The Friday Letter Archive

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


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Friday Letter 2014-06-06

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 Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.

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 forests around the world.  Faculty members also revamp their courses over the summer. The overhaul of our introductory science laboratories, thanks to a $1.2 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to Professor Trish Hartzell, is a great example.

Of course our students will travel abroad, take classes, or hold summer jobs and internships around Idaho and across the world. In the meantime, staff members are working hard to wrap up projects, like the fiscal year end, while supporting summer activities, and preparing for the fall term start up.

Our facilities crew will be working on two major projects and many smaller ones, including one that may have special interest for generations of students. Our College of Education building, originally built in 1968, will be stripped to the studs for a complete renovation, funded in part by the generosity of donors. It will reopen in 2016. 

We also plan to open the new Integrated Research Innovation Center Building in 2016. It will provide 45,000 square feet of interdisciplinary research space. We’ll also renovate the largest lecture hall on campus — Life Sciences 277 — where many of you may have spent some time. We plan to post pictures of the graffiti that has accumulated over the last 46 years; you will be able to look for your own “mark” on a website in the future.

My first summer as president will be busy too. I am sure that I will see many Friday Letter readers as I travel across the state: UI employees, students, and alumni as well as community, political, and business leaders. I look forward to meeting more Vandals and friends as I continue to listen and learn across the state.

More specifically, I’m seeking input into the processes and partnerships that help make the University of Idaho a success. I want to hear from others about what they know and what they see for the future of this university. If I don’t get to visit you this summer, I’d still like to hear from you. Please share your thoughts about priorities and improvements here.

Starting in June, I’ll tour the old Ada County Courthouse with state legislators.  This building is slated to become the new home for the Boise branch of our College of Law; next I’ll head to the Aquaculture Research Institute in Hagerman.  I’ll also visit extension and research centers, dairies, and ranches in southern Idaho, including the Taylor Wilderness Research Station. I’ll spend some time in the Twin Falls and Idaho Falls areas before heading north to visit Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint.

In early August, I’ll return to the Magic Valley to join a portion of the 400-mile “Ride Idaho” event where I’ll bike across some of the most beautiful country in the state.  I'll be sporting Vandal gear while riding with Guillermo Ordorica, the new Mexican consul in Boise, who plans to join me in this adventure. I hope some of you will also join us.

Summer won’t be all travel; however, the University community will plunge into recruiting students with the help of a new enrollment management consulting director, and we will finalize our plan to bolster distance education efforts. Sprinkle in some research development activities, some fundraising, and the normal rhythm of serving as president and it is a pretty good recipe for a productive and educational summer.

In a sense, I am like any freshman — enjoying the new opportunities and challenges of coming to the University.

Have a great summer, and I hope that our paths will cross soon!

President Chuck Staben portrait


Chuck Staben

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