The University of Idaho (officially abbreviated UI, but commonly referred to as the U of I) is the State of Idaho's oldest public university located in the rural city of Moscow in Latah County in the northern portion of the state. UI is the state's primary research university, and enrolls more national merit scholars than all other institutions in the state combined. In January 2012, the university enrolled the highest number of National Merit Scholars of any school in the Northwest; more than the other flagship institutions in the region with significantly larger enrollments. The University of Idaho was the state's sole university for 71 years, until 1963, and hosts the University of Idaho College of Law, which was established in 1909, accredited by the ABA in 1925, and remained until 2012 the only law school in the state. (Concordia University School of Law opened its doors in Boise in the fall of 2012.)
The university was formed by the territorial legislature of Idaho on January 30, 1889, and opened its doors on October 3, 1892 with an initial class of 40 students. The first graduating class in 1896 contained two men and two women. The university presently has an enrollment exceeding 12,000, with over 11,000 on the Moscow campus. The university offers 142 degree programs, from accountancy to wildlife resources, including bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and specialists' degrees. Certificates of completion are offered in 30 areas of study. At 25% and 53%, its 4 and 6 year graduation rates are the highest of any public university in Idaho, and it generates 74 percent of all research money in the state, with research expenditures of $100 million in 2010 alone.
As a rural land-grant university, UI has the largest campus in the state, located in the rolling hills of the Palouse region at an elevation of 2,600 feet (790 m) above sea level. The school is home to the Idaho Vandals, who compete on the Division I FBS (formerly I-A) level. The land-grant institution for the state of Washington, WSU, is located eight miles (13 km) west in Pullman. In addition to the main campus in Moscow, the UI has branch campuses in Coeur d'Alene, Boise, Twin Falls, and Idaho Falls. It also operates a research park in Post Falls and dozens of extension offices statewide.
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