The View from T-Hall

Moving Forward

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Several weeks ago, I delivered a State of the University address to the campus community. We had just experienced Hurricane Irene, which came barreling up the East Coast straight at us, and the university had been forced to hunker down. I used the storm as a metaphor for another historic challenge--the state budget process. While we had expected a tropical depression with some damaging winds, the Legislature delivered Hurricane Concord, slashing state support for USNH by almost 50 percent.

When the Legislature went home in June, the UNH community was still here, like the storm-tested timber of our Granite State. Today, not only is UNH still standing, strong and resolute, we are moving forward. We are determined to do more than merely survive. We are determined to thrive. And we will grow stronger.

We are the university of choice for more than 3,000 first-year students who recently joined us. With some 13,200 undergraduate students and more than 2,200 graduate students on our Durham and Manchester campuses, enrollments continue to reflect the overall strength of the university.

And students are increasingly joining us via online e-learning classes, which are growing in variety and enrollment. More than 2,100 students participated in 88 courses in the past year.

Our commitment to cutting-edge education doesn't stop there. In May, we broke ground on the new Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, which will enable us to offer more students the opportunity to access new research tools, connect with alumni mentors and work side by side with business leaders.

Also in May, we celebrated the first class to earn degrees from the new UNH School of Law, which was created in 2010 through an affiliation agreement with Franklin Pierce Law Center. And this fall, the law school is teaming up with the Whittemore School to offer a dual J.D. and MBA degree program.

We have challenged faculty and staff to take UNH to the next level through the New Ventures Fund, launched last year. We are now awarding grants that promote interdisciplinary and collaborative research, teaching and engagement activities throughout the university.

UNH also continues to secure more federal research grants per capita for full-time faculty than any other land-grant university in New England.

Among our many areas of national and international distinction, UNH faculty continue their leadership in promoting scholarship and research in science, technology, engineering and math. It's exciting to see these efforts come to fruition through programs offered by the Joan and James Leitzel Center, the Judd Gregg Marine Research Complex, the Flow Physics Facility and the New Hampshire Space Grant Consortium, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.

The strength of our faculty research programs creates opportunities for student research to blossom year-round, culminating in UNH's undergraduate and graduate research conferences. This past year, the more than 1,200 student participants reflected an exceptional range and depth of student engagement with their faculty mentors and the networks of communities, schools, hospitals, nonprofits and businesses where they carried out their work.

We are being innovative as educators and collaborators, and we are also developing new funding sources that will make a UNH education more affordable. In fact, even as the state budget crisis was in full force, the UNH Foundation launched the Match UP program. Some 30 donors contributed nearly $1 million. That is a remarkable achievement in this economy. (See story on Page 16.) On July 1, UNH entered the planning phase for a comprehensive universitywide capital campaign. The details will be forthcoming, but I can tell you that this will be UNH's most ambitious campaign ever, and it will set a new standard for realizing our potential to serve the people of New Hampshire, the nation and the world.

We are emerging from a storm—weathered perhaps, but unbroken. We are emerging wiser, stronger and more hopeful. We realize that our success requires us to work together and to reach out to one another as never before. Our future is in our hands.

I look forward to many opportunities to celebrate our work in the year ahead, in these pages and elsewhere. ~

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