The View from T-Hall

A Call to Action
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AS PART OF THE TRADITIONAL OPENING OF THE academic year, I had the honor of posing with more than 2,700 new UNH students for the annual class photo on Thompson Hall lawn. When we were finished, one young man walked up to me and introduced himself as a recipient of a Hamel Family Scholarship. He shook my hand, thanked me, and told me what a huge difference it made to him and his family. In turn, I thank every one of our readers—alumni, parents and friends—who has helped make a UNH education possible for this student, and countless others. But we can—and need to—do more.

Alumni from generations past have always helped define a UNH education. Many of you would not be where you are today without a helping hand from a UNH graduate. Perhaps you were the beneficiary of a scholarship. Many, many UNH alumni have been. Each of you benefited from gifts that supported the superb faculty members who changed your lives. All of you experienced enriched programs and improved facilities that made your education a better one. It's your turn to give the students of today—and tomorrow—the same opportunities.

In order to continue to provide the excellence we all value, your participation is necessary to establish a culture of philanthropy and set a new course, one in which commitment to the University of New Hampshire is a shared objective, defined in large part by your engagement with your university.

As you well know, the cost of a UNH education is high. Last year alone, more than 6,000 UNH students received assistance through scholarships and grants. But the gap between what families can afford and what we can supplement continues to grow. State support continues to erode, and, at a level that hovers around 14 percent, remains the lowest in the nation. On the other hand, debt burdens are high. The typical UNH student graduates owing more than $26,000—one of the nation's largest debt loads. Helping qualified students afford a UNH education is one very important way that you can give. Given the state of the economy, they need our help now more than ever.

There are many reasons and many ways to contribute. Every gift makes a difference. Some, like the recent Peter T. Paul challenge gift and the Hamel Scholars Program endowment, grab the headlines, and rightfully so. (See stories on Page 32 and Page 6, respectively.) Yet, many acts of generosity happen in unexpected places and unexpected ways. Recently, some UNH students became philanthropists by establishing the Danielle Marie Thompson Memorial Fund, after their beloved friend unexpectedly fell ill and tragically died. Some donors pay tribute through book funds, lectures or scholarships named in honor of a favorite professor. Every gift has value. Every gift has a story to tell.

A donor's commitment to UNH makes it possible for students such as senior Gabriel Perkins to take advantage of all that a world-class education has to offer. I met Gabriel, who is a Presidential Scholar and University Honors Program student, last spring. Although he is majoring in both English and environmental science, volunteering as a Big Brother in nearby Dover, and putting himself through college, what Gabriel really wanted to talk about was his recent experience studying with fellow students in New Zealand as part of UNH's EcoQuest program. He said, "I felt like we were teetering on the edge of something life-changing." When people support such life-changing opportunities as these, they become partners in shaping a new generation of leaders.

Fundraising is not just a financial transaction. It is a way for alumni and friends to renew, reaffirm and re-establish ties to the university in a meaningful way. When you give, you stay connected. When you hear about the triumphs of a UNH student or young alum, you are a participant in the celebration. Your gift has changed a life and you are forever a part of that transformation.

Please join us in this excellent and worthwhile adventure. Visit for information on how to make a gift. We all want to make a difference and leave the world better than we found it. What better way than to give? In doing so, you can acknowledge a favorite professor who had an impact on your education, help create access for a student, expand programs or develop new ones. You can help support current faculty members, attract the best and the brightest students and faculty to UNH, and help the world to understand how valuable the University of New Hampshire—your university—truly is.

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