The Friday Letter Archive

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


Collections A-Z

Friday Letter 2015-05-15:
Our Graduates at the Finish Line

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 Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.

FRIDAY LETTER: Our Graduates at the Finish Line 
Dear Friends,

This weekend in Moscow, we come together to celebrate the success of our Vandal graduates. Statewide this spring, more than 1,500 students have officially become degree-bearing University of Idaho alumni. They represent the many excellent academic programs at UI, earning baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral, law and specialist degrees. These outstanding students have run a long race, and our entire university community can be proud of them for reaching the finish line.

I’m thrilled that these Vandals chose our leading, national research university to prepare them for the rest of their lives. Students will take the problem-solving, critical thinking and technical skills they’ve honed here to strengthen their chosen professions and help move our nation and world forward. Just as importantly, Vandal graduates have practiced the values of citizenship and service that will provide personal enrichment and enable valuable contributions to communities near and far. That experience will pay off — Vandals experience personal and professional success that compares favorably with some of the best institutions in our region and our country.

I am proud that our institution is in a position to facilitate that success. Throughout the course of their time here, our talented faculty and staff have offered students unique opportunities, personal mentoring and dynamic instruction to prepare them for a 21st-century workforce in a global economy. And graduates have taken advantage, overcoming challenges and exercising great personal initiative to make the most of their time as a student. (You can read some of their inspiring stories here.)

Education is not a one-way street; students are not empty vessels receiving revealed wisdom. Education is a partnership. The university has been enriched by the boundless creativity and energy of our students. I can’t wait to see what these students do once their tassels have been turned to the other side of their mortar boards.

In life, though, the finish line has a way of moving back. As the term “commencement” suggests, this is the end of formal education, but really just the beginning for our students. They walk across the stage into an exciting future that is theirs to shape. Our graduates can be confident that they have the support of an energized and supportive Vandal family, and an institution that is proud to call them its alumni. As they receive their well-earned diplomas, they have new races to run, but I know that they will find success in each step on that path.

Chuck Staben portrait

Go Vandals!

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

Senior Graduation Gifts Support UI Students
When it came time to prepare for graduation, Kelsey Stanaway had one extra item on her to-do list: make a donation of $20.15 to the University of Idaho. Every year seniors are asked to make a gift that reflects their graduation year to an area on campus that is important to them. Stanaway’s gift to the Martin Institute for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution will help ensure students in the International Studies program have the same opportunities she had. She is involved in the International Affairs Club, helped plan the Borah Symposium and is a member of the Distinction of International Service Award committee. Kelsey also worked as a Vandal Connect Caller for a year and a half, before being promoted to supervisor six months ago. She knows the importance of supporting the University of Idaho and its students. For more information about making a Senior Class Gift, please contact Marie Duncan at 208-885-5205 or
Professor Receives Fulbright Scholar Award
John C. Crepeau, professor and out-going chair of the UI mechanical engineering department, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture and conduct research at Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Crepeau will spend six months — September 2015 through March 2016 — in Ecuador teaching a course in fluid mechanics on the topic of turbulence, in Spanish. He will also serve as a visiting researcher on a team studying how additives change the properties of fluids to optimize engineering systems in order to make them more efficient. As part of the program Crepeau will have the opportunity to travel throughout Ecuador visiting other universities to discuss his teaching, research and the University of Idaho as a Fulbright ambassador. “This is a unique opportunity for an engineer,” Crepeau said. “We tend to get focused in our discipline. But as an engineer it is very important to me to understand how different parts of the world go about solving problems.”
UI Research Reveals Pattern in Earth’s Copper Deposits
About 75 percent of the world’s copper comes from porphyry copper deposits. A new study from the University of Idaho and the University of Michigan unearths how these economically valuable deposits are distributed around the world. The research, published in Nature Geosciences online, indicates that climate helps drive the erosion process that exposes porphyry copper deposits, as well as helps determine where on Earth the deposits form. The study was conducted by Brian Yanites, an assistant professor in the UI Department of Geological Sciences, and Stephen Kesler, an emeritus professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Michigan. “This is the first time that we’ve found a connection between geomorphology and economic geology,” Yanites says. “It’s exciting to think that erosion and the building of our mountain landscapes influences where society gets its resources from, and it’s another line of evidence of the importance of climate in the shape of the landscape.”

University of Idaho · 875 Perimeter Drive · Moscow, ID 83844 · USA