The Friday Letter Archive

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


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Friday Letter 2016-03-11:
Vandal Pride, Nationwide

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 Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.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 11, 2016

Dear Friends,
The University of Idaho serves the students of Idaho; that is a central part of who we are. But our impact does not stop at the state line. We are also a premier destination for students from across the United States. Those students find UI an excellent choice for a transformative experience (link) and a great value (link) from a national research university.

Last fall, 30 percent of UI students joined us from across the nation, representing all 50 states. The Vandal impact has national reach. Why? Simply put, we offer out-of-state students something they cannot find in other places. That means outstanding degree programs, unique experiences and a connected Vandal family that is like no other. Students from outside Idaho give back to the university, too, contributing perspectives and life experiences that create a vibrant living and learning community.

Our student body president, Max Cowan (link) , originally hails from Portland, Oregon. He is in his second term as president of the Associated Students of the University of Idaho (ASUI). I’ve enjoyed working with Max president-to-president. I’ve seen him lead the executive branch of our student government with openness and integrity, valuing the input of others, designing smart policies and making tough decisions. Max is an environmental science and chemistry major. When he graduates this spring, he’ll have a bright future ahead of him, and he’ll leave behind a lasting legacy.

We have many students from even farther afield, including Sarah Rose, a National Merit Scholar from the Chicago, Illinois, area. I met Sarah nearly two years ago during a visit Mary Beth and I made to the Taylor Wilderness Research Station. A double major in ecology and conservation biology and rangeland ecology and management, for her senior project Sarah designed and built a garden at Taylor that supplies fresh produce to visiting students and professors. As profiled in the latest issue of our College of Natural Resources magazine, Sarah found Taylor and our Semester in the Wild (link) program a chance to dive deep into a unique interdisciplinary educational experience, learning more about herself in the process. We’re grateful for the contributions she’s made that will live long after she graduates and heads into an exciting future.

Service, recreation, special programs — those are points of excellence that attract outstanding students like Max, Sarah and many others, and they are invaluable. But as a parent of students who have attended out-of-state institutions, I’m also sensitive to the price tag that accompanies that proposition. So I must point out that we are an option that many out-of-state students find affordable. Our net cost for non-Idaho students often compares very favorably to other states’ in-state net cost. That affordability helps our students graduate with less debt, positioning them for a stronger financial future (link) .

We’re proud that so many students from across the U.S. join Idaho students in finding a place to flourish at UI. They’re discovering something we hope is no secret — that the University of Idaho is a unique institution. It is a place to explore new possibilities and to find the mentorship and hands-on experience that helps one forge a bright future. Just as it is a great place to be from, it is a great place to go … on your way to the rest of the world.

Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben


Alumni Support Helps Transform the UI Library

Julie Levine ’75 and her husband, David ’74, are helping enhance the student experience at the state’s largest library. “We are proud to support the University of Idaho Library because it is a center for scholarship and research,” Julie explained. “It benefits students, faculty, staff and visiting scholars.” Julie, a member of the library advisory board, and David, are donors to the library’s first floor remodel project (link) . The $1.3 million project, scheduled for completion in the spring of 2016, will be a technology-rich center that facilitates collaborative learning. “The Levines’ gifts recognize the vital role the library plays in attracting and retaining students,” said Dean of Libraries Lynn Baird. “Offering students quality learning environments with access to top-rate technology provides them with a competitive edge in the workplace. We are very grateful to the Levines for their generosity.” For information on giving to the University Library, contact Jim Zuba at 208-885-4142 or (link) .

CLASS Launches Six New Online Degrees

The University of Idaho’s College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) will begin offering six new online degree programs (link) in fall 2016. The programs — a Master of Public Administration (link) and bachelor’s degrees in sociology, with an emphasis on criminology (link) , history, psychology, organizational sciences and general studies — were approved in February by the Idaho State Board of Education. The programs are already part of the college’s Moscow-based curriculum and will be taught by the existing professors. “Launching these programs is tremendously exciting,” CLASS Dean Andrew Kersten said. “We are embarking on a new way to serve the citizens of Idaho. The hallmark of the University of Idaho is quality and value. We are bringing those into the online realm.” All new online programs will launch later this year.

UI Appoints Marc Chopin Dean of College of Business

Marc Chopin has been appointed the University of Idaho’s next dean of the College of Business and Economics (link) , effective July 1, 2016. Chopin is currently a professor of economics at Northern Arizona University. He has served in university administration for approximately 13 years, including five years at Northern Arizona University where he was dean and associate dean of the W.A. Franke College of Business and interim director of the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, helping to transition that school to the College of Business. Chopin also engages with the business and not-for-profit communities through several board memberships and by working with and mentoring entrepreneurs and start-up companies in Flagstaff and Phoenix. “We feel fortunate to have Marc Chopin join UI as our new dean of Business and Economics,” said John Wiencek, UI’s provost and executive vice president. “He is a proven scholar, educator and dean coming from a peer research institution. His ability to effectively collaborate and communicate bodes well for the college's future."
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