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2018 January - First Friday Letter

Dear friends, 

Happy New Year from Lewis-Clark State College. 2017 was a wonderful year for LCSC and what an amazing year 2018 promises to be. LCSC is an institution on the move and an institution that will never stray from its guiding theme – to provide students with the best education possible. 

Thanks to the foundation laid over past decades, LCSC enjoys the benefits that come from a solid footing and elevated standing. For example, the Idaho administration and legislature rallied behind LCSC and appropriated $10 million in support for the construction of a $20 million Career & Technical Education (CTE) facility in the Lewiston Orchards. This ambitious project will result in a state-of-the-art CTE center that will serve the needs of students, industry, and Idaho for years to come. I remain truly grateful to the administration, legislature, and to all those who had a hand in bringing the project to fruition. An added bonus is that this approval was almost simultaneous with the passage of the Lewiston Independent School District’s bond to build a new high school adjacent to our new facility. Truly, the future is bright for students in the region. 

May’s graduation ceremony also stands as a major highlight of the past year. Every commencement is special as we experience first-hand the joy of students, parents, friends, and faculty and staff as goals are achieved and dreams realized, but 2017’s was especially memorable because it marked the largest graduating class LCSC has ever seen. Truly, we are in the business of helping students achieve their educational goals and business is booming as judged by three straight years of record graduation numbers. 

Three straight years seems to have been the theme for 2017. Our Warrior baseball team claimed its 19th national title by winning the Avista-NAIA World Series for a third consecutive year. We do not take the success of our baseball team, and the positive impact it has had on our institution, for granted. Beginning with its first national championship in 1984, the LCSC baseball program has played a key role in the growing recognition of our college and continues to stand as an example of our institution’s drive for excellence in everything it does. I hasten to add that excellence in collegiate athletics isn’t limited to baseball at LCSC. The Warrior women’s basketball team certainly made us proud as well with its impressive runner-up finish at the NAIA national tournament. 

Our students also excel in the classroom and after they have completed their degrees. There are no better examples of this than students in the LCSC Nursing program as it continues to grow in numbers and excellence. This fall 42 of our nursing students completed the basic BSN track and another 30 finished our ever-expanding online RN to BSN track. These numbers resulted in a packed house at the Williams Conference Center graduation ceremony in December, and I’m told that the majority of the graduates already have jobs lined up. Many will fill roles at nearby regional healthcare facilities, but also in Coeur d’Alene, Spokane, Boise, Seattle, and some are heading to positions across the country including in Missouri, Minnesota (at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester), and Virginia. Given the quality of our nursing programs, it did not surprise me that Best College Reviews rated LCSC’s online RN to BSN program in the top 20 of such programs throughout the nation. 

All of LCSC’s highlights in 2017 are too many to mention here, but here are a few more. A new Movement & Sport Sciences Division was created, collaboration and credit transfer agreements were signed with China’s Baicheng Normal University, a new mission statement and core themes were developed and approved by the Northwest Commission on College and Universities, the Lewis-Clark Service Corps received a substantial grant to continue its Americorps program, the Business Division had its accreditation reaffirmed, a National Science Foundation grant of $839,809 to help regional metal manufacturers address workforce needs was awarded to LCSC and its program partners, U.S. News and World Report once again ranked LCSC as one of the best colleges in the West, a new LCSC-backed manufacturing pilot program was launched, Best College Reviews ranked LCSC as the No. 1 school for non-traditional students in the nation, and LCSC’s number of first generation students grew to 76 percent of total enrollment in the fall. 

I’m sure 2018 also will bring many successes and achievements, however, this year will be special because Jan. 27, 2018, marks the official 125-year anniversary of our fine institution. To honor the occasion, LCSC will host a very special event at the Silverthorne Theatre and I encourage you to attend. The gathering, which kicks off a yearlong celebration, will include a keynote address by historian and LCSC alumnus Steve Branting as well as a documentary produced by our Communications and Marketing Department. For more information about this event and others, and all the ways you can join in the celebration, visit: https://125.lcsc.edu.  

I’ll be passing the baton of leadership to Lewis-Clark State College’s 16th president this summer. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself as there is much work to be done this spring and much celebrating to do throughout the year with the anniversary, but because this is the last “year-in-review” piece I will be authoring, I’d like to close with the following sentiment. 

It has been my pleasure to serve these past seven and half years as president of Lewis-Clark State College. LCSC is a remarkable institution. Its students and graduates are unique, focused, talented, tenacious, and well-rounded. Its faculty and staff are exceptional, hardworking, sincere, selfless, creative, and dedicated. And its alumni and friends are generous, engaged, caring, and truly committed to the success of our students. LCSC has a wonderful 125-year history and a bright future, and Diane and I have been honored to be a part of it. 

Sincerely,

 
J. Anthony Fernandez
President, Lewis-Clark State College