January 28, 2009
Dear Friend of Idaho State University:
Today I have good news to share on two fronts: I am very excited about the selection of our new Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and to report that Idaho State University had a record headcount for fall semester.
Our new provost, Gary A. Olson, is moving from one ISU to another — he is coming to Idaho State University from Illinois State University, where he was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. As dean at Illinois State, he was the chief academic officer of that institution's largest college and oversaw 16 academic schools and departments, two radio stations, a television station, a planetarium, four centers and an annual budget of $34 million.
Dr. Olson is a noted scholar of rhetoric and cultural studies, and a prolific writer and author. He has published nearly two-dozen books and 100 scholarly articles, book chapters and interviews. Readers of "The Chronicle of Higher Education" might also recognize his byline from his monthly column on academic administration. A celebrated teacher and scholar, Dr. Olson has won several awards for outstanding research and for teaching on both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
His experiences as an administrator and scholar should well serve him and our institution in the upcoming years. Dr. Olson begins his duties at Idaho State later this spring.
When Dr. Olson arrives, he will have plenty of students to work with. Idaho State enrolled a record headcount of 14,520 students during fall semester 2008. Last fall's headcount was up 2.44 percent, or 346 students, from the previous autumn. Of that total 12,794 were academic students and 1,726 were technology or professional technical education students.
The biggest increases came from the Early College Enrollment program that allows high school students to be dually enrolled in Idaho State University classes and receive college credits from them. There also was increased enrollment in the College of Technology. Some academic programs, such as the nuclear engineering program, reported increased enrollment.
Due to a variety of enrollment efforts, including a new emphasis on targeting graduate and transfer students and working on student retention, we expect these positive enrollment trends to continue.
Please join me in welcoming our new provost and our new students.
In closing this letter, I must switch to a more somber tone to note the passing of two great friends of Idaho State University: this institution's seventh President, Carl W. McIntosh, who died at age 94 at his Bozeman home on Jan. 19, and North Idaho businessman and philanthropist Harry F. Magnuson, who died at age 85 in Spokane, Wash., on Jan. 24. Magnuson was a 1944 graduate of ISU's V-12 College Navy Training program and has been a generous supporter and active alumnus of ISU, and our alumni house bears his name. We mourn the loss of these two men, but celebrate their lives, their achievements and the legacies they have left at Idaho State University.
Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
President, Idaho State University