Friday Letter 2017-01-27:
A Special Week in Boise
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This week Vandals converged on our state Capitol for “Higher Education Week.” It’s a time for sharing the University of Idaho story with our Legislature, meeting future Vandals at our annual downtown Boise recruiting event, and recognizing our great alumni at the Ada County Silver and Gold Awards celebration.
I was proud to explain UI’s progress with members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee and the Senate and House education committees. I reminded them that the University of Idaho continues to be an outstanding investment, a public higher education experience that brings return on investment many times over in the lives of students, in research that propels our economy and in engagement that touches every community in Idaho. We have made great progress in enrolling more students and in conducting research of unmatched quality and scale in our state.
For the coming year, our priorities gained the support of Gov. Otter, which I shared with the Legislature. State investment in adult completion scholarships will encourage nontraditional students to re-enroll. A change in employee compensation will allow us to recruit and retain talented Vandals. The governor supports the exciting Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment project near Twin Falls. We’re also focusing on building a fourth-year to the program that allows students to complete an undergraduate computer science degree in Coeur d’Alene, and on investing in our Agricultural Research and Extension Service and other special programs.
This week was also a chance to watch the full circle of the Vandal experience, from new student to proud alumni. Wednesday night we had a well-attended “Meet the Vandals” recruiting event. I enjoyed meeting the many young women and men looking to make a decision about where to attend college. They heard from me and our great recruiting team about why UI is the best choice for higher education. I look forward to seeing them on campus next fall.
Thursday night we celebrated at our Ada County Silver and Gold dinner. Two great Vandals were honored: Doug Gross, winner of the Silver and Gold Award, and Howard Foley, our Jim Lyle Award winner. Each exemplifies Vandal success in professional life, and in their commitment to the University of Idaho. I am proud to consider Doug and Howard personal friends, and it was an honor to present them their well-deserved awards.
Seeing the silver and gold around Boise during “Higher Education Week” is always special. Thank you to the Vandals new and not-so-new who helped make it a meaningful week.