The Friday Letter Archive

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


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Friday Letter 2013-11-22

Please note: this is an archived email message and may not display as originally intended. Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.

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 each of us heard the dreadful news from Dallas. The news reached me during lunch hour at Pocatello High School, where I was a student. In the days of mourning that followed in the nation’s capital, journalist Mary McGrory reportedly said to Assistant Secretary of Labor Pat Moynihan, "We'll never laugh again." Moynihan, who later became a U.S. senator, replied, "Mary, we'll laugh again, but we'll never be young again."
And yet … at the John F. Kennedy Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, an eternal flame reminds visitors of a young president’s enduring spirit. Inscribed at the memorial are words from the president’s inaugural address:

Let the word go forth
From this time and place
To friend and foe alike
That the torch has been passed
To a new generation of Americans.
We carry on.
For members of the University of Idaho community, a happier page of history was turned this week. The Board of Regents (State Board of Education) announced the appointment of Dr. Charles (“Chuck”) Staben, Ph.D. as our next university president, effective March 1, 2014. When President Staben’s administration begins, the university will be celebrating its 125th year of leadership in Idaho higher education. With hopeful anticipation of an ever-brightening future, my wife Karen and I warmly welcome Chuck and his spouse, Dr. Mary Beth Staben, M.D., to the Vandal family.
This is not the first time an interim president, with a background in law and the judiciary, has been accorded the honor of welcoming an incoming president. In 1892, the university’s first –- and first interim -- president, Judge James H. Forney, welcomed Franklin R. Gault as the inaugural permanent president of Idaho’s founding university. President Gault brought to his work a background in mathematics and school administration. In 2014, President-designate Staben will come to us from the University of South Dakota, and previously the University of Kentucky, with a professor’s record of achievement in science and a provost’s record of success in university administration. His glowing curriculum vita can be accessed here.
There is another noteworthy parallel. After a serving with distinction as the President of the University of Idaho, Dr. Gault went on to become president of … the University of South Dakota. Dr. Staben is now returning the favor by coming from South Dakota to Idaho, and is doing so with great enthusiasm. “I love what the University of Idaho has to offer,” he told a university audience this week. “I love the mountains; I love the West; I feel like this is home.”
I urge all Vandals –- indeed, all friends of higher education –- to join in extending a warm, Idaho-style “welcome to your new home” greeting to our newest family members: Chuck and Mary Beth Staben. They will enhance our legacy of leading.


Don Burnett
Interim President

Here's the Latest News from the University of Idaho
College of Education Earns National Accreditation. The College of Education received accreditation through Spring 2019 through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The educator preparation programs met or exceeded all accreditation standards with only one recommendation for improvement — increasing the diversity of K-12 students with which candidates interact. The rigorous NCATE accreditation certified the college in six areas: candidate knowledge, skills and professional dispositions; assessment system and unit evaluation; field experiences and clinic practices; diversity; faculty qualifications, performance and development; and unit governance and resources. Read more.

Report Details Idaho’s Hispanic Students’ Attitudes and Experiences. Hispanic students make up the fastest growing demographic group in Idaho’s education system, according to a report prepared by the University of Idaho in partnership with the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs. They have very high aspirations for continuing education beyond high school but face challenges in terms of achievement and understanding what’s involved in applying for college. The October report is the second in a series of “Idaho at a Glance” policy briefs on Hispanics and education in Idaho. Read more.

See more news and features.

Cook Up A Vandal Feast. Students in the University's Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences dietetics program again have created a series of recipes for Thanksgiving. See them here.
Loyal Vandals Give Wedding Gifts To Fuel Vandal Scholarship Fund. As an alumnus and long-time business partner with the University of Idaho, Chuck Christopher ’84 and his fiancée, Mindy Shepard, decided to infuse some Vandal pride into their wedding. On October 26, 2013, Chuck and Mindy were married at the Litehouse Center inside the Kibbie-ASUI Activity Center. In lieu of traditional gifts, the couple asked their guests to make a contribution to the Vandal Scholarship Fund. Donations are continuing to be made in honor of the newlywed couple. “We thank Chuck and Mindy for this creative and unique idea to give back to the University of Idaho” said University of Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear. “Congratulations and best wishes to Chuck and Mindy. We wish you both many years of happiness.” Chuck is the president of Advantage Advertising, Inc. Based in Lewiston, Idaho, Advantage Advertising has been the advertising agency for Vandal Athletics for over 20 years. For more information on giving to Vandal Athletics, contact Shelly Robson at (208) 651-7992 or