The Friday Letter Archive

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


Collections A-Z

Friday Letter 2014-10-10

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 Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.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,
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 time, and our beautiful campus makes quite an impression. Students have a chance to picture themselves hustling to class under the trees on the Admin Lawn, watching a football game in the Kibbie Dome, and forming enduring friendships in an ideal college town.
I suspect many students are excited to take the next step toward their future, but aren’t yet picturing the impact an engaged, supportive faculty and staff will have on their lives. But at the University of Idaho, new students join a special community of professionals who are driven to help transform lives.
In my own professional journey, I was fortunate to be mentored as an undergraduate by Dr. Richard Gumport, who as fate would have it actually grew up the son of a southern Idaho potato farmer. Dr. Gumport taught me much about being a scientist, challenging me to solve my own problems in research and to think seriously about discovering new knowledge, not just absorbing what is already known.
Those lessons, brought forward with humor and warmth, helped me transition from unsure undergraduate to a professional scientist and eventually a university leader, privileged to stand on a stage in front of the next generation of successful young men and women.
Experiences like my own abound at UI. As just one example, the dedicated faculty in the College of Engineering, including faculty advisor Dan Cordon, helped steer student efforts that saw the Vandal Formula Hybrid Racing Team take the checkered flag against other national research universities in the 2014 Formula Hybrid Competition.
Across disciplines, and not just in established programs but also in one-to-one relationships, our faculty connect with students to make a difference.
Those academic experiences are only possible because of a campus environment that nurtures and supports students. No one exemplifies this mission more than retiring Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Bruce Pitman. For 41 years Dean Pitman has been on the front lines for our students, armed with compassion, patience and wisdom. Whether he is pitching in on an Alternative Service Break project — a program he helped develop — or being the point person for any number of the crises that can emerge at a sprawling institution like ours, he has made a lasting impact on generations of Vandal students.
The examples could go on and on, in individual classrooms, through laboratory research, or at an instructor’s office hours. In ways small and large, our people are there for our students.
Next year’s freshmen certainly do have a lot to look forward to. Imagine: 20 or 30 years from now, what professor or staff member will each student remember? Embarked on their own path, what will today’s students have done to encourage the next generation of leaders to look at things differently, to strive for new opportunities and to achieve things they might not have believed possible?
Thanks to engaged teachers and dedicated leaders like Bruce Pitman, epitomizing the culture of caring at UI, we have every reason to expect great things from tomorrow’s Vandals.

Chuck Staben portrait


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

Bruce Pitman Retirement Celebration
On Friday, Oct. 17, we celebrate the career of Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Bruce Pitman, who is retiring after 41 years of service. The celebration will be located in the SprinTurf tent on the east end of the Kibbie Dome. The event takes place from 4:30 to 7:30, with a program starting at 6 p.m. We invite you to reserve your seat online and join us. Share your memories — how has Dean Pitman left an impression on your life, career and Vandal experience? 
Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival Announces 2015 Artist Lineup
The University of Idaho Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival will celebrate its 48th year with a dynamic lineup of nationally acclaimed artists and jazz professionals in Moscow, Idaho, Feb. 25 through Feb. 28, 2015. The lineup includes Grammy-nominated vibraphonist Stefon Harris; charismatic saxophonist Grace Kelly; the U.S. Air Force’s premier jazz ensemble, Airmen of Note; and four-time Grammy Award recipient Dianne Reeves, among many others. “This year’s festival lineup is showing off the myriad styles of jazz music,” said Steve Remington, festival executive director. “We’re bringing in artists that represent a broader range of diversity in jazz – the shows will be lively, and audiences will have a ball.” Call 208-885-5900 or visit online for the most up-to-date festival information.
Forest Products Industry Invests in Reveley Nursery Facility 
The College of Natural Resources dedicated the Tom and Teita Reveley Nursery Facility at the Franklin H. Pitkin Forest Nursery on September 12. Built to support research, teaching and operations, the facility also serves as a model for industry partnerships. More than 10 partners provided expertise about today’s Idaho forest products and donated more than $100,000 in materials for the facility’s construction. The entirely wood building features products from Boise Cascade, Potlatch Inc., Tri-Pro Forest Products, Stimson Lumber, Idaho Forest Group, Bennett Lumber Products Inc., Idaho Veneer Co., Plummer Forest Products and Reggear Tree Farms. In addition, many other organizations supported the project, including the Idaho Forest Products Commission and Associated Logging Contractors Inc. The building features energy efficient and modern building techniques that show students what can be done with Idaho forest products. For more information about supporting the College of Natural Resources, contact Steve Hacker at 208-885-7400 or

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