The View from T-Hall

A Common Cause

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As I meet UNH alumni at gatherings in Durham and Manchester and around the country, I am struck by the affection they have for the university, years or even decades after leaving campus. Alumni tell me about professors who influenced their lives, and their memories of campus traditions, like ringing the T-Hall bell after football victories or ordering a Big Guy and a Brown Cow from Karl's truck. (And yes, I know what that means—being a UNH president means getting up to speed on Karl's lexicon.) Alumni tell me how they follow UNH's athletic teams from afar, enjoy reading about alumni and UNH in this magazine, and make a point to visit campus as often as they can, to wander through old haunts and marvel at the changes.

These alumni prove that the University of New Hampshire is more than just an institution that offers a top quality education to its students. It's also alma mater to a huge and growing community of alumni who share an important, defining bond.

That's one of the reasons I'm particularly pleased that the UNH Alumni Association is embarking on a new approach to participation in the Alumni Association and the life of the university—membership that automatically includes all UNH alumni. This means that the university will no longer be asking alumni to pay dues to the Alumni Association.

I encourage you to read about the details of this new program in a letter from Gregg Sanborn '66, '77G, executive director of the UNH Alumni Association, on Page 40. But it bears repeating here that we want to be sure current dues-paying members know how much their loyalty and support is appreciated. We have relied on this support in the past, and we're absolutely going to need it in the future.

Speaking of the future, UNH is already a world-class public research university. But in order for this university to reach its potential, its graduates need to become actively involved. A force of 120,000 UNH alumni—that's a small city—all working on a common cause could make a real difference. The time commitment for each graduate would be small, but the combined impact of so much alumni energy could be dramatic. If you are interested in joining this effort, please visit to find out how you can help. Many of the suggestions, such as networking, will benefit you as well as the university.

I'd also like to announce another notable new initiative, The UNH Fund. Like its predecessor, the Annual Fund, The UNH Fund supports student success. In the past, alumni have told us that they receive appeals from many different offices at UNH; The UNH Fund will simplify and clarify that process and make it easier to make a charitable gift to your university. Your support of The UNH Fund will ensure that today's students have the same great UNH experience that you enjoyed when you were here.

As the story "Sticker Shock: What is driving the cost of higher education?" on Page 16 shows, UNH perennially finds itself in a financial bind caused by the pressure of increasing costs, insufficient state support and the need to stay competitive. The current economy only makes matters worse for the university and its students as well as their parents. If you are an Alumni Association life member or a dues payer, I encourage you to continue your support with a gift to The UNH Fund. If you have not yet given to UNH, I ask you to begin giving something, even if it's only a little. Every dollar helps. To read more about the new UNH Fund and to make a gift, visit

As I've gotten to know UNH over the past two years, I've noticed that the university has some of the personality of its first benefactor, Benjamin Thompson. He was known around town as a flinty, frugal farmer. He was also a shrewd investor who spent more than 30 years quietly amassing a small fortune for the express purpose of advancing a land-grant college in the state. This distinctly American form of higher education served to open the doors of college to students from less privileged backgrounds. Ben Thompson's vision and values—hard work, economy and careful investment for the future—are still very much in evidence here, and together we can make sure that the doors of UNH remain open to students from all walks of life.

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