The View from T-Hall

A Vision for 2020

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Happy New Year to you all and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2010!

On Feb. 2, I unveiled the 10-year strategic plan for the university: "Breaking Silos, Transforming Lives, Reimagining UNH." More than a year in development, this plan is the product of the creativity and energy of hundreds of people from the extended UNH community—faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends from Durham, Manchester and elsewhere in New Hampshire. Whether because of the diversity of input or despite it, the plan is crisp and focused. It is also inspiring. I urge you to read it and watch a video of the campus presentation—it's posted at—and to think about the part you can play in helping UNH realize its exciting goals.

At the heart of the plan is a call for UNH to reinvent itself—and, in the process, provide a new model for higher education generally. The first decade of the 21st century has foreshadowed the challenges that the next decade will hold—rising costs, changing demographics, new technologies and different learning styles, among others. If we are to meet those challenges, we must rethink almost everything we do and how we do it, all without sacrificing the core values that make UNH great.

Consistent with its fundamental theme of "breaking silos," one of the initiatives is a New Ventures Fund, which will enable us to launch new interdisciplinary and experimental programs of study and research. Another key initiative is the creation of new partnerships with the private sector to enhance the commercialization of intellectual property produced at UNH and to stimulate the growth of even more high-skill jobs in New Hampshire. Although this is something UNH already does well—a study last year found that UNH contributes $1.3 billion annually to New Hampshire's economy—we can and will do even more.

The education that UNH provides to the state and region has long been a linchpin in our contribution to the economy, of course. In a UNH Survey Center poll of more than 275 New Hampshire corporations, more than 50 percent of respondents indicated UNH played an important role by providing professional advice and assistance. More importantly, almost 40 percent said UNH played a significant role in their company's profitability, and one-third indicated the university was an incentive to keep their company in the state.

While graduates from all disciplines contribute to the state's financial and social well-being, our business school has played a particularly central role. This is why it is imperative for everyone to have a stake in the Peter T. Paul Challenge, which will fund the building of a world-class facility for business education at the center of campus.

Most of you have heard about this challenge, of course, but just in case you missed it, here is a synopsis: In June 2008, UNH alumnus Peter Paul '67 announced he was giving the university a $25 million challenge gift toward a new business college. In the 18 months since, the University Advancement office, Business Dean Dan Innis and I have been working assiduously to meet this challenge. To date, thanks to the generosity and foresight of many people, we've identified $10.5 million in matching money. Now, the push is on for us to raise the remaining $14.5 million so that we can break ground on the new facility in 2011.

What will this new facility mean for UNH? Certainly the new college will expand and improve the academic experience for students and faculty. Business and community leaders will also find a resource for best practices, professional development and future employees. It will be an important asset to all of us who are committed to business development in the state and the region. And it is important to note that the strength of the Whittemore name will remain with us. The UNH graduate programs in business will continue to honor Laurence Whittemore for the school's leadership in graduate business education.

We continue to have high aspirations for UNH. Alumni who graduated during the '70s may not have imagined an Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space. Graduates from the '80s may not have foreseen that UNH would be known globally for its expertise on rural poverty through the work of the Carsey Institute. We all know that UNH has an excellent dairy program, but who would have dreamed we would be the first land-grant university in the nation to have an organic dairy program? We have achieved many things because we strive for excellence and innovation. As you will see when you read it, our strategic plan builds on this history. You will also see that the vision it projects goes far beyond business education: It also charts a course for elevating our facilities in the performing arts and athletics. It imagines a UNH that is far more diverse and far more international. It calls for an even greater commitment to making UNH more sustainable and more affordable. UNH will be an even more amazing place by 2020. Please: Read the plan and help us realize the vision. This is your university and you are an essential part of this exciting journey. ~

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