C of I Newsletter

2011. 06. 10

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Is The College of Idaho No. 1?

Do you think The College of Idaho should be number one in the Pacific Northwest? We all know the College is a special place with outstanding students, faculty and alumni. But we currently rank second – trailing only Whitman – when it comes to alumni giving percentage. Help us become No. 1 by making a gift before the June 30 fiscal year deadline.

Alumni giving: C of I vs. comparison schools

Whitman College           41%
The College of Idaho     32%
Reed College                 27%
Colorado College          25%
Willamette University     25%
Linfield College             15%
Northwest Nazarene     14%
University of Idaho         10%
Boise State University     9%

(Percentage based on two-year averages from 2010 survey by U.S. News & World Report)

“Obtaining that No. 1 spot would be a huge accomplishment for our alumni,” said Boone Fund Coordinator Tara Wensel ’09. “And it goes hand in hand with alumni realizing the impact their gifts make for the College.”

Alumni gifts to the Boone Fund are important for several reasons. Alumni giving percentage is one of the criteria national publications such as U.S. News & World Report use to rank the country’s top colleges. C of I also relies on private support to provide student scholarships. Money donated to the Boone Fund helps support these and the many other operating needs of the College and its students.

Last year, alumni set a record by reaching a 34-percent giving rate and contributing more than $660,000 to the College. Now it’s your turn to act. To learn more about the Boone Fund, or to make a gift, contact Wensel at (208) 459-5016 or click here.

C of I student biking cross-country to build homes

College of Idaho student Caitlin Skufca loves outdoor activity. Over the past 12 months, Skufca has earned Academic All-American honors as a member of the C of I ski team and participated in IronMan Lake Placid, a grueling, 140.6-mile ultradistance triathlon in her native Upstate New York.

Skufca is taking her active lifestyle to a new extreme this summer by biking more than 3,000 miles across the country with the Bike and Build organization. The C of I junior is one of 31 young adults who will ride an average of 75 miles each day, taking days off to help affordable housing organizations build homes for needy families.

“I wanted to do something with my summer,” said Skufca, who begins her trek June 22 in Portsmouth, N.H. “I’m really looking forward to seeing the country and also helping build houses for people in need. We are going to get to meet the families we are building for, which is exciting.”

In preparation for the trip, Skufca raised the required $4,000 participation fee and worked as a volunteer on an affordable housing project with the Canyon County Habitat for Humanity in Caldwell. In return, Bike and Build is providing Skufca and her fellow riders with new road bikes, a support vehicle, meals and nightly accommodations at churches, schools, community centers and campgrounds.

Skufca rides her bike regularly both at C of I and in New York, but she knows the trek will not be easy.

“It’s definitely going to be a challenge to get back on the bike every morning,” Skufca said. “But there is going to be so much to see and do. We get to stop and check out small diners along the way, we are going to visit the world’s largest water park and we are riding through Glacier National Park. Plus I’m working on a research project about government involvement in affordable housing, so there will be plenty of motivation to keep going.”

Bike and Build is overseeing eight cross-country bike trips this summer. Skufca’s group has the northernmost route, following the United States-Canada border most of the way from New Hampshire to Vancouver, British Columbia. Skufca has to leave the group in Montana to return to C of I in time for classes, but she plans to finish the remaining 400 miles at the beginning of next summer.

Over the past eight years, the Bike and Build organization has donated more than $2.7 million, volunteered more than 80,000 hours, biked more than 5 million miles and educated more than 1,200 young adults about the affordable housing crisis in America. For more information on the project, visit the Bike and Build website at www.bikeandbuild.org.

History professor wins fellowship to study ancient Maya

The indigenous cultures of Mesoamerica have long been a fascination for College of Idaho history professor Dr. Mee-Ae Kim. This summer, Kim will get to study those cultures first-hand through a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Kim was one of 24 professors chosen to study archeological and historical sites in Southern Mexico and Belize as part of a five-week summer project entitled “Revisioning the Maya World: New Directions in Scholarship and Teaching.”

“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” said Kim, who arrives in Mexico on Sunday and returns to Idaho on July 18. “Modern Mexico is my area of specialization in teaching and the indigenous cultures of Mexico have always been a big interest of mine.”

Kim teaches a wide variety of history courses at C of I, including World Civilization, Modern Mexico, Colonial Latin America and classes focused on specific countries and cultures of Latin America. She plans to incorporate what she learns this summer into the Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica class she is scheduled to teach in the fall of 2012. The timing of the class – and of Kim’s summer trip – is interesting because of the widespread apocalyptic obsession with the Mayan calendar, which some say predicts the end of the world in 2012.

“The Maya will be a big component of that class,” Kim said. “Part of the class and part of this NEH project will be dedicated to talking about the 2012 phenomena. I’m curious to learn more about it, but among the Mayan historians, there doesn’t seem to be much belief that the world is going to end.”

Kim’s trip includes stops at more than a dozen historical and archeological sites, including the Olmec center of La Venta and the Mayan ruins at Palenque and Chichen Itza. Kim and her colleagues will study architecture, engineering, art and other aspects of Mayan culture dating from the founding of the civilization to contemporary society. Many of the sites have been abandoned for more than 1,000 years.

“The place of the indigenous cultures is so pronounced in the Mexican contemporary and historical experience,” Kim said. “It’s very different from here. The Maya still comprise a significant portion of the population in some regions, and their language and cultural practices remain very much alive.”

To learn more about the NEH project, visit www.ccha-assoc.org/mayaworld11/index.html. Kim can answer questions via email, although her internet access will at times be limited during her travels.

C of I students participate in fly casting tournament

A group of students from The College of Idaho recently lent a helping hand to the environment and local fishermen by participating in the Ted Truebood Fly Casting Tournament on May 14 at Eagle Island State Park. Students Camrin Braun ’11, Jeremy Armstrong, Blake Nass and friend Sean Martin represented C of I at the tournament, which served as a fundraiser for Trout Unlimited’s Pierce Creek project to reconnect 1.9 miles of trout spawning habitat to the South Fork of the Boise River.

The C of I team, which was sponsored by Idaho River Sports, placed third among the 15 teams competing in the silver division.

“I’m really excited that an upstart club from tiny C of I can throw together a team and compete with some of the best fly casters in the Treasure Valley,” Braun said. “Plus, we beat Boise State’s team. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Braun and C of I residence life coordinator Matt Gier started the Fly Fishing Club last fall, hosting two dinners that featured fly-tying and a film showing. High water conditions this spring prevented the club from taking an official fishing trip before the end of the school year, but the group is planning future trips to pursue rainbow trout in the South Fork of the Boise River, steelhead in the Salmon River and brown trout in the Owyhee River. With Braun graduated, the current club members are Armstrong, Nass, Jake Mamer, Sarah Higgins and Nate Gier. Matt Gier advises the club with the help of several C of I faculty members, including environmental studies professor Dr. Chris Walser and adjunct John Wolter, who owns Anglers fly shop in Boise and teaches the fly fishing course at the College.

“We really want to get students involved and grow the sport of fly fishing here at the College,” Matt Gier said. “We have some of the best fishing in the Northwest right here within an hour or two of the College, so we really want to utilize that resource and have a little fun.”

To learn more about the C of I Fly Fishing Club, contact Gier by email. More information on the Ted Truebood Fly Casting Tournament, including a clip of KTVB Channel 7 News’ coverage of the event, is available online.


Summer 2011

Upcoming Athletic Events

June 22

Alumni and friends Boise Hawks baseball game, 7 p.m., Memorial Stadium (Boise)

July 9

EcoAlumni series featuring Ben Jarvis '09, 9 a.m., Red Feather Lounge (Boise)

July 16

Alumni Family Day: Blueberry Picking at Suyehira Farms, 8:30 a.m. (Emmett)

July 31

Willamette Valley Wine Tour, Portland, Ore. Email [email protected] for more information

Save the Date! September 20-25

2011 Homecoming celebrating Boone Hall math and science alumni. Email [email protected] for more information


C of I history professor Dr. Howard Berger was featured as the Boise Weekly 'Citizen,' a weekly, local Q & A piece by reporter George Prentice.

C of I baseball players Izaac Garsez and Mitch Dame earned NAIA national honors, while golfer Trish Gibbens was named an NAIA All-American.

The College of Idaho’s annual Staff Association Yard Sale raised a record $4,439.59 toward student scholarships. Special thanks go out to yard sale organizers Russell Shoemaker and Kelsie VanKomen as well as the many staff members and students who donated their time and effort to make the sale happen. Go Yotes!

C of I alumna Sylvia Hunt '59 and the upcoming season of the Caldwell Fine Arts series were featured in the Idaho Press-Tribune.

C of I environmental studies students Camrin Braun '11 and Sam Finch '11 talked about the effects agriculture has on Idaho's water usage in this Boise Weekly article. The story also aired on local talk radio.

C of I student Stephanie Painter has been awarded a $5,000 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study in China next year. Painter will spend the 2011-2012 academic year studying Chinese at Tsinghua University, one of Asia's most prestigious schools.

College of Idaho alumna Dorothy Custer '33 will be honored as the Western Days Pioneer of the Year this weekend, as reported by the Twin Falls Times-News.

The C of I YouTube Channel has several new videos, including the second installment of C of I Insights (featuring a discussion of redistricting and how the U.S. should promote democracy abroad), the spring dance team recital and an original musical composition by Brian Michael Ward '11.