The Friday Letter Archive

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


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Friday Letter 2016-03-18:
Our Vandals Go Dancing at the NCAA Tournament

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 Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.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 18, 2016

Dear Friends,
What would March be without a little “madness”? The NCAA basketball tournaments are an action-packed time for colleges, student-athletes and fans across the country.

Having delivered a Big Sky Conference championship (link) to the University of Idaho, today our Vandal women take the floor on college basketball’s biggest stage. They have drawn a tough opponent in Baylor, but I know Coach Jon Newlee will have them "ready to play," as he says. Our Vandals play exciting, team-oriented basketball, and they will give a determined effort in Waco, Texas. The game will be televised, and Vandals can come together across the Northwest to watch and root on (link) our student-athletes. This is their third trip to the NCAA tournament in the last four years — an impressive run of on-the-court excellence.

The men’s team had a 21-win season and went to the CBI tournament. Though they had a tough loss Wednesday night, they played with heart and determination all season. We are all proud of how they represented our university and our state.

This weekend we are getting an up-close-and-personal look at NCAA Tournament action in Spokane. Thanks to Rob Spear’s vision, the University of Idaho is the host for this weekend’s festivities at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. That means that you’ll see UI people in Spokane, ready to talk about the tournament and the University of Idaho. You’ll see the UI name splashed across the court, and you’ll see Vandal banners proudly waving in Spokane.

Spokane, Eastern Washington and North Idaho are a vital part of our university’s footprint. More than 12,000 Vandal alumni call the area home. Many students from Spokane and nearby are currently pursuing a great future through a transformative educational experience at UI. They are discovering a top-tier academic environment; a community with abundant opportunities for service, recreation and leadership; and a nationally ranked value for affordability and return on investment (link) . We are a higher education leader in the Northwest (link) , and the UI reputation is strong and getting stronger.

Athletics are an important window into our university. We appreciate the opportunity to let the rest of the country learn more about our special institution. Join me and the rest of the Vandal family in enjoying the ride, and rooting for our Vandal women and for a special weekend of basketball in Spokane.

Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben


Estate Plan Endows English Scholarship

After earning an English degree from the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences (link) , Alyce Joyce Archuleta ’64 spent most of her life working as a librarian. It was in doing this work that she met her husband and fellow world traveler, Michael. Together, the Archuletas have built a life of learning, discovery and adventure in San Diego, California. Moscow and University of Idaho campus are never far from Alyce’s heart, though. The Archuletas recently included UI in their estate plan. Their generosity will endow a new scholarship named for the pair in the English department. "We are incredibly grateful for the generosity that the Archuletas have shown to the English department and CLASS,” said Dean Andrew Kersten. “This gift will help to transform the lives of many students for years to come." For more information on giving to CLASS, contact Pete Mundt, director of development, at 208-885-5013 or (link) .

Game Today: Vandals Draw Baylor in NCAA Tournament

The University of Idaho will enter the 2016 NCAA Tournament (link) as a No. 16 seed in the Dallas Region. The Vandals (24-9) will play the first-seeded Baylor Bears at 2 p.m. today, March 18, in Waco, Texas. It can be seen on ESPN2. “It will be a big challenge,” head coach Jon Newlee said following the announcement. “We will not back down from it. We will be ready to play on Friday.” Idaho earned its third trip to the NCAA tournament in the past four seasons, defeating Idaho State, 67-55, in the Big Sky Tournament championship. Freshman Mikayla Ferenz scored 18 points in the game and 67 in the tournament on her way to being voted Tournament MVP. The Vandals return to the NCAA tournament in 2016 after missing out on post-season play a year ago. Previously, Idaho made back-to-back trips to the NCAA tournament in 2013 and 2014. This will be the fourth NCAA tournament trip for the Vandal women.

UI Students Give Back During Alternative Service Break

University of Idaho students will spend spring break March 14-18 working alongside humanitarian organizations in Idaho, Washington and Oregon as part of the university’s Alternative Service Break (ASB) program (link) . Run by UI’s Department of Student Involvement and Center for Volunteerism and Social Action, ASB promotes student learning and development through hands-on service opportunities. The group consists of 11 teams, with 59 total students and seven faculty and staff advisors. Teams will spend the week serving an established community partner in working toward its mission. Among other projects, they will learn about homelessness initiatives at the Boise Rescue Mission Ministries and Corpus Christi House; practice sustainable agriculture as a holistic solution to veterans issues at Growing Veterans in Mount Vernon, Washington; and work with a native plant nursery and on sustainable trail management in the Tillamook State Forest in Oregon.
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