Friday Letter 2017-01-06:
Four Great Accomplishments from 2016
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Welcome to an exciting new year at the University of Idaho. We have no shortage of work to do in the year ahead. But I want to reflect on the progress we made in 2016, accomplishments that provide forward momentum for our university. Here are four key areas where UI is excelling:
Increasing enrollment. Fall 2016 brought to UI the first overall enrollment increase since 2012. Our Direct Admissions initiative in partnership with the state has opened the door to more Idaho students (a 6.5 percent increase in Idaho freshmen), including many who are among the first generation in their families to go to college. We know that for most people higher education is the best pathway for good jobs and great lives, so it’s essential that we keep building on this success. In 2016 we eliminated our application fee for Idaho residents, and continue to offer the most scholarship support in our state. Growth is good for students, good for Idaho and good for UI.
Expanding innovation. In 2016, UI topped $100 million in research expenditures. We are far and away Idaho’s research leader — that $100 million is more than double the research of all other Idaho institutions combined. That research, scholarship and creative activity makes a difference for our state in fields such as agriculture, engineering, clean energy, arts and culture, and more. One example of that always evolving impact can be found in our new partnership at Rock Creek Ranch, launched in summer 2016, which will study how to manage our rangeland at the intersection of grazing and conservation.
Leading the way in transformative excellence. Our university stands out for success in and out of the classroom. From our acclaimed University Honors Program, to our nationally recognized student service, to our Northwest-leading cadre of National Merit Scholars, our students set a high bar for excellence on their way to the best career outcomes of any Idaho institution. Our students took advantage of unique experiences available on our residential campus, whether participating in one of 200 student organizations or in unique UI opportunities such as our Semester in the Wild program or our acclaimed Outdoor Program. Our athletics program capped a season of championships in women’s basketball, women’s soccer, women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s golf with a resounding football victory in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise.
Serving our state. We are the University of Idaho, and we are committed to serving the entire state as its land-grant institution. Our mission sees us producing Idaho’s leaders in many fields — in medicine, in law, in public service and more. Facilities across Idaho anchor our partnership with communities and industry. Whether in farm fields, on the range, in 4-H groups, or in local classrooms and community centers, the University of Idaho remains a vital part of the fabric of Idaho.
Clearly, we are well-positioned for continued success. I thank our statewide faculty and staff for their hard work, innovation and commitment. Importantly, our alumni and friends champion our university and support its mission with time, enthusiasm and philanthropy. Thank you contributing to our shared success.
If you haven’t seen it already, please enjoy the video below that highlights a great 2016. I look forward to working with you on the challenges and opportunities 2017 brings.