From the President: Our Core Mission
Every morning as I head to work in our Administration Building, I pass by a small marker carved into the entryway that marks the 1908 completion of the historic building. The inscription reads: “Erected by the Commonwealth of Idaho for the training of her future citizens to their highest usefulness in private life and public service.” For the University of Idaho, those words etched in the heart of campus give voice to a promise — a core belief that Idaho’s leading, national research university has a fundamental duty to help construct a positive future for our students and for our state.
We accomplish that mission in many ways. First and foremost, we deliver a transformative education. Our students come to us from all corners of our state, from small towns to major urban centers. Many are among the first in their families to attend college. They are making an investment in future success, and they count on us to provide an experience that is second to none.
How are we doing? I encourage readers to visit the federal government’s new College Scorecard website (collegescorecard.ed.gov) for a comparative look at our success as measured by graduation rates, affordability and financial outcomes after college. The pages in this magazine, though, tell more personal stories about people unlocking their potential and finding ways to contribute to society with their insight, passion and burgeoning expertise. They are future natural resource professionals; soon-to-be nuclear engineers setting out to work in the critically important clean-energy sector; aspiring rural and family doctors gaining access to one of the best medical educations in the country through the Idaho WWAMI program.
We can reach more students with the impact of a Vandal education. Over the next 10 years, we can reshape Idaho’s higher education landscape, strengthening our university and our state.
Last fall, UI worked with the state board and state government to implement a direct admissions initiative that would offer automatic admission for Idaho high school seniors to public colleges and universities based on their academic achievement. We followed up with Enroll Idaho, a day of statewide outreach that took the value of the college experience directly to high school students in nearly every county. In January, UI’s James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research issued its “Life after High School” study, which examines the choices students make. The study is a great resource to guide our decision-making.
We want more students to attend college, and we want the undergraduate student body at UI to look like Idaho. We can and should resemble a cross-section of this increasingly diverse, growing state.
In this issue, you’ll learn about some of the ways we reach out to students to promote postsecondary attendance. We’re building relationships between future teachers and Native American communities, and we are exposing more elementary school-age tribal members to the UI experience. We’re connecting with Hispanic communities in southern Idaho. And we’re continuing to foster leadership through our outstanding 4-H and Extension programming.
The students of today are the in-demand workforce of tomorrow. We prepare graduates with the skills, perspectives and experiences that foster shared prosperity in an increasingly knowledge-based, global economy. Our success is borne out by a recent assessment of UI’s economic impact by the Economic Modeling Specialists International company, a national leader in the field, based here in Moscow. According to the recently published study, UI annually contributes more than $1.1 billion to Idaho’s economy. Nearly $800 million of that impact is the wage differential enjoyed by Vandal graduates — proof of the power of a Vandal degree. Our university’s total impact comes to nearly 2 percent of Idaho’s total economy.
We live in times filled with promise and with challenges. For our state to live up to its potential, it will need the University of Idaho to be its best. It will need Vandals.
Chuck Staben, President