C of I Newsletter

2012. 02. 03

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Upcoming Scholarship Gala puts a 'Spotlight on Science'

The College of Idaho has long enjoyed a tradition of excellence in the sciences. The commitment to studying nature began with founder William Judson Boone and continues today through faculty-student research and hundreds of alumni enjoying careers in scientific fields. C of I is set to celebrate that tradition and bolster its commitment to providing students with outstanding teaching during its annual Scholarship Gala, themed “Spotlight on Science.” This year’s gala will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at the Boise Centre on the Grove in Downtown Boise. All proceeds from the gala will support student scholarship and creative activity at C of I.

“The Scholarship Gala is an opportunity for us to both celebrate and support the reason The College of Idaho is here, and that is to provide the finest possible instruction and education to our students,” C of I President Marv Henberg said. “Our science program is and always has been an outstanding representative of that standard.”

A limited number of tickets remain available for purchase. Tickets cost $125 apiece or $75 apiece for College faculty and staff (limit two per faculty/staff member). A table for 10 guests can be purchased for $1,250 and a VIP table for ten, including priority seating, specialty table decor and a mention in the Gala program, costs $1,891. For tickets and more information, visit the Gala website at www.collegeofidaho.edu/gala or call (208) 459-5017.

The Scholarship Gala is a formal, black-tie optional event featuring dinner, musical entertainment by the Decade Blues Band, live and silent auctions, an “Adopt-a-Yote” paddle-up auction, a raffle drawing and remarks by Henberg as well as students and faculty from the College’s science departments. Items available in the auction include weeklong stays at Scottsdale Links Resort, Terrace Lakes Resort and Sunriver, Ore., as well as a vintage wine pairing dinner and a guided fly fishing trip.

Prior to the Gala, the College invites its faculty, staff, students and alumni to sell raffle tickets for a weeklong stay in an Arizona vacation home. Participants may pick up tickets from Trisha Phillips on the third floor of Sterry Hall or order online at www.collegeofidaho.edu/gala. Tickets cost $25 apiece or $100 for five. On the day of the Gala, the faculty member, staff member, student and graduate who has sold the most tickets (minimum of 10) will receive a $75 Barnes and Noble gift card.

The College of Idaho would like to thank live auction sponsor Caxton, silent auction sponsor U.S. Bank, "Adopt-a-Yote" sponsor Blue Cross of Idaho and supporting sponsor Fisher’s Document Systems. The College also thanks its campus community for selling raffle tickets and tables, the generous donors who provided auction items and the many alumni, friends, supporters and community members who make the Scholarship Gala a success each year.

C of I custodian makes residence hall a true home

“If anyone asks about Maria, we all know her and we all love her,” said College of Idaho sophomore Kevin Nie.

The woman to whom Nie refers is Maria Rojas, who for more than four years has been employed as a custodian at The College of Idaho. But Rojas’ true calling is making Anderson Hall a home away from home for students, particularly international students and freshmen who struggle with homesickness and language barriers. Rojas makes it a point to remember the name of each of student while going above and beyond to improve the well-being of each Anderson resident through her compassion, generosity and hard work.

Rojas looks after students who become sick, helps English-speaking students with their Spanish, keeps the Anderson building sparkling clean and pays attention to what students are struggling with, offering her shoulder, her ears and her heart to those in need.

“I call her ‘mom’ sometimes,” Nie said with a smile. “She will help anyone who needs help.”

Rojas is known to meet with and encourage students dealing with homesickness and stress, particularly the international students living in Anderson. Nie is one example – he is from China and has no family ties in Idaho. Rojas “adopted” Nie into her family, inviting him to outings with her own children (one of whom is a freshman at C of I this year) and looking after him when he battled the flu last semester.

“Many of these students are very alone and it’s very hard,” Rojas said, explaining that cultural and language barriers make it difficult for some students to adjust to college life.

Nie is not alone in his recognition of Rojas. The College recently held a student-run “C of I Oscars,” where the student body had an opportunity to vote and nominate individuals in certain categories. Rojas was voted the College’s “Best Custodian” and was recognized in an article in the Coyote student newspaper for her passion and efforts on campus.

Rojas said she finds it easy to treat students like family because she considers the College a second home. It is that thoughtful attitude which makes Rojas such an asset to the College staff and a great representative of the Coyote community.

“The more time I spend here,” Rojas said. “The more it is family and the more it is home.”

Judaic studies chair receives $350,000 at 'From Haven to Home' celebration

The College of Idaho’s effort to create the Intermountain West’s first endowed chair in Judaic studies took another major step toward its realization with a combined $350,000 gift from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation and alumnus Ray Neilsen (’88) on Jan. 23. The gifts were announced during the grand opening celebration of the exhibition From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America, which is showing inside the Langroise Center at C of I through March 19.

“Establishing the Chair in Judaic Studies will continue The College of Idaho’s legacy of outstanding teaching,” said C of I President Marv Henberg. “As a graduate of the College, Mr. Neilsen knows the impact that our dedicated professors have on their students, and we are very appreciative that he and the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation are supporting our efforts.”

With the $200,000 gift from the Neilsen Foundation and $150,000 from Ray and Nancy Neilsen, the College now has raised approximately $1.5 million toward the chair endowment goal of $2.3 million.

The endowed chair in Judaic studies is the dream of C of I history professor Howard Berger, who joined the College’s faculty in 1982. The goal of the chair is to promote greater understanding of Jewish traditions, culture and philosophy in Idaho and the West. Berger teaches Jewish history courses, hosts an annual Passover Seder and involves the campus in other Jewish traditions throughout the school year. In his honor the College has established the Howard Berger Lecture Series, which brings Jewish dignitaries and public figures to campus to speak about contemporary Jewish issues.

Sid Lapidus, co-chairman of the American Jewish Historical Society, gave a lecture during the Jan. 23 celebration, which also included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a reception and remarks by Neilsen announcing the $350,000 gifts and thanking Berger for more than 20 years of friendship and mentoring. Hundreds attended the event, including C of I students, faculty and staff members, trustees, community members and visitors from several local synagogues and other churches. Lapidus' lecture is available for viewing on the C of I YouTube Channel.

“I am proud not only of our Foundation’s support for the endowed chair and the lecture series, but also, most importantly, I am pleased to have had such a rewarding experience at the College,” said Ray Neilsen, Chairman of the Neilsen Foundation. “Dr. Berger became my mentor and life-long friend and he taught me to love learning, a passion that still drives me today.”

Beth Goldsmith, Executive Director of the Foundation, added that the Foundation is pleased to support such an innovative program in the Intermountain West.

“This lecture series and endowed chair will expose students to life lessons on tolerance, diversity, human rights and interfaith awareness which are critical in our world today,” Goldsmith said.

The Neilsen Foundation previously contributed $150,000 toward the establishment of the Howard Berger Lecture Series. From Haven to Home remains open to the public, free of charge, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily for the next six weeks.

College set for Coyote Connections; Alumni Board gets new member

For years, College of Idaho students have received career mentoring and advice from alumni through Coyote Connections, an annual program organized by the College’s alumni office and the Center for Experiential Learning. The tradition will continue this year, with slight format changes aimed at connecting students with more alumni and professional networking opportunities than ever before.

Coyote Connections will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, in the Shannon Lounge inside Kathryn Albertson International Center. Students and alumni will have two hours to meet and greet, network and eat dinner. Afterward, participants are invited to attend the final home basketball games of the season – starting with the women at 5:30 p.m. – and continue networking in a more casual setting. All participating alumni will receive free admission to J.A. Albertson Activities Center for the games.

“The goal this year is for students to meet as many alumni as possible,” said Lisa DeDapper, director of alumni and parent relations. “Networking and meeting a wide variety of professionals is a great way for young alumni to get an internship or a job, so this event can really make a positive impact on our students as they graduate and start looking for employment.”

The students and alumni who do the most networking will be entered into a prize drawing. Dora Gallegos, director of the Center for Experiential Learning, anticipates upward of 50 students and 50 alumni for the event, which is open to current C of I juniors and seniors and alumni of all professions.

“We want our students to learn the importance of networking,” Gallegos said. “The College prepares them to succeed, but professional success oftentimes starts with knowing the right people. It’s also important for our alumni to realize what an incredibly valuable resource they can be in helping our students achieve their goals.”

There is no cost for the event and participants will receive name tags, dinner and admission to the basketball games. For more information or to RSVP, contact Gallegos at (208) 459-5688 or [email protected].

Sally Skinner ’78 joins National Alumni Board

Sally Skinner ’78 has been elected to a two-year term as the Treasure Valley director for the College’s National Alumni Board. Skinner, who also received her master’s degree in 1981, is the principal at Highland Elementary School in Boise. She says she looks forward to helping her fellow Treasure Valley alumni reconnect with each other, as well as the College.

“I have a special place in my heart for C of I and the people I knew there,” Skinner said. “I think what I’m most looking forward to is providing opportunities for alumni to reestablish the close relationships they had with their professors and their fellow students. Those friendships are something we all love and value about the College.”


Winter 2012

College Events Calendar

February 4

Volunteer work day at Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History (Boone Hall basement), 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch seminar featuring 'The brown marmorrated stink bug' by Gwen Blom

February 8

Campus Ministries hosts Bill and Ted's Excellent Murder Mystery, 7 p.m., KAIC. Mystery game, costume contests, karaoke, side games, prizes and fun

February 10

'Trebelle' violin, cello and piano trio featuring C of I music adjunct Robyn Wells (piano), 7:30 p.m., Langroise Recital Hall

February 15

Guest lecturer Karl Giberson presents 'Are Science and Religion at War?,' 6:30 p.m., Langroise Recital Hall

February 17

College of Idaho blood drive, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., KAIC Shannon Library

February 17

C of I professor Dr. Rochelle Johnson gives her lecture 'On Metaphor and Progress: Nature in Literature and Landscape Painting in 19th-Century America,' 6 p.m., Boise State Student Union Building (Simplot Ballroom A-B). Part of BSU's 'The Idea of Nature' lecture series. Transport from C of I available: email [email protected] to reserve a seat

Through February 17

Figure Paintings by John Taye: A Retrospective Exhibition, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, noon-5 p.m. Saturdays, Rosenthal Gallery (Blatchley Hall)

February 18

Coyote Connections, 3:30 p.m., KAIC Shannon Lounge (alumni-student networking and dinner followed by basketball games at 5:30 p.m.)

February 23

College of Idaho Health Fair, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., McCain Student Center

February 24

College of Idaho Scholarship Gala, 'Spotlight on Science,' 6 to 11 p.m., Boise Centre on the Grove. Click for tickets and information

February 24-25

Caldwell Fine Arts presents the Missoula Children's Theatre production of 'King Arthur's Quest,' 7:30 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday, Jewett Auditorium. Click for tickets and information

March 3

C of I softball/volleyball dinner auction, 6-11 p.m., J.A. Albertson Activities Center

Through March 19

'From Haven to Home' exhibition, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Langroise Center for Performing and Fine Arts


The College of Idaho asteroid research team, in collaboration with the Astronomical Research Institute, recently discovered two new Main Belt asteroids: 2012 BG17 and 2012 BH17. BG17 is a typical main-belt asteroid. However, BH17 is an unusual in that it resides in the outermost reaches of the asteroid belt and has an aphelion distance (furthest distance from the sun) of 3.8 astronomical units. The C of I team, which works in partnership with the International Asteroid Search Collaboration, consists of students Brenda Shinn, Marissa Rider, Andrew Hugill, Kenna Middleton, Edith Dull and Tierra Candelaria under the direction of physics professor Dr. James Dull. The discoveries have been submitted to the Minor Planet Center and will be added to observational surveys to better define the orbits. The team then will be asked to name the asteroids.

Asteroid Hunters

C of I asteroid hunters Edith Dull, Marissa Rider, Kenna Middleton and Andrew Hugill

Congratulations to the C of I speech and debate team, which successfully defended its Northwest Conference Division II Championship last weekend. The Howlin’ Yotes now have won 14 titles in 16 years under Coach Mack Sermon. Outstanding individual performances included a first-place finish in Solo Debate by junior Tyler Hatch of Nampa, a win in Novice Debate by freshman Maddie Hanhardt of Meridian and a first-place finish in Impromptu Speaking by sophomore Alixx Arons of Boise. With Sermon absent on sick leave, the Howlin’ Yotes were led by Acting Director Jerry Mooney, Assistant Director Ron Price and student captains Kris Cruz and Niki Ward. The team will finish the season by competing in several regional and national tournaments this spring.

The Jan. 23 grand opening of the From Haven to Home: 350 years of Jewish Life in America exhibition at The College of Idaho received a lot of nice coverage from the local media, including the Idaho Statesman, the Idaho Press-Tribune, the Boise Weekly and KIVI Channel 6 News.

The College of Idaho ski and snowboard team finally began its season last week and was featured by KBOI Channel 2 News.

The College of Idaho will hold its annual Health Fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23 inside McCain Student Center. Stop by for food, fun, information and vendor booths including free blood pressure checks, health screenings and more. There also will be a fasting lab draw for glucose/lipids from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at a cost of $16. To sign up or request more information, contact C of I campus nurse Libby Burtner at (208) 459-5200 or [email protected].

College of Idaho alumna Dr. Lindsay Sales ’04 recently was quoted in an article examining a University of Washington medical team’s research regarding custom-made dental plates used to shield normal tissue from radiation during treatment of head and neck cancer patients.

C of I education professor Dr. Deb Yates and her students from the winter term course “School and Society” recently took a field trip to Life’s Kitchen, a non-profit organization which teaches at-risk young adults life skills while also training them for and helping place them in food service jobs. Yates’ class also attended the United Way’s on-campus poverty simulation and studied first-hand the social issues facing many public school students. “Our students are seeing and experiencing the challenges students and teachers face on a day-to-day basis,” Yates said. “But this course also opened our eyes to the positive school improvement efforts happening both at the state and local levels.”

Life's Kitchen

C of I students enjoy a meal prepared at Life's Kitchen

It's not too early to begin planning for the College of Idaho Student Research Conference! The 7th annual SRC is set for April 21, 2012. Students doing research, scholarship or creative work may submit an abstract. Abstract submission deadline is March 23. For more information, visit the official conference web page. Good luck!

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