The Friday Letter Archive

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


Collections A-Z

Friday Letter 2016-03-04:
Our Options for UI Football

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 Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.

March 4, 2016

Dear Friends,
This week you heard news about the discontinuation of our football team’s affiliation with the Sun Belt Conference (link) after the 2017 season. While the timing of the Sun Belt’s decision was unexpected, we face the future with options, and with confidence that we will choose the right course for our university.

Athletics is an important part of the University of Idaho. It serves as the “front porch” of our university and a place to build community. Athletics also provides opportunities for our student-athletes to excel in competition and in the classroom.

I doubt that many institutions can match the loyalty and enthusiasm of our Vandal family. Football brings us together, something I enjoy every football Saturday in the fall. We created the Fan Zone — an iteration of which you’ll see again next fall — and set a course to build an arena for our court sports, because we know that a university’s excellence is measured in part by the quality of its Athletics programs, and we must invest in Athletics if we want to see positive results.

I understand how important the conference affiliation decision is for our university. Over the course of the past year, in settings public and private, I communicated the value UI brings to the Sun Belt conference, and that our football program is on the upswing. Stability is very important in terms of finding a good conference fit for our university. And uncertain conference affiliation has challenged our ability to build the best possible program.

I know that our alumni, students and fans have passionate opinions about the right place for Vandal football and that there is a good deal of disagreement about where we should be going forward. There is strong support for each of our two current options after 2017: 1) play as an independent member of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) until we can stably affiliate with an appropriate FBS conference, or 2) accept an invitation to join the Big Sky Conference. No other option exists nor can we depend on other opportunities arising. The Big Sky has asked UI to join them, setting a May 4 deadline on their invitation. A decision whether to accept that invitation, subject to State Board approval, is forthcoming, and we will be open and straightforward in how and when we communicate our decision.

The decision I make on behalf of the Vandal Family will be informed by what is best for our student-athletes, for our students and fans, and for our university. That means positioning our student-athletes to excel, securing the stability and autonomy we need to build a successful program for the long-term, and ensuring the very best student and fan experience possible.

I went to 10 of 12 football games last season, so I’ve had a firsthand look at how hard our student-athletes compete and the progress that they are making. I’ve seen the positive fan experience that a good crowd and a victory brings to the Kibbie Dome (a top-10 college football venue (link) , according to USA Today), and I’ve appreciated the vibrancy on campus and genuine uplift in university-wide morale that results.

I will study our options and make the best decision for our university. We will build a future of football excellence at UI. We will build an arena to be an outstanding home for our court sports. I will count on our Vandal family to support that progress. No matter where our “front porch” is located, we will gather on it as Vandals — brave and bold.

Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben


A Tax-free Opportunity to Support UI

The IRA charitable rollover means that University of Idaho supporters can make a gift of up to $100,000 directly from an IRA to benefit UI – and it’s tax-free. An IRA charitable rollover may make good sense if you are 70 1/2 or older, if you want to satisfy your IRA’s minimum required distribution without generating taxable income, or if you want to apply your gift against a pledge. The gift must be transferred directly from the IRA administrator to the University of Idaho Foundation Inc. (Follow this link for more information and sample letters (link) .) To learn more about making an IRA charitable rollover gift, please contact your IRA administrator, your tax advisor or Sharon L. Morgan, JD, senior director of the Office of Estate, Trust and Gift Planning at (866) 671-7041 or (link) .

New Master of Laws Degree for Fall 2016

The University of Idaho College of Law anticipates launching a new Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree program (link) , beginning for fall semester, 2016. The program was approved by the State Board of Education on Feb. 18, one month after approval by the American Bar Association. The final step in approval is review by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. A Master of Laws is an internationally recognized postgraduate law degree that can be completed in nine months. Law students often pursue the LL.M. to gain expertise in a specialized field of law. At UI, LL.M. students will be able to choose an emphasis in democracy, justice and the American legal system; natural resources and environmental law; business law and entrepreneurship; or litigation and alternative dispute resolution. “The addition of the LL.M. degree marks a significant academic expansion at the College of Law,” said Dean Mark L. Adams.

UI Alumna Named Woman of the Year

University of Idaho alumna Nora Carpenter has been named Woman of the Year for 2016 (link) by the Idaho Business Review. The president and CEO of United Way Treasure Valley was honored February 25 at a gala event at the Boise Centre. Carpenter was selected from among 50 distinguished nominees. The Women of the Year nominee class included four University of Idaho employees: Cori Mantle-Bromley, dean of the UI College of Education; Terri Muse, assistant dean for external relations at the UI College of Law in Boise; SeAnne Safaii-Waite, associate professor of family and consumer science for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at UI Boise and UI Coeur d’Alene; and Barbara Zanzig Lock, director of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic and lecturer of tax law at the UI College of Law in Boise. The class included eight Vandal alumni. In addition to Carpenter, the nominees were: Colleen Asumendi Fillmore, state director, USDA Child Nutrition Programs, Boise; Johanna “Joey” Hale, director, internal audit, J.R. Simplot Company, Boise; Katherine Johnson, director of marketing and communications, Treasure Valley YMCA, Boise; Deneen May, vice president, Meridian Silverstone Financial Center, Zions Bank, Meridian; Amanda Watson, senior account executive, Red Sky, Boise; Mary York, partner, Holland & Hart LLP, Boise; and Beth Ineck, City of Nampa director of economic development.

(link) Subscribe to the Friday Letter, update your preferred UI email subscriptions. (link)
Office of the President | 875 Perimeter Drive MS 3151 | Moscow ID 83844-3151

Copyright © 2016 University of Idaho, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because of your affiliation with the University of Idaho.