Home at last..

Hello everyone,

This will be my final blog.

We began our last day with a great business breakfast at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.  President Nellis talked about the beauty of our business relationships throughout the state.  Since partnering with Simplot about two years ago, we have been able to save the Parma Research Center.  Simplot did a yearly evaluation of their partnership with us and couldn’t find anything wrong with it.

We capped things off with an alumni luncheon here in Moscow that had one of the biggest turnouts of the trip.  It was nice to see familiar faces and finish the trip strong back here in the homeland.

This trip has been an amazing experience.  The people who I started the trip went from being strangers to family.  Together, we logged just about 1,500 miles, stayed in about five hotels, traveled to about 14 cities (and countless in between), had one plane ride and all had a great time.  I think I can speak for all of us when I say we all had a great time but are all happy to be back in Moscow.

Through my blog and pictures posted you have all been able to see the daily events and the people who were involved, but you may not know the names of everyone.  I want to give a special thanks to all those involved with this trip and especially the ones who made the trip.  Thank you to: Ysabel Bilbao, Ginny Boyle, Tim Helmke, Steve Johnson, Joni Kirk, Chris Murray, President Duane Nellis, Ruthie Nellis, Sandy Larsen, Samantha Perez, Juan Corona and Virginia Pellegrini.

I also want to thank those who were very much a part of the trip but were unable to go. Thank you to: Diane Gregg, Carolyn Leib, Brett Morris, Tania Thompson and Chris Cooney.

Without all of these great people this trip would have not been possible and it would not have been as fun.

Thank you all for reading my blog and for your comments.  I also want to thank all of those who attended our events.

I owe all of this trip to Joni Kirk in the University Communications and Marketing office.  She picked me to go on this trip and has been a huge influence on me.

I can’t end this without thanks President Nellis and his wife Ruthie.  They are two great people who made this trip what is was.  I am thankful they let me join them on this experience.

All I can say it WOW! and Go Vandals!!!

-Sam Chafe

P.S- I still have never seen Shoshone Falls but I will finally forgive Steve Johnson.

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Back to Work


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Last stop in CDA


Hello all,

This morning, we had an outstanding turnout at our business breakfast.

I bumped into another ATO. Darin Hayes from the pledge class of ’88. 

Now we are here at the Coeur d’Alene Press Mike Patrick, President Nellis and the new CEO/AVP of Northern Idaho, Charles Buck, are talking about the university moving forward.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, we are finally heading back to Moscow. We look forward to seeing familiar faces at our lunch event at the University Inn.

Check back later today for more pictures and updates.

-Sam Chafe

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Ruthie Nellis

Good evening,

Throughout this trip, we have had the pleasure of having the University of Idaho’s First Lady, Ruthie Nellis, with us.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that the University of Idaho had a program that helps disabled veterans — the Operation-Education program.  This program allows disabled veterans and their beneficiaries to attend the University of Idaho basically for free.  What you may not know is that Ruthie Nellis is co-head of this program with Bonnie Amos, the wife of the Commandant James Amos of the Marine Corps.  Commandant Amos, if you did not know, is a Vandal alumnus. Click on the picture to the right to see the Operation Education video featuring our very own Ruthie Nellis.

Ruthie is all about education.  I have learned through talking with various people that Ruthie Nellis, like her husband, has a passion for the students of the University of Idaho and is truly dedicated to helping the students as well as our veterans get the best education they can.

The University of Idaho is truly lucky to have President Duane Nellis and Ruthie.  Together they are working to make the University of Idaho a better place for higher education.

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Spokane and CDA

Hello everyone,

Today, we flew from Idaho Falls to Spokane, Wash.  The plane ride was amazing.  It was my first time being on a non-commercial plane. Here is a picture of the crew on the plane.  In this picture is Ginny Boyle, Ruthie Nellis, President Duane Nellis and Chris Murray.  As you can see everyone is reading different parts of the same newspapers.

Quick trivia, Can anyone name the mountain that is pictured below?

After landing in Spokane we were picked up by Joni Kirk, and she drove the president and me to KREM for a quick television interview. 

In the interview, President Nellis talked about the tour and how much of a success it was in reuniting with all of our Extension centers as well as showcasing our land-grant mission.

Follow the interview at KREM, we headed to an alumni luncheon out in the Spokane Valley.  We had a great turnout of passionate alumni and friends.  We had one special guest.  Maire Whitesel from the class of 1938 joined us.  She told the crowd how passionate she is about being a Vandal and that she hopes that when everyone else is 95-years-old that they can be as passionate about the University of Idaho as she is.  We surely appreciate her continued support and wish her the best.  Here she is pictured with President Nellis and Ruthie Nellis.

Follow the luncheon, President Nellis headed to an interview at the Spokane Journal of Business.  President Nellis talked about the university’s tuition increase and how the university is trying to make easier for students from out-of-state to attend the University of Idaho through the “Discover Idaho” scholarship.  If students qualify for this program, they can receive significantly cheaper out-of-state tuition.  It just shows how dedicated the university is in bringing the best students to Moscow or any of our satellite campuses. Pictured below is ASUI President Samantha Perez, President Nellis, Kim Crompton and myself.

After the interview, we all headed to Coeur d’Alene to settle into our hotel rooms while the president attends a business meeting and a dialogue dinner.

The trip is winding down as we head into our last day tomorrow.  In the morning, after some appointments, it is off to Moscow.  I want to thank everyone for following and for the comments.  I also want to thank all of the other staff members who made this trip amazing.  A lot of hard work went into this trip and there were some great people behind the scenes doing it.

Again, please comment and tell me what you think and if you would like to see anything else.

– Sam Chafe

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Back North


Hello everyone,

We are leaving Idaho Falls and heading to Spokane for day seven. I’ll check back in soon.

-Sam Chafe

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Hello all,

As expected the media events and the luncheon went great! Pictured here is President Nellis interviewing with KIFI before the luncheon started.

In attendance today was a special person.  ASUI President Samantha Perez’s father came out today in support of his daughter and her school.  Tony Perez is still getting used to all the silver and gold as he is a graduate of Idaho State University.

Luckily, he was able to walk away with some hardware today and he was presented with one of our metal Vandal signs that we have been raffling off. Here he is pictured below with his daughter Samantha, President Nellis and Ruthie Nellis.

We are wrapping up day six of our eight-day tour.  Tomorrow we will hop on a plane to Spokane and then head back to Moscow Thursday Morning.

Here is a little fun fact about the University of Idaho.  I have been told that 1/3 of all potatoes in the U.S were developed by the University of Idaho.  It’s not surprising seeing as how we are leading the state in research grants.  Go Vandals!

-Sam Chafe

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A Great Morning

Hello all,

This morning, we were lucky to have the Center for the Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) host our business breakfast.  CAES is a joint facility that we share with Idaho National Lab (INL), Boise State and Idaho State.  The president talked about the University of Idaho’s dedication to being a part of CAES with the other Idaho schools.

Follow the great breakfast, we headed to Rexburg.  For those of you who didn’t know, Rexburg is the home of BYU-Idaho — another Idaho university that we are always working with to better education in the state of Idaho. President Nellis interviewed with the Standard Journal’s Joyce Edlefsen.

Next up is an alumni luncheon here at the Hilton Garden Inn.  It will be another great event as we welcome Idaho Falls alumni, faculty and staff.

I’ll check back soon with details about the lunch and the other events from the day.

-Sam Chafe

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Another Great Day!

Hello all,

We had a great turn out at our luncheon in Arco today. Chad Cheney, who runs the U-Idaho Extension Center in Arco, was able to attend.  Cheney has given the university 27 years of great work.  For his dedication, he was awarded one of our great metal Vandal signs that we have been raffling off.

After lunch, we stopped for a quick interview at the Arco Advertiser.  The Advertiser has been running since 1911.  We even got to meet the current owner, Don Cammack, who is 95-years-old and still logs more hours than his employees.  He is pictured below standing next to President Nellis, ASUI President Samantha Perez, ASUI Vice President Juan Corona and his two sons who also work at the paper.

The next stop of our eight-day tour was Pocatello.  There the president interviewed with the Idaho State Journal and the Blackfoot Morning News.  President Nellis continued to stress that he is working diligently on re-establishing ourselves as the state’s land-grant university and the top research university in Idaho.

Following those interviews we had our alumni reception at the Red Lion in Pocatello.  We had many great alumni there including a few extra special alumni.  Don Burnett, Dean of the University of Idaho College of Law, and his mother, Doris Burnett.  Doris graduated from the University of Idaho in 1937.  It was great to see her still showing her Vandal pride. Pictured here is Doris, President Nellis, Dean Burnett and Howard Burnett, a Vandal friend.

For the second time in just as many days, I stumbled upon another ATO down here is Southern Idaho.  Kris Boatman was able to take time away from his new family to come down and show is support for the University of Idaho.  Boatman attended the university for three years before moving to Pocatello to be with his wife.  He is the only one in his family not to graduate from the University of Idaho, but he still loves the Vandals.  We hope that someday his daughter, Emma, decides to attend the University of Idaho.  Pictured below is Boatman, President Nellis and myself at the alumni reception in Pocatello.

It was on to Idaho Falls for the night after our great luncheon.  We have great day of events tomorrow before we head to Spokane on Wednesday.

I will check back in with you all tomorrow morning with more updates from this year’s leadership tour.

-Sam Chafe

Posted in Arco/Butte, Pocatello | 1 Comment


Hello everyone,

Day five of our eight day leadership tour with the president. We just arrived in Arco, population 1,022! Today we are having lunch the Golden West Cafe with this area’s Vandal friends and family. To get here, we went through some towns that I have never heard of like Terraton, Leadore, Carmen, Mud Lake, and Butte City made up of a total of 76 people.  This statewide tour is taking the president to places that we’re told no other University of Idaho president has visited before.

Here is something interesting we found in Arco when we arrived. Arco Number Hill is  covered with paintings of graduation years. It has been a tradition since 1920. Take a look at the sign for the whole story.

-Sam Chafe

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