about the incident and how we are responding.   At 9:52... Read
Faculty and Staff Drive UI Excellence 2017/04/21 April 21, 2017 Dear Friends, The academic and program excellence at the University of Idaho is driven by our outstanding faculty and staff. These dedicated professionals are the primary reason UI delivers a transformative educational experience. They are the key... Read
Engineering a Great Future with Hands-on Learning 2017/04/28 April 28, 2017 Dear Friends, A couple weeks ago I visited our Clean Snowmobile Team in their shop. This unique student group based in our College of Engineering recently returned from the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.... Read
These Vandals Exemplify Excellence 2017/05/05 May 5, 2017 Dear Friends, As we head toward the conclusion of our academic year, and for some students the conclusion of their University of Idaho career, I want to highlight the excellence of our students. This letter can’t capture... Read
Celebrating Our Vandal Graduates 2017/05/12 Friday Letter May 12, 2017 Dear Friends, One of the great privileges of being president is getting to connect with our students. At UI commencements across the state this spring, I have had the chance to congratulate our talented and... Read
Kicking Off a New Year at the University of Idaho 2017/08/18 The Friday Letter August 18, 2017 Dear Friends, Yesterday we welcomed new and returning Vandals at Convocation. David Vobora — former NFL linebacker, Vandal football great, and College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences alumnus — gave an inspirational address.... Read
Strategic Goals for 2017-2018 2017/08/25 August 25, 2017 Dear Friends, Another great year is underway at the University of Idaho. Our state’s national research university is poised to deliver on the ambitious Strategic Plan goals we laid out last year. A united effort from students,... Read
A Culture of Safety at UI 2017/09/01 The Friday Letter Sept. 1, 2017 Dear Friends, This year, like most years, I joined faculty and staff in helping students and families move in to the residence halls in Moscow. For any parent, it’s a time filled with excitement... Read
Going for the Gold 2017/09/08 September 8, 2017 Dear Friends, This weekend we have the special opportunity to honor a Vandal great. A three-time Olympic gold medalist comes back to Moscow Saturday as we dedicate the Kristin Armstrong Paradise Path. This new name for a... Read
UI Stands Out in Rankings 2017/09/15 September 15, 2017 Dear Friends, Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions a person can make. We try to offer the best information possible about our institution’s combination of academic quality, affordability and unique opportunities. We think... Read
Apply Idaho, a Great Next Step for Idaho's "Go-On" Campaign 2017/09/22 September 22, 2017 Dear Friends, For the past several years the University of Idaho has worked closely with the Idaho State Board of Education to remake the way our state’s students “go on” from high school to college. Idaho’s low... Read
100 Years in "Vandal" Country 2017/09/29 September 29, 2017 Dear Friends, Did you know that there are more than 4,000 four-year institutions of higher education in the United States? Among that array of colleges and universities are 76 who call themselves Eagles, the most common nickname.... Read
Coming Home to Agriculture at UI 2017/10/06 October 6, 2017 Dear Friends, In the spring of 1892, the president of Idaho's then three-year-old land-grant university needed faculty members. Classes hadn’t yet started. Thanks to the Hatch Act, though, a dairy was up and running on campus, part... Read
A Century of Natural Resources Excellence 2017/10/13 October 13, 2017 Dear Friends, This year marks the 100th anniversary of our College of Natural Resources (CNR). The anniversary is an opportunity to take pride in 100 years of excellence in education, research and statewide outreach. But while we... Read
Important Public Conversations at U of I 2017/10/20 Oct. 20, 2017 Dear Friends, The University of Idaho, as a public university, is dedicated to serving and strengthening our shared discourse. That commitment takes many forms and directions, offering many opportunities for engagement and enrichment. It has been an... Read
Enrollment Increases Again at U of I 2017/10/27 The Friday Letter Oct. 27, 2017 Dear Friends, How do we, as a society, help put people on a path to success in a competitive world? How do build a more vibrant economy and healthier communities? The University of Idaho... Read