The Friday Letter Archive

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


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Friday Letter 2015-01-15

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 Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.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,
This has been a difficult week in Moscow. We mourn the tragic loss of members of our community and our Vandal family. I know the thoughts of Vandals everywhere — in Moscow and beyond — have been with the families and friends of those we’ve lost.
The victims of last weekend’s tragedy were deeply involved members of the Moscow community, and our town and our institution will surely suffer for their absence. The many expressions of sympathy this week attest to their characters — their passion, their service to others, their long roots in this shared home of ours.
The outpouring of care and concern testifies to what unites us as people, as Vandals. These wounds will never fully heal, but we take on the challenge together, as always.  Moscow is a special community, and it is a safe community. In time, I know that we will emerge stronger and more resilient.
This weekend we join with others across Idaho and the nation to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. The civil rights leader helped build a more just society, and his message of peace is a lasting legacy for all times. I find this quote powerful: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Let’s rely on each other, and offer love and support for one another in this trying time.

At the University of Idaho, the ASUI Center for Volunteerism and Social Action organizes the participation of students, faculty and staff around the holiday we know in Idaho as Martin Luther King Jr. — Idaho Human Rights Day. The National Day of Service seeks to answer the call brought forth by Reverend King, who said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”
Each year, Vandals answer that question with projects that make a difference for those in need in communities across Moscow and all of Idaho. As part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, the Volunteer Center will coordinate the efforts of nearly 100 student volunteers — many just back from participating in Alternative Service Breaks — to pitch in at nonprofits across the community. In addition, the Office of Multicultural Affairs is leading a food drive for the Vandal Food Pantry to help families in need.
That service is an example of the difference we can make for others — really, for each other. Serving others is not always the easy thing. But it is the right thing, and it leads to lasting effects. I am proud of the work that the university community does for others around this special weekend.
And I am so proud of how we have come together this week to support those who are hurting. Let us continue to take care of each other, taking heart and comfort through the strength and service of our Vandal and Moscow family.

Chuck Staben portrait

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

Supporting Silver and Gold Scholarships
Scott ’81 and Maribeth Marboe understand the true meaning of giving back. Five generations of Marboes have graduated from UI, and three generations have donned the silver and gold in athletics; most recently Scott and Maribeth’s son Mike started at center for the Vandal football team the past four years. Scott currently serves on the VSF National Board, and he and Maribeth have been members of the Vandal Scholarship Fund for a number of years.
“We are proud to do our part now and in the future to help provide student athletes with a quality education that comes from the University of Idaho, and we hope others will do the same,” Scott said.
As a former student athlete, and with appreciation for the valuable education he received, Scott is joined by Maribeth in helping create a lifetime of memories for current and future students by investing in student athletes through the Vandal Scholarship Fund, where memberships become scholarships. For more information on giving to the VSF, contact Shelly Robson at 208-651-7992 or
UI Researchers Form Ebola Working Group
In response to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in western Africa, researchers at the University of Idaho have formed the Ebola Working Group to create tools to help track and treat the disease — and potentially other viruses. The group, a subset of the university’s newly formed Collaboratorium for Modeling Complex Problems, is tackling two projects designed to better understand Ebola and how it spreads. The first uses computer models to determine the implications of ongoing and possible future evolution in Ebola. The working group’s second project also uses computer models — this time, to track how social, cultural and geographic factors affect the way Ebola spreads.  In addition to providing long-term tools to help groups like the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fight Ebola, the Ebola Working Group expects their research to provide techniques that will apply to other diseases. 
Work Begins on New Law Center
The University of Idaho College of Law is happy to announce that renovations are expected to begin this month on the new Idaho Law and Justice Learning Center, formerly the old Ada County Courthouse, in Boise. The College plans to move its Boise-based law students to the new center in time for fall semester 2015.
The UI College of Law is based in Moscow, but offers a Boise option for second- and third-year law students. Currently, these students take classes in the UI Water Center on Front Street. The new Idaho Law and Justice Learning Center will house the College of Law, the Idaho Supreme Court Library and other Supreme Court offices, and it will provide space for civic education for the general public.

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