The Friday Letter Archive

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


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Friday Letter 2015-03-13

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 Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.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,
The groundhog may have seen his shadow, and it may technically still be winter for another week, but from where I sit, spring is in the air. That has me thinking ahead to enjoying the outdoors and getting to see more of this wonderful state — from the seat of a bicycle.

Biking has always been something that my family has enjoyed. It offers a rewarding fitness challenge, whether trying to make it up a challenging hill or riding for a full day in the summer heat. It’s also a great way to spend time with your thoughts, and to take in the scenery at a pace slow enough to really absorb the beauty around you.

Mary Beth and I have found Idaho the perfect place to get out on a bike. In Moscow we’ve taken advantage of the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail, uniting Moscow and Pullman. We’ve also explored the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, a short trek north of Moscow. And last summer we were thrilled to be joined by many Vandals in volunteering at Ironman Coeur d’Alene, which the university helped sponsor (and will sponsor again in 2015).

Last summer I also had the opportunity to participate in the Ride Idaho bike tour. Starting in Twin Falls, the tour went to the City of Rocks, to Sun Valley and back to Twin Falls. I rode the first three days, and was accompanied by Guillermo Odorica, head of the Mexican Consulate in Boise, and other UI leaders and alumni. We enjoyed the natural splendor of southern Idaho. Mile after mile, community after community, the Vandal impact was everywhere — in facilities, projects and people. The state of Idaho truly is our campus.

So for this year’s Ride Idaho event, what better way to see our campus — our state — than by bicycle, among fellow Vandals? This year’s route starts in Coeur d’Alene, home to one of UI’s statewide centers. A quick boat cruise on Lake Coeur d’Alene will have us start our journey by bike on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. We’ll ride east in the ensuing days, including a segment on the Hiawatha Trail. After a jaunt through western Montana, in North Idaho we’ll pass Moyie Springs, where UI partnered on the Kootenai Tribe’s new burbot aquaculture program, before heading south through Bonner’s Ferry and Sandpoint to close the loop at Coeur d’Alene.
This year, I’m hoping many of our University of Idaho alumni and friends can join us for Ride Idaho. Bike trips like this are opportunities for camaraderie. I have many fond memories of last year’s event, meeting new people and renewing friendships both on and off the bike seat. Last year our rendition of the Vandal Fight Song won “Dead Last” in the Ride Idaho talent contest, and the trophy sits on my shelf. This year I’m hoping that we get a few more folks together and make a better showing!

Registration is now open, and if you’re able to make the trip, the university will provide free University of Idaho riding jerseys and hats to UI-affiliated participants. This is a fun way to make a strong statement that North Idaho is truly Vandal country. Check out the Ride Idaho website, and contact our Office of Alumni Relations for more details about the jersey and UI participation. I look forward to exploring Vandal country together.

Chuck Staben portrait

Go Vandals!

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

Alumni Offer “Strong” Support for College of Education
Even after Gary Strong ’66 graduated from the University of Idaho, he and his wife, Carolyn, returned to the Palouse every summer until they retired and permanently made it their home in 2013. Their commitment to the university motivated them to give to UI for more than 21 years. “As Carolyn and I reflected on where we might invest in the future, the University of Idaho was always part of the plan,” Gary said. Recently, the Strongs donated $30,000 to the Education Building Renovation Project for the Gary E. Strong Curriculum Center. The couple has also included the university in their estate plans. “Our gift will fund a permanent scholarship for students in the College of Education, as well as provide an endowment for the library to continue to develop its collections and services,” Gary said. For more information on supporting the College of Education, please contact Marta McClintock, director of development, at 208-885-7476 or
Grand Opening of Upgraded Barker Trading Program
University of Idaho students, alumni, leaders, donors and friends gathered on Monday, March 9, to celebrate the enhanced and expanded Barker Capital Management and Trading Program. The new U.S. Bank Trading Floor features 22 trading stations, 55-inch flat-screen monitors, a Bloomberg terminal for real-time market analysis, and other platforms for trading derivatives, stocks and other assets. A 20-foot ticker display also was added to the J.A. Albertson Building. The Rotchy Barker family and U.S. Bank provided major funding for the project. The grand opening also celebrated expanded opportunities for students to learn about commodity trading and risk management through a new partnership with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. The program is supported through generous support from the CHS Foundation, CoBank and many individuals. “The new facilities and program opportunities we launched this week will be a tremendous asset for UI students. In the CBE, our students learn business by doing business,” said Mario Reyes, dean of the College of Business and Economics (CBE). “We’re deeply grateful for the support that made this investment in student success possible.”
Registration Open for Inspiring Design Futures Symposium
The UI College of Art and Architecture’s annual daylong symposium, Inspiring Design Futures, returns Thursday, March 26, for its third consecutive year. The event celebrates the college’s alumni sharing their inspiring journeys, professional achievements and community contributions with the university community and the public. Inspiring Design Futures is free and open to the public. The daylong event opens at 9 a.m. in the Bruce M. Pitman Center. Student storytelling, called Futcha Kucha, and a catered reception will follow the symposium from 4-6 p.m. in the Vandal Ballroom. “Inspiring Design Futures is a true homecoming for our alumni,” said Mark Hoversten, dean of the College of Art and Architecture. “There is really no other place that captures the imagination of our student body while celebrating the success of talented alumni. The energy between past and current students is palpable — and truly inspiring for anyone interested in the power of design and its impact on us as a society.”

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