The Friday Letter Archive

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


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Friday Letter 2014-08-22

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 Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.

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 Samoa) and 71 foreign countries — and more than 2,400 faculty and staff make final preparations for the start of the 2014-15 Academic Year on Monday.

There’s a symbolic rebirth each year as the faculty and staff welcome back our students. We all come together to dedicate a new year to learning and growth with the ultimate aim of helping students find fulfilling careers and lead better lives. More than 80 new faculty members will join in that welcome as they enter a university community committed to the future. That commitment is realized through our research, outreach, and instruction — with daily opportunities for our students to engage in this important work.

Although the start of a new academic year may be most obvious in Moscow, students and faculty also return to our centers in Coeur d’Alene, Boise, and Idaho Falls. And, as I have described in past letters, our activities never really stop, with very active research on the Moscow campus and at dozens of statewide research sites and stations operating on a 12-month calendar.

Here in Moscow, students have been moving into residence halls, Greek houses, and apartments. The air is filled with marching tunes as the Sound of Idaho marching band practices. Athletes toil in the heat while other students relax in the shade. Meanwhile, excited freshmen and transfer students learn their way around campus.

Today, we’ll formally launch the academic year with the traditional convocation ceremony that invites the community to come together in anticipation of the work of discovery and learning that lies ahead.

This year, our keynote speaker is actor Sean Astin of Lord of the Rings fame (some may also remember his mother, Patty Duke Astin from The Patty Duke Show of my childhood). You are welcome to join us in the Kibbie Dome or via webcast at beginning at 8:30 a.m. (Pacific Time). Campus-wide events will follow as students connect with new friends and classmates as well as faculty, staff, and community members in club, intramural, and other group events.

In truth, I am as excited as many of our students, since today begins my first full academic year! Yesterday, Mary Beth and I helped some families move their students in. I’ve also met with student government, Faculty Senate, and Staff Council leaders to make plans for working together this year. My first six months at Idaho have been very informative; you will hear me speak many times about what we can all do to make our extraordinary university even better. Please continue to share your ideas with me.

The fall schedule will be full, but also offers many opportunities for fun. Mary Beth and I are looking forward to seeing many of you at football games and campus events, or perhaps on the bike trail. We are excited about being part of the Vandal experience that so many of you treasure.

I applaud our new students and faculty for joining the Vandal community. At Convocation and throughout the year, I will encourage students to take advantage of the many opportunities for personal growth and learning available to them. Study hard. Play smart. Stay healthy. Let’s prepare for an exciting future!

President Chuck Staben portrait


Chuck Staben

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