In the Beginning

When the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts opened in 1868, it had “great expectations and unlimited possibilities,” and little else. It boasted no buildings, curriculum, or classes—not even a campus of its own. It had one full-time professor—the gifted and devoted chemist Ezekiel Dimond. It had a graduating class of three students—William Ballard of Concord, Lewis Perkins of North Adams, Mass., and Charles Sanders of Penacook. And it had a mandate to reach out to the people of the state: to “educate intelligent men in the broadest sense, worthy citizens of a state in which the people ultimately rule, and of whose dearest interests knowledge and virtue are the only safeguards.”

By the time Ballard, Perkins, and Sanders returned for their 50th reunion in 1921, they must have been amazed at how far their alma mater had come. The college had a campus in Durham, thousands of acres strong, with academic and dairy buildings, residence halls, athletic field, and a railroad station. University students had helped to dig ditches, grade athletic fields, and plant trees—a tradition of pride and involvement that continued through the 1940s.

The College Becomes A University

The Agricultural Experiment Station had made the College indispensable to the region’s farming community and state forestry since 1888, providing a rich source of research opportunity for faculty and students as well. The majority of students majored in liberal arts and were more likely to study English or history en route to becoming lawyers, teachers, or business people than they were to study botany or chemistry to prepare themselves to become farmers.

Everything had changed—everything except the College’s relentless drive to push itself to greater levels. By the early 1920s, students and faculty were pressing the state legislature to turn NHC into UNH—the University of New Hampshire. The feat was accomplished in 1923. By decade’s end, the marine laboratory on the Isles of Shoals would offer students the chance to study marine diversity off Portsmouth’s shore. Marine scientists would eventually make the city’s harbor the best surveyed body of water in the world.

To undertake for the state’s Depression-strapped industry what the Agricultural Experiment Station had for its farmers, the University created an “engineering experiment station” in 1929. Here, small firms lacking capital for research and development could submit, free of charge, problems for study—everything from learning about raw materials to designing more economical ways to run manufacturing plants.

The technological revolution continued through the war years and was bolstered later by the influx of students supported by the G.I. Bill.

The University Today

Today the University of New Hampshire is made up of dozens of academic departments, interdisciplinary institutes, and research centers that attract students and faculty from around the world. As state-of-the-art facilities are built to support academic growth, and new residence and dining halls are built to meet the growing popularity of campus life, the University continues to rest lightly on the Durham landscape. Some 13,000 students and hundreds of faculty and staff live and work easily amid the rolling hills and riverbeds of one the most beautiful campuses in the nation.
The University of New Hampshire is lean, strong, and highly responsive to the needs of its public mandate—one that increasingly results in productive partnerships not only with the state, but the region and nation. The University of today has met its greatest expectations and stands on the threshold of unlimited possibilities.

Look around the University today: what you see is not one, but a great many communities brought together in the process—at once profoundly personal and inextricably social—of discovery and engagement concerning issues of the greatest public importance.

You see a campus in which world class research centers and laboratories, graduate seminars, undergraduate honors classes, service-learning projects, and student internships have mobilized the University’s capacities for teaching, research, and partnership building.

You see faculty and students from health and human services and liberal arts working as part of the Carsey Institute to undertake applied and policy research on improving the quality of family life. You see business people gather through the Hamel Center with faculty and students from engineering and physical sciences and the Whittemore School to explore technological solutions to enhance the vitality of enterprise and business in the knowledge-based economy. You see researchers come together from across the University to undertake a ground-breaking study of the complexities of improving the region’s air quality in the era of modern industry.

Powerful Linking of Teaching and Research

Where the University of New Hampshire has linked teaching and research programs with the practical realities of life, it has set the international standard with centers and institutes whose names have become synonymous with excellence in such fields as computer interoperability, ocean mapping, child study and development, and experiential education.
Such research power translates into exceptional educational opportunities for our talented students. The University prides itself on graduating students who have undertaken significant research. In recent years hundreds of students, from all disciplines, have experienced the thrill of designing their own research projects, collaborating with faculty, and presenting their findings in a public forum. Robust undergraduate research programs enable students to conduct research year-round, as freshmen and seniors, on campus and around the world.

The University’s international research opportunities program was the first of its kind and serves as a model for others nationwide. Today the internationalization of the University is an accomplished fact. The study abroad program and international studies major are strong and growing. Faculty are in demand as visiting professors at universities around the globe (many as Fulbright Fellows), and bring their experiences back to Durham.


UNH offers a broad array of undergraduate, professional, and research and graduate programs. Nearly ninety percent of the full-time faculty members hold doctoral or terminal degrees, and many have earned national and international reputations.

The University of New Hampshire has a threefold mission: the scholarly functions of teaching, research, and public service.

Teaching. All undergraduate programs of instruction at the University are built on a program of general education. The objectives of general education carry through the undergraduate subject major, as students refine and apply their skills and discover the relationships among fields of study. At every level, students enjoy close contact with individual faculty members who are dedicated to research and scholarship; this is an advantage for students, because active scholars and researchers teach by sharing their own learning.

Research. The activity of research embraces all the arts and sciences at the University: it is an integral part of both undergraduate and graduate programs. In doctoral study, and in many master’s programs, thesis research is a primary mode of learning. As a land-, sea-, and space-grant institution, the University of New Hampshire has a special obligation to conduct applied research in the areas of agriculture, marine sciences, and engineering, and to disseminate the findings to the state and nation.

Public Service. The University fulfills its special responsibility for the welfare of the state through UNH Cooperative Extension, through the Division of Continuing Education, and through research and consultation on particular needs of New Hampshire citizens. The University is dedicated to collaborative learning inside and outside the classroom.


The UNH Library consists of the main Dimond Library, four specialized branch libraries, an extensive government documents collection, and the Douglas and Helena Milne Special Collections and Archives. In addition to more than a million volumes and 6,000 periodical subscriptions, the library has government publications, maps, sound recordings, compact discs, video cassettes, and manuscripts. The library offers extensive electronic resources including indexes in a wide variety of subject areas, databases supplying full-text periodical and newspaper articles, and statistical data sets. Experienced librarians and staff provide expert service to people seeking information or research assistance.

The library is a member of the elite Boston Library Consortium, whose members include some of the most well-known research institutions in the nation. Through the consortium, UNH faculty, faculty emeritus, students and staff at both the Durham and Manchester campuses have full access to a combined collection of more than 31 million volumes via interlibrary loan and on-site visits to member libraries.

The expanded and completely renovated Dimond Library combines the best traditions of the 19th century with the information access of the 21st. It offers three grand reading rooms, seating for 1,200 students and other researchers, computer workstations on every floor, numerous laptop computer hookups throughout the building, and 21 miles of shelving for books.

The four branch libraries specialize in science, mathematics, and engineering. The Biological Sciences Library is located in Kendall Hall, Chemistry Library is in Parsons Hall, Engineering/Mathematics/Computer Science Library is in Kingsbury Hall, and the Physics Library is in DeMeritt Hall. All branches have reserve materials, reference collections, circulating collections, periodicals, and electronic resources. All branch materials are indicated in the UNH Library catalog.

For more information on Dimond and the branch libraries, visit

The Campus

The home of the main campus of the University is Durham—one of the oldest towns in northern New England—near the picturesque seacoast of New Hampshire. The 200-acre campus is surrounded by more than 2,400 acres of fields, farms, and woodlands owned by the University. A stream flowing through a large wooded area in the middle of campus enhances natural open space among the buildings. College Woods, on the edge of campus, includes five miles of well-kept paths through 260 acres of forest.

During the last decade, major building and renovation projects have revitalized the UNH campus while maintaining its traditions. In 2002, the University celebrated the completion of Mills Hall, its newest and very beautiful residence hall. It also neared completion of the new Holloway Dining Commons. Renovations are planned for Murkland, Kingsbury, and Congreve Halls.

UNH’s Entrepreneurial Campus, a recent addition, is a dynamic concept and an actual physical space. The concept encourages innovative collaboration among industrial, government, and academic communities. The initial stages of this initiative focus on environmental technology, advanced communications and advanced materials. The campus consists of two buildings, one for environmental technologies and the other for computer networking/interoperability. Plans are currently being developed for additional buildings. The Entrepreneurial Campus is a place where business people, faculty members, researchers, and students work together, share information, and apply research to real-world problems.


The University of New Hampshire is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., which accredits schools and colleges in the six New England states. Accreditation by the association indicates that the institution has been carefully evaluated and found to meet standards agreed upon by qualified educators. Specialized programs of study are also accredited by various professional organizations.

All degree programs at the University are approved for veterans’ educational benefits. Individuals are encouraged to contact the veterans coordinator in Stoke Hall about specific questions.

The University supports the efforts of secondary school officials and governing bodies to have their schools achieve regional accredited status to provide reliable assurance of the quality of the educational preparation of its applicants for admission.

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University of New Hampshire
Office of University Publications
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