March 16, 2011
Dear Friend of Idaho State University,
Recently, I was proud to announce that, through the hard work of my colleagues, alumni and members of the community, Idaho State University was granted full certification from the NCAA after diligent work in the form of gender equity in athletics. We will soon celebrate the opening of a new softball complex, and we have increased funding to the program. Our athletes are enjoying new locker rooms for women's volleyball, softball and basketball. We've increased the number of athletic scholarships for women.
At Idaho State University, young women are fortunate to have many role models of leadership and success in research, academics and beyond.
Last month, more than 400 girls in kindergarten through sixth grade learned athletic and leadership skills that can turn into lifelong fitness at the annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Idaho State University's campus. At the event, girls learn sports such as fencing, kayaking, soccer, softball, tennis, hockey, rodeo and more from women student athletes and volunteers.
The event is a wonderful way for student athletes to provide a service to the community, but more importantly, it offers young girls the opportunity to learn from successful, healthy women. One parent from Franklin, Idaho, said the day offered her daughter opportunities not always found in her community. The family drives to Pocatello from their home near the Utah border just to participate.
National Girls and Women in Sports Day gives girls strong women to look up to, and a taste of what the community at Idaho State University can offer them as they grow older. The event has grown beyond Idaho State University. Today, ISU graduates currently at other colleges and universities are organizing similar events, based on the model created at Idaho State University.
The event's co-founder, Cynthia Pemberton, associate dean of the Graduate School, has dedicated her career to gender equity. Pemberton consults organizations at the national level on gender equity in athletics. Last fall, she was chosen as a delegate to the Vision 2020 national convention in Philadelphia. Vision 2020 is a national initiative of the Institute for Women's Health and Leadership at Drexel University College of Medicine that is "focused on ensuring equality by energizing the dialogue about women and leadership." Pemberton, like many of our faculty members, is a role model for girls and women who want to do great things.
National Girls and Women in Sports Day is just one of many events throughout the year that bring young people to our campus to learn something new and see what Idaho State University has to offer. I am proud of our faculty, staff and students for their dedication to the community, and for helping the next generation to succeed.
Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
President, Idaho State University