The Friday Letter Archive

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


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Friday Letter 2015-04-03

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 Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.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,
Our university is a leader in many areas: teaching and learning, research, and community outreach. In addition, we play another important role, as a facilitator for dialogue about important issues facing our world. Several upcoming forums serve as great examples of our commitment to serving and strengthening the public discourse.
I’d like to invite you to join the conversation at the upcoming Borah Symposium, held in Moscow April 6-8. The Borah Foundation, supported by the Martin Institute, has put together a stimulating program on “Troubled Borders: Sovereignty, War, Disease and Refugees.” Many highly regarded experts on public policy in these areas will present a range of ideas over the three days.
I’m looking forward to engaging presentations on healthcare and refugees in Idaho, climate change issues, global medical emergencies, and more. And I’m happy to welcome to campus the many participants from far and wide, including James Hill, the consul general of Canada in Seattle, and Guillermo Ordorica, the consul of Mexico in Boise, who will serve as panelists. The Borah Symposium concludes with a keynote address by scholar and author Dr. Thomas Barnett. I suspect that Senator William Borah, the “Lion of Idaho,” would be impressed with the breadth and depth of this year’s symposium.
We had also been anticipating the annual Sherman J. Bellwood Lecture, a signature event in the College of Law that provides opportunities for students and the community to engage with leading minds in the justice system. Originally slated for next week, we unfortunately have had to postpone the event until a later date due to a health-related conflict. I wish Juan Guzmán — the much-admired, Chilean former justice who had planned to present at the lecture — all the best for a speedy recovery.
A wide array of other public events take place throughout the year at UI, including the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, the annual Hemingway Festival, the McClure Center lectures and many more. And just as you don’t need to be a jazz musician to appreciate the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, you don’t need to be a lawyer to enjoy the Bellwood lectures, or be an international relations expert to gain insight and perspective from the Borah Symposium. These events are about people coming together, bringing their own interests and experiences, to learn about topics that affect us all. They are about an engaged and informed citizenry exercising fundamental virtues — learning, discussing and applying new ideas and information.
We are Idaho’s leading national research university, and the hard work of many faculty, staff, students and volunteers means that we are also a leader in shaping the discourse in our state. These are much-needed discussions about our shared history, contemporary concerns and future vision. I hope you’ll join us at these upcoming events, and participate in the conversation that makes us, for all our differences, a more united and a more educated citizenry.

Chuck Staben portrait

Go Vandals!

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

Endowment Gift Supports Chemistry & Geology Students
Dennis Reece ’73, ’75, ’77 of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, recently made a $35,000 gift to establish the Dennis Reece Chemistry and Geology Scholarship Endowment, which will be used to support deserving students in those programs. “The University of Idaho provided me with the opportunity for an excellent education at a very reasonable price,” said Reece. “It is my pleasure to help, in a small way, the university to continue providing such valuable opportunities to future students.” Reece earned his Bachelor of Science in chemistry and master’s degrees in both chemistry and hydrology at the University of Idaho. He has had a long career with major consulting, engineering and construction services companies, working primarily from the Gulf Coast of the United States as a vice president, project manager or technical lead. For more information about giving to the College of Science, contact Eric Bennett at 208-885-9106 or
Baird Elected Board Chair for Orbis Cascade Alliance 
University of Idaho’s dean of libraries, Lynn Baird, has been elected the board chairwoman for Orbis Cascade Alliance, a nonprofit consortium of 37 colleges and university libraries in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Baird is the first chairperson to represent Idaho. The Orbis Cascade Alliance’s mission is to enable member libraries to advance institutional missions through collaboration and innovation. “I am indeed honored to be selected by my colleagues to serve in this leadership role. Together, we are creating new library services for faculty and students in the Pacific Northwest, collaborating to innovate and innovating to transform,” Baird said. The alliance supports a number of services, including a next-generation Shared Integrated Library System; collaborative technical services program including shared e-book ownership; Summit, a system that allows students, faculty and staff to easily search and request library materials owned by member libraries; and Northwest Digital Archives, offering enhanced access to primary sources. These services simplify the research process and promote the success of students, faculty, staff and researchers.
Two UI Sophomores Selected as Goldwater Scholars
Two students from the University of Idaho have been selected to receive a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship through the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Idaho’s award recipients are Elyce N. Gosselin, a sophomore from Boise who is majoring in ecology and conservation biology and mathematics, and Benjamin Anzis, a sophomore from Marshalltown, Iowa, studying mathematics and computer science. “We are extremely proud of the national recognition our students receive. It is proof that we indeed have the next generation of leaders here on our campus,” said Kurt Pregitzer, dean of the College of Natural Resources. Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 86 Rhodes Scholarships, 123 Marshall Awards, 123 Churchill Scholarships and numerous other distinguished fellowships such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships. Since 2005, 12 students from UI have received Goldwater Scholarships.
Native American Law Conference a Success
The sixth annual Native American Law Conference took place at the College of Law courtroom in Moscow on Monday, March 30. Approximately 100 people attended, including undergraduate students, law students, attorneys, judges and government officials from across the nation. “The conference was phenomenal this year, with a wealth of information on Tribal Nations in the region providing land and water restoration efforts, wildlife recovery projects and best practices in stewardship of the natural world,” said Professor Angelique EagleWoman. “In the sixth year of the conference, this one truly stands out as one of the best.” Other topics of the day-long conference included protection of tribal cultural property, tribal perspectives on the legalization of marijuana and tribal stewardship. Native American Law Student Association members engaged with conference presenters and received encouragement from Chairman Silas Whitman of the Nez Perce Tribe. The Native American Law Conference is a signature event for the UI College of Law’s Native American Law program

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