The Friday Letter Archive

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Friday Letter 2016-01-27:
Higher Education Week

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Jan. 27, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
This week Vandals converged on our state Capitol for “Higher Education Week.” It’s a time for sharing the University of Idaho story with our Legislature, meeting future Vandals at our annual downtown Boise recruiting event, and recognizing our great alumni at the Ada County Silver and Gold Awards celebration.
 
I was proud to explain UI’s progress with members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee and the Senate and House education committees. I reminded them that the University of Idaho continues to be an outstanding investment, a public higher education experience that brings return on investment many times over in the lives of students, in research that propels our economy and in engagement that touches every community in Idaho. We have made great progress in enrolling more students and in conducting research of unmatched quality and scale in our state.
 
For the coming year, our priorities gained the support of Gov. Otter, which I shared with the Legislature. State investment in adult completion scholarships will encourage nontraditional students to re-enroll. A change in employee compensation will allow us to recruit and retain talented Vandals. The governor supports the exciting Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment project near Twin Falls. We’re also focusing on building a fourth-year to the program that allows students to complete an undergraduate computer science degree in Coeur d’Alene, and on investing in our Agricultural Research and Extension Service and other special programs.
 
This week was also a chance to watch the full circle of the Vandal experience, from new student to proud alumni. Wednesday night we had a well-attended “Meet the Vandals” recruiting event. I enjoyed meeting the many young women and men looking to make a decision about where to attend college. They heard from me and our great recruiting team about why UI is the best choice for higher education. I look forward to seeing them on campus next fall.
 
Thursday night we celebrated at our Ada County Silver and Gold dinner. Two great Vandals were honored: Doug Gross, winner of the Silver and Gold Award, and Howard Foley, our Jim Lyle Award winner. Each exemplifies Vandal success in professional life, and in a commitment to the University of Idaho. I am proud to consider Doug and Howard personal friends, and it was an honor to present them their well-deserved awards.
 
Seeing the silver and gold around Boise during “Higher Education Week” is always special. Thank you to the Vandals new and not-so-new who helped make it a meaningful week.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
THE LATEST NEWS FROM UI

Vandal Scholarship Fund Supporters Make a Difference

The Vandal Scholarship Fund (VSF) is proud and grateful for the work of booster chapters across Idaho and the Inland Northwest. Each chapter is filled with passionate volunteers who are dedicated to ensuring the success of Idaho athletics. Over the past five years, Washington’s Puget Sound VSF chapter members have diligently worked to revitalize their organization and grow membership. Under the leadership of President Robie G. Russell ’78, and with a dedicated board of Vandals, the chapter has held watch parties, fundraising auctions and other special events to raise money for student-athlete scholarships. Their most recent event, the Legend’s Dinner and auction in Seattle prior to last fall's UI vs. Washington Husky football game, was a huge success, raising over $50,000 for the VSF. Booster chapter members provide invaluable support by giving of their time, treasure and talent. For more information about giving to or how to get involved with the Vandal Scholarship Fund, contact Shelly Robson at shellyr@udiaho.edu or 208-651-7992.

Ada County Silver and Gold Honorees

The University of Idaho Alumni Association honored alumni Doug Gross and Howard Foley for their achievements and service to the university at the Ada County Silver and Gold Celebration on Thursday. Doug Gross ‘75 received the Silver and Gold Award for his record of achievement and service in the agricultural industry. Gross is the CEO of Gross Farms Inc., recognized in the industry as an exceptional potato grower, and a past member of the Idaho Potato Commission. Most recently he established an endowment for the potato program in UI’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Howard Foley ’69, ‘71 received the Jim Lyle Award for his long-term dedication and service to the university and the Alumni Association. Foley is currently an attorney and shareholder at Foley Freeman, PLLC in Meridian. He has been an active member of the Vandal Scholarship Fund (VSF), serving for 15 years as a board member, one year as president at the national level. He has served as co-chair on the UI Law Class of 1971 Scholarship Contribution Committee and currently part of the steering committee to raise funds for the Idaho Arena.

Special Hampton-Goodman Tribute at 50th Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival will celebrate its 50th year with a unique set honoring Lionel Hampton’s and Benny Goodman’s careers on Friday, Feb. 24. The Hampton-Goodman Tribute features Stefon Harris on vibraphone, Anat Cohen on clarinet, Joe Doubleday on vibraphone and Felix Peikli on clarinet. Up-and-coming stars Doubleday and Peikli will perform works in a style reminiscent of the Benny Goodman Quartet of the 1930s. Immediately after, Harris and Cohen will perform a contemporary rendition of the same work that reflects today’s most innovative trends in jazz. This juxtaposition embodies the heart of the festival’s theme – “Grounded in Tradition. Breaking New Ground.” Headlining the 2017 festival is four-time Grammy award-winner Esperanza Spalding, critically acclaimed vocal group New York Voices and returning artist and Grammy nominee René Marie and Experiment in Truth. Tickets are available through the University of Idaho Ticket Office located in the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center, by phone at 1-888-8-UIDAHO or online at www.uidaho.edu/ticketoffice. Prices range from $15 to $45 per night, and special UI employee, student and youth ticket prices are available. For more information on the 2017 festival, visit www.uidaho.edu/jazzfest, follow the festival’s Facebook page or call 208-885-5900.
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