November 4, 2009
Dear Friend of Idaho State University,
Idaho State University has a lot to be proud of when it comes to our student athletes and our Athletics Department.
ISU's women's soccer team has won four Big Sky titles in the past eight years, and have won a berth in this season's Big Sky tournament. Idaho State track and field won three Big Sky titles in the last five seasons, and they have had national qualifiers in indoor and outdoor track in nearly every season in the 2000s. In basketball, our women won Big Sky conference titles in 2006 and 2007, and have advanced to the NCAA tournament or National Invitational tournament four times in the past six years. Idaho State track and field won three Big Sky titles in the last five seasons.
Even in our football program, there have been successes that are often overlooked. The team has sent 14 players to NFL camps, and six players have seen action in a regular season NFL game. The last two Super Bowls have had former ISU Bengals on the rosters. Former player Jared Allen became the NFL's highest-paid defensive player in NFL history in 2008.
Perhaps more important are our student-athletes' successes off the playing field. My own collegiate football career offered me the opportunity to attend college, and provided a gateway for my future success.
These are students who are dedicated to helping others as well. Through the university's P.A.W.S. (Proud Athletes Working and Serving) program, student athletes help the community, painting homes for the elderly, reading at elementary schools and volunteering at the Idaho Foodbank.
At a recent visit to Chubbuck Elementary School, ISU football players engaged in a fun-filled scrimmage. The children burst with excitement, showing how our student-athletes are inspiring role models for the next generation.
In all aspects of a university, support from our friends and alumni is crucial. Our Athletics Department has been honored to receive generous donations from supporters. ISU's football team has refurbished locker rooms and Holt Arena has a high- definition video board because of private funding and donations in recent months. Construction will start this winter on Miller Ranch Stadium, the future home of ISU softball. The stadium was made possible through a generous gift by alumna Sylvia Papenberg and her late husband and ISU Sports Hall of Fame member, Don "Pappy" Papenberg.
Athletics is an important part of the university experience for student-athletes and the community. Our athletes offer the community another way to connect with Idaho State University, and our programs offer recruiting tools and a true college experience for our students.
If you haven't attended a game or match at Idaho State University, I would encourage you to come and support our teams and our hard-working student-athletes. Bring your families — at our final home football game on Nov. 14 at at 3:35 p.m., children under 12 will be admitted free to watch the Bengals take on Portland State. We would love to see you there.
Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
President, Idaho State University