C of I Newsletter

2014. 03. 28

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Sewing Success: C of I Davis Scholar presents at national conference

Photo Credit: Barbara Kinney / Clinton Global Initiative..There is no shortage of proven solutions to many of the world’s most seemingly intractable problems. Yet rather than scaling up existing programs with established track records, many funders and fo

Making the world a better place is not an easy task to accomplish. But for College of Idaho sophomore and Davis Scholar Keneuoe “Kenny” Mphutlane, the opportunity to help others was as simple as giving the shirt off her back.

“I learned about the Rwandan genocide in international politics [class] and what impact it had on women,” said Mphutlane, an international political economy major from Lesotho, Africa. “I then thought it would be best to think of a project that did not just involve giving a handout but instead one that would help young women acquire a skill.”

Kenny’s project, titled Fabulous Development, takes a unique approach to the community service model. Mphutlane’s project will teach impoverished Rwandan women the intricacies of sewing and creating their own fashion designs. After the clothing items have been created, they will be displayed in a fashion show and distributed for sale.

The idea, as Mphutlane describes it, is to empower African women with a trade that will help them financially and encourage positive mental health.

“There’s a saying: ‘Give a woman some bread and see a whole community get fed,’ ” Mphutlane said. “If all of a sudden young women in poor communities have the skills to professionally create clothing items that are in demand and have further access to the global market, that’s a lot of bread.”

To get the project up and running, Mphutlane has created international connections and planned fundraising events to support her endeavor. Although there is still much work to do, Fabulous Development already is beginning to see the fruits of its labor.

“I have been able to get partnership with an amazing and reputable designer in Rwanda, Sonia Mugabo,” Mphutlane said. “We’re communicating about the first collection, a fashion show we’ll be hosting for the women, as well as exploring different channels of distribution for the clothing.”

Mphutlane recently presented her work at the Clinton Global Initiative University, an annual conference that brings world leaders, students and youth organizations together to address global challenges. Her project was a finalist in the Resolution Project Social Venture Challenge and received a “Commitment to Action” award for an exemplary project in resolving post-conflict issues. CGI U, held March 21-23 at Arizona State University, also featured influential speakers including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. John McCain, and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

It has taken a lot of hard work, dedication and College of Idaho support – particularly from political economy professor Dr. Jasper LiCalzi – to get Fabulous Development where it is today, but for Mphutlane, the driving force is the love she has for her homeland.

“What inspired me – and continues to inspire me – is my love for Africa as a whole,” Mphutlane said. “The history, the diversity, the beauty and, most importantly, its potential to grow.”

To learn more about Clinton Global Initiative University and how you can get involved, visit www.cgiu.org. To keep up to date on Kenny’s story, follow her C of I Student Experience Blog.

College hires first scholar for Judaic studies chair

Dr. Federica Francesconi

A widely-published scholar of Jewish history and culture and Jewish-Christian relations will be the first to hold The College of Idaho’s newly established Howard Berger-Ray Neilsen Chair in Judaic Studies.

Dr. Federica Francesconi, currently a faculty member in the University of Oregon’s Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies, will join the C of I next fall. Francesconi specializes in the cultural and social history of Jews in early modern Europe, paying special attention to Italian Jewish culture. She is currently completing a book, Invisible Enlighteners: Modenese Jewry from Renaissance to Emancipation (1598-1814).

“We are pleased to bring such a prolific scholar as Dr. Francesconi to The College of Idaho,” C of I President Marv Henberg said. “The Howard Berger-Ray Neilsen Chair in Judaic Studies was created with the aim of encouraging interfaith dialogue and greater awareness of Jewish culture, and Dr. Francesconi has demonstrated her commitment to those goals throughout her career.”

Francesconi said she is honored to serve as the first Howard Berger-Ray Neilsen Chair in Judaic Studies at The College of Idaho.

“I feel deeply privileged to have the possibility to work with colleagues who are great teachers, accomplished scholars and admirable administrators,” Francesconi said. “I look forward to working with them and with community leaders in Idaho in order to promote the study of Judaism and dialogue between tradition and modernity, social justice, and interfaith relations. The students I met when I was on campus impressed me with their degree of preparation and motivation; working with them will be indeed challenging and stimulating.”

Francesconi has held academic and research fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA and the University of Oxford. Her research and teaching interests also include Jewish-Christian relations, Jewish thought, the history of the Inquisition, Sephardic Diaspora and Jewish ceremonial art.

She recently co-edited a special issue of the journal Jewish History on “Tradition and Transformation in Eighteenth-Century Europe: Jewish Integration in Comparative Perspective,” and has curated exhibits on various facets of Jewish history at The Museum of the History of Italian Jewry and the Shoah in Ferrara, Italy, at the Italian Embassy of Israel’s Institute of Italian Culture, and with the Jewish communities of Bologna and Modena. Francesconi also has presented numerous community lectures on Jewish ceremonial art, contemporary Judaism, European Jewish history, and Israeli history and culture in the United States, Italy and Israel.

Francesconi received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art history from the University of Bologna and her Ph.D. from the University of Haifa in Jewish history, writing her dissertation on "Jewish Families in Modena from the Renaissance to the Napoleonic Emancipation (1600-1810).”

The Howard Berger-Ray Neilsen Chair in Judaic Studies – the first of its kind in the Intermountain West – was created to promote greater understanding of Jewish traditions, culture and philosophy in Idaho and the West. Named after C of I alumni Ray Neilsen ’88 and the longtime C of I history professor who was an influential mentor to him, the chair and an associated lecture series will help future generations of C of I students and the public gain a deeper understanding of diversity, human rights and interfaith awareness. The Chair is funded in part by a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant.

C of I student to study literature in Ireland


Mizuta at Guildhall during a 2013 winter term study abroad experience in London.

College of Idaho junior Megan Mizuta spent a month in Europe last winter as part of a faculty-led study abroad experience in London. Next fall, Mizuta will return to the British Isles – this time on her own as an Irish American Scholar at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Mizuta, an English literature major from Boise, will spend the fall 2014 semester studying English and Irish literature through the program, which is run by the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a freshman,” Mizuta said. “Ireland has produced a lot of really great writers, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries. Queen’s has a special center for poetry and Belfast has a lot of literary archives, so it’s a rich place to work and study.”

Mizuta, who also has minors in political economy, business and natural sciences, was inspired to apply for the program after seeing 2013 C of I graduate Ellen Town become an Irish American Scholar in 2011. Mizuta worked with C of I English professors Dr. Sue Schaper and Dr. Rochelle Johnson to apply for the program. Schaper, who accompanied the London group last year, is providing Mizuta with a summer reading list and other literary tips to prepare her for Ireland.

“Going to London made me secure in knowing I could handle traveling and studying abroad,” Mizuta said. “I’m looking forward to this experience – I think it will be a good personal growth opportunity for me as well as a great place to study.”

C of I sophomore Lucas Morse also is participating in the Irish American Scholars program during the fall semester. He will study international political economy at the University of Ulster in Jordanstown.

Mizuta and Morse both were featured in an Idaho Press-Tribune article on St. Patrick's Day.

Novelist Christopher Farnsworth '93 to speak at Commencement

Chris Farnsworth '93

Novelist and College of Idaho alumnus Christopher Farnsworth will return to his alma mater as keynote speaker for the College’s 2014 Commencement ceremonies May 17.

Farnsworth ’93 is best known as the author of The President’s Vampire series chronicling the adventures of Nathaniel Cade, a vampire sworn to protect the President of the United States from supernatural threats. Born and raised in Idaho, Farnsworth worked as an investigative and business reporter before selling his first movie script, The Academy, to MGM. His work also has appeared in the New Republic, Washington Monthly and the New York Post.

“The College of Idaho has long been known for helping young writers grow and hone their craft,” C of I President Marv Henberg said. “Christopher is continuing that legacy and we are pleased that our Class of 2014 will hear from a graduate who has achieved so much success as an author.”

Farnsworth came to the C of I expecting to pursue a career in law, but was persuaded by long-time writing professor and Idaho Book of the Year winner John Rember to pursue a career in writing. Farnsworth’s bestselling books have been optioned for film and television and translated into nine languages. His next novel will be published by William Morrow in 2015.

Commencement begins at 10 a.m. May 17 in Morrison Quadrangle at the heart of the C of I campus. The ceremonies conclude at approximately noon and will be webcast live at www.collegeofidaho.edu/videostream.

Successes mount for C of I lacrosse, ski and swim teams

Coyote Sports

The College of Idaho men’s basketball team enjoyed a historic season on the court this season, but the Coyote hoopsters aren’t the only student-athletes doing the College proud. Check out these updates for all the latest on C of I lacrosse, skiing and swimming. Go Yotes!

Lacrosse team seeks playoff run

Six months of offseason practice has paid off for the C of I lacrosse team, which won its first three matches of the season. Despite two recent losses, the team has its sights set on its first playoff appearance since 2010.

“The team this year can do it,” Yotes coach Matt Gier said. “We have a bunch of young men who are gifted athletically and have the drive to win and be successful.”

The team would love to see the YoteFam at its next game, set for 1 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at Symms Field. The Coyotes, who will take on the University of Portland, play each of their three remaining regular-season matches at home.

The Coyotes (3-2) have high hopes for the rest of the season, and beyond. Leading goal scorer Ian Williams (21 goals) is a sophomore, assist leader Dillon Green (18 goals, 11 assists) is a freshman and junior captains Austin Mendiola (16 points), Patrick Erstad (17 points) and Korey Gambill also will return next season to make a run at the conference championship.

“We have some tough games ahead of us,” Gier said. “But they are games we can win, if we play the way I know we can.”

Swimmers compete at nationals

A rigorous combination of swimming, weightlifting and dry land training helped 11 Coyote swimmers qualify for the NAIA Championships earlier this month.

“Our goal is to improve every year,” C of I coach Christine Mabile said. “We did the best we’ve ever done at nationals this season.”

The C of I women climbed four places from last year and made the top-10 with a ninth-place showing. The men placed 15th.

Mabile is incredibly proud of the banner year achieved by her hardworking team. Over the course of the season, the Coyotes set new program records in 14 women’s and 10 men’s events. Top performers included sophomore Tyler Maryon, sophomore Nolan Hill, junior Patrick Erstad – also a lacrosse captain – and freshman David Riser along with freshman Mckayla Stevens, junior Selena Warburton, sophomore Kirby Roberts and freshman Alexis Medelez.

Skiers rack up All-America honors

The USCSA National Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y, resulted in multiple All-America finishes for the Yotes, adding to the legacy of the College’s most nationally-decorated sports program.

Leading the way was junior snowboarder McKinley Carbone, who finished in the top-six in all five individual disciplines and second in the snowboard combined standings. Her four first-team All-America finishes pushed her career total to 12, making her the most decorated snow sports athlete in C of I history.

Junior skier Zach Shenk also earned All-America honors, as did sophomore Eleanor Tansley, who led the C of I women’s team to a second-place finish in the Skier-X competition.

Coach Ron Bonneau spoke highly of his dedicated athletes, who put in many hours of practice throughout the season. Coyote skiers and snowboarders train on the slopes of Bogus Basin three days per week – which requires 9 hours of travel – in addition to travel and competition on the weekends. After all of those hours, it all comes down to one quick run down the hill.

“What you have to appreciate is the process that got you there,” Bonneau said. “You have to value the fact that you made it to that place and were able to compete and put it all on the line.”


Spring 2014

College Events Calendar

Every Friday

Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History hosts public open house, 1-5 p.m., Boone Hall basement. Click for more information.

March 29

C of I Basketball Night with the Idaho Stampede, 7 p.m., CenturyLink Arena (Boise). The Stampede will recognize the Coyotes' outstanding season, and half of every ticket purchased by noon tomorrow will support C of I basketball. Call (208) 388-4667 for tickets, and be sure to mention the Yotes!

March 29

The College of Idaho Langroise Trio in concert, 7:30 p.m., Creative Access Art Center (Boise). Performing works by Eric Sandmeyer in conjunction with the Anne Frank Memorial.

March 31

'Implications of the Affordable Care Act for Idaho: An Educational Forum at The College of Idaho,' 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. (lunch served), Simplot South Dining Hall. Click to reserve your seat.

April 2

Abstract deadline for the ninth annual C of I Student Research Conference. Click for more info.

April 5

Gamma Phi Beta Crescent Classic Pancake Feed, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., McCain Patio and Pub. Grab a plate to support Gamma Phi Beta's philanthropy event. Cost is $5 for adults, $4 for students and $2 for children, with all proceeds benefitting Girls on the Run.

April 5

C of I sports trifecta featuring home games for softball (11 a.m., Symms Field), baseball (1 p.m., Wolfe Field) and lacrosse (1 p.m., Symms Field). Go Yotes!

April 5

C of I Softball/Volleyball Dinner Auction, 6 p.m., Simplot Dining Hall. Tickets cost $40. For tickets and info, contact Al Mendiola ([email protected], (208) 459-5113) or Liz Mendiola ([email protected], (208) 459-5858).

April 6

Trebelle piano/string trio concert featuring Robyn Wells, 7:30 pm, Langroise Recital Hall.

April 10

C of I Health Fair, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Simplot Dining Hall (conference rooms). Join us for vendor booths, free health information and screenings, snacks, door prizes and giveaways. For more info, contact campus nurse Barbie Vander Boegh at [email protected]

April 11

Whittenberger Planetarium public show featuring gas giant planets, 7 p.m., Boone Hall. For tickets and rate information, contact Kinga Britschgi at 459-5211. Click for more info.

Through April 18

Rosenthal Gallery of Art presents 'Balkanization,' an exhibition by Goran Fazil '01, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, Blatchley Hall. Click for more info.


Scholarship Gala 2014

The C of I once again extends its thanks to the many alumni, friends, staff and supporters who made the 2014 Scholarship Gala a huge success! The efforts of all involved – including a sellout crowd at the March 7 event in Boise – helped raise $161,000 for scholarships. A portion of those funds will aid the first-generation students who were honored at this year’s event, including Gala speaker Cristian Magallon (pictured). With the Gala in the books, the College has raised more than $160 million toward its Advance The Legacy campaign to raise $175 million by 2016. To learn more about Advance The Legacy, or to make a gift, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu/campaign.

The College of Idaho’s football season ticket event March 18 was a big success! KTVB News Channel 7 was on hand as reserved season tickets sold out, but new sections have been added since. Click here or call (208) 459-5223 to get your tickets today!

The College of Idaho wishes a very happy birthday to alumna Lucille B. Clark ’34, who celebrated her 102nd on March 15th. Clark, one of the College’s oldest graduates, still lives in her Oregon home between Vale and Ontario.


Check out the latest galleries on the C of I Flickr site, including photos from Pi Day, the AFRO Jazz Fest, men's basketball nationals and a friendly capture the flag game between students and faculty. Enjoy!

The C of I football team continues to make headlines, including a recent story by Idaho Statesman columnist Brian Murphy, a Statesman photo gallery of the program's first spring practice and a Twin Falls Times-News profile on new recruit Hank Boeger.

Congratulations to C of I alumna Alexis Bennett ’13, who has been hired as the assistant editor at Horse & Rider magazine. Bennett, who studied English literature at the C of I, was named Miss Caldwell Night Rodeo 2012 and recently completed a communications internship with the American Quarter Horse Association. Click here to read her introductory blog post for Horse & Rider!

Spanakos Brothers

Congratulations to C of I alumni Nick Spanakos ’60 and Pete Spanakos ’60, who have been inducted into the Daily News Golden Gloves’ inaugural Hall of Fame class in New York. The twin brothers combined to win 17 Golden Gloves titles between 1955 and 1964, with Nick representing the United States on the 1960 Olympic team and Pete making the 1959 Pan American Team. It is the fifth hall of fame induction for the brothers, who also are members of the C of I Hall of Fame. Click here to read more about these two C of I legends!

Tim Reinbold, executive chef for Bon Appetit at The College of Idaho, recently had a recipe featured in Unique Venues magazine. Click here to check out Tim's recipe for charred tomato & espresso bisque soup!