The Friday Letter Archive

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


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Friday Letter 2015-04-24

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Dear Friends,

As we approach the end of another great academic year, it’s worth reflecting on the excellence achieved by our Vandal students. Our first priority, after all, is facilitating student success. Though we celebrate each student’s graduation or achievement, some of our students have received national recognition for their efforts. In this letter, I would like to specifically recognize several recent winners of prestigious national scholarships.

This year, again, the best and brightest from across the region made the University of Idaho their choice to pursue their dreams, as 23 new freshman National Merit Scholars enrolled at our state’s leading national research university. They joined a cohort that matches last year’s school record of 76 total National Merit Scholars. Earning a National Merit Scholarship is a rigorous process. We can be proud these students have chosen our university to prepare them for career and life success.

Many Vandals have been honored with national scholarships this year. Recently, Benjamin Anzis, a sophomore from Marshalltown, Iowa, and Elyce Gosselin, a sophomore from Boise, received prestigious Goldwater Scholarships, supporting research careers in science, mathematics and engineering. Since 2005, 12 Vandal students have received this award. This year’s winners are already contributing to the discovery and application of knowledge in new and exciting ways, and I congratulate them on having their success recognized.
textPictured: Left- Benjamin Anzis, Right - Elyce Gosselin

Other students are contributing to UI’s global impact as recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, given by the U.S. Department of State. These competitive scholarships — only 800 are awarded nationwide — allow students the opportunity to study and intern abroad with financial support. Our two students, Marley Monroe and William Humble, studying psychology and civil engineering, respectively, will be exposed to enriching academic, social and cultural experiences, and they’ll return to UI able to share that information and understanding.

I congratulate the University Honors Program at UI for facilitating many of these scholarships. The Honors Program offers a stimulating academic experience and the advantages of an enhanced learning community to approximately 500 students from all colleges and undergraduate majors. The Honors Program provides enriching classes; a motivated, challenging and scholarly peer group; and mentoring for getting involved in undergraduate research, leadership development, volunteerism and personal development. In addition, we have recently added specific staff support to further mentor students toward prestigious national awards.

Undoubtedly, I’ve failed to mention some outstanding students, programs and accolades. That’s a testament to the abundant talent and initiative of students across disciplines at UI. I also want to make it clear: We value the achievement of all students at UI. There are many contributions to the classroom environment, to student organizations, to valuable programs and to the community that aren’t always measured with awards. But I know that Vandals across our campus — across the state of Idaho, that is — are embracing achievement in many ways, and preparing well for rich and full lives within their professions, their communities and their families.

Chuck Staben portrait

Go Vandals!

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

Alumni Pledge Supports Engineering thinkTank
Sheila Janssen-Klages ’53 and Karl W. Klages ’52 continue their legacy of giving to the College of Engineering through a second $25,000 pledge supporting the John C. Wahl thinkTANK, a popular “one stop shop” for academic success in the Janssen Engineering Building. The newest improvement includes updating the building’s entrances to match the thinkTANK’s Venturi curved glass elements. These modernized entries will have a technical interface of touchscreens, kiosks, projectors and interactive displays allowing visitors to access historical data, as well as career and scholarship information. Sheila, who graduated summa cum laude in journalism, is the daughter of Allen S. Janssen, dean of the College of Engineering from 1946-1967. Her husband, Karl, graduated with a degree in communications. In addition to the thinkTANK, the couple supports the Allen S. Janssen Engineering Scholarship Endowment established in 1972. For more information about giving to the College of Engineering, contact Mary Lee Ryba at 208-885-6774 or
College of Business and Economics Maintains Accreditation
The University of Idaho’s College of Business and Economics (CBE) has maintained its business and accounting accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). Founded in 1916, AACSB International is the longest serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees in business and accounting. The accreditation extension goes through 2020. AACSB Accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education and has been earned by fewer than five percent of the world's business programs. Today, there are 727 business schools in 48 countries that have earned AACSB accreditation, and only 182 institutions that hold an additional AACSB accreditation for their accounting programs. This is an elite distinction considering there are over 13,000 schools offering business degrees worldwide. “We are honored that AACSB commended our Integrated Business Curriculum (IBC) and hands-on learning programs,” said CBE Dean Mario Reyes.
Two UI Theatre Students Win National Awards
Two University of Idaho Theatre Arts students received national awards at the Kennedy Center American College Festival in Washington, D.C., on April 18. Kadin McGreevy of Moscow won first place in directing, receiving the Stage Directing and Choreographers National Directing Fellowship, a $500 cash prize and a residency, yet to be determined. (He shares the award with Hannah Grace Bellows, Western Connecticut State University.) Courtney Smith of Ferndale, Washington, and a master’s candidate in scene design and technology, took home second place in The Kennedy Center Award for Excellence in Scenic Design. “The ability for our students to represent their UI training on the national stage and gain more knowledge and connections is the perfect place to be as a department,” said Dean Panttaja, chair of UI Theatre Arts. “We revel in their success and accomplishments. We are proud for them.”

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