The Friday Letter Archive

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


Collections A-Z

Friday Letter 2014-08-29

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 Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.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

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 show up a few minutes early to the first game, and you’ll play fine!

I know this is not the approach Coach Petrino is taking with the Vandals for tomorrow’s opening game against Florida — nor is it the approach we’d expect anyone who seeks success to take.

So how do students ensure victory in their college endeavors? Like athletes, they should plan, practice and review. When I was teaching biology courses, I shared this analogy with my students. Their exams were the games, their practice tests scrimmages, their homework and classes their daily workouts. All the elements had to be in line to succeed. The same process of preparation applies not just to athletics but also to any showcase of skill, whether a piano recital, an art show or a scientific experiment.

At Convocation last week, I extended this same analogy to our incoming class of University of Idaho students. We welcomed them to campus with events like SYNC (Serving Your New Community), Palousafest, and the Vandal Walk to help them feel at home and connect with other Vandals. But this week they dove into their primary role as students.

We set the bar high at the University of Idaho, to use another sports metaphor, but we will help students clear that bar. And we expect each student we admit to succeed.

Our faculty and staff are coaches who teach them the skills they need to face the challenges ahead.  Faculty and staff also provide the playbook to students so they aren’t walking onto the field without a plan. Students’ peers in their classes, clubs and living groups are teammates with whom they can practice and find inspiring camaraderie. Resources across campus – such as Academic Support and Access Services and the Counseling and Testing Center — are like trainers who can provide a bit of help to students when, or even before, they need it. 

And you — our alumni, the university’s many friends and our students’ family members — are the crowd cheering them on.

Walking across campus these first few days of the new academic year, I can feel the spirit of excitement among our “team,” and I’m excited for them. Students’ dedicated practice and performance during their years as University of Idaho students will pay off for them in life as they move up to the big leagues and become leaders and innovators in our state, nation and world.

As always at the University of Idaho – Go Vandals!

President Chuck Staben portrait


Chuck Staben

down arrow
Here's the Latest News from the University of Idaho

Lola Gamble Clyde: A Vandal Family Legacy The roots of Lola Gamble Clyde’s family tree are deeply entwined with the University of Idaho. After earning her education degree from the UI in 1927, Lola became a beloved teacher at a one-room schoolhouse in rural Latah County. The Vandal legacy grew as Lola’s children — Robert Clyde ’57, Isabel Bond ’54, Erlene Soulen ’53, and Mary Sullivan ’51 — as well as 14 grandchildren and multiple great-grandchildren all became U-Idaho alumni.

While many of the family members have individually donated to U-Idaho, the family recently banded together to memorialize Lola. Her grandchildren pledged $50,000 to establish the Lola Clyde Classroom as part of the College of Education building renovation project. The classroom will honor Idaho’s pioneer teachers who, like Lola, established the teaching profession in one-room schoolhouses.

For more information on creating your family legacy of giving at the University of Idaho, contact James Brownson, Director of Annual Giving, at (208) 885-5369 or

This email was sent to *|EMAIL|*
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences