Friday Letter 2016-08-19:
Why UI is the Best Choice
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This morning, a brand new class of Vandals comes together at Convocation, the annual tradition marking the beginning of our academic year and the start of each student’s educational journey. It can be a time filled with trepidation for students — and for parents. Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet students and parents moving into our residence halls. I saw young women and men wondering what college is all about. I also saw students excited to embark on an adventure, ready to take charge of their futures with a college degree.
There is no better way to take charge of your future than to join the Vandal family.
Recently, Money magazine named the University of Idaho the “Best College” in our state, based on our winning combination of affordability, academic excellence and outcomes after college. The publication notes our broad range of academic offerings, in everything from agricultural research to natural resources to music and the arts. Money joins the College Scorecard in highlighting our success for students: outstanding educational opportunities, robust financial aid and graduate earnings that are the highest of any institution in Idaho.
I’m highlighting post-graduation outcomes — that might seem like a long way down the road for our Convocation attendees. But career success is top of mind for many, as increasingly students are focused on college as a way to get a well-paying job. That’s a smart outlook, as studies show a college degree is the key to earning $1 million more over a lifetime than those with only a high school degree. Some 95 percent of all new jobs created since the Great Recession have gone to those with at least some college experience. University of Idaho graduates lead the way among our state’s institutions when it comes to mid-career salaries — it’s not even close. That financial stability underpins a great life for UI grads.
On their way to graduation, though, I hope students will treasure the unique experiences they have to grow as thinkers, as leaders, and as members of a caring community. Many Vandals have the chance to participate in hands-on research. They learn and receive mentorship from the best and brightest faculty members. They have unparalleled access to outdoor adventure. In our student organizations, in Athletics, and in our sorority and fraternity systems, they find support networks and form lasting friendships. As I’ll tell our students this morning: A lot happens here on the way to the rest of your life. Take advantage of every minute of it.
We’re proud to be joined at our Convocation by Hattie Kauffman, an award-winning journalist who will share her inspirational story. Ms. Kauffman, a member of the Nez Perce Tribe, was born in Idaho and has deep roots in the area. She is a trailblazing journalist and author, and a great example of the success one can have through higher education. I’m grateful that Ms. Kauffman could be with us in Moscow today, and I hope the newest members of our Vandal family gain a better idea of what is possible in college and in life — as a student, as a graduate and as a person.