UNH Media Relations
DURHAM, N.H. – In a speech that provided an overview of the ways “UNH gets it right” University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston offered praise for the university’s commitment to sustainability—in particular, the in-progress EcoLine™ project that will have UNH using methane gas from a landfill in Rochester to heat its buildings, a innovative venture reflective of the university’s national leadership role in being a sustainable university.
The comments were made when Huddleston delivered the State of the University Address Thursday, Nov. 15, in the Memorial Union Building’s Granite State Room.
Huddleston has been on the job at UNH for almost 140 days, having taken the helm in July from interim President J. Bonnie Newman, whom he thanked during his talk for her leadership.
During his address, he cited as other examples of getting it right the proposed Center for Science, Technology and Management at UNH Manchester that will meet the growing technological needs of the Merrimack Valley and the state, plus the recently announced partnership between UNH Athletics and Richard Leiter of Derry, owner of Better Than Fred’s salsa, to develop a private label whose proceeds would benefit UNH athletic scholarships.
The greatest challenge facing the University of New Hampshire is access and affordability, Huddleston said, pointing to a reduction in state funding that, coupled with rising costs, has required students to take on more debt. The median UNH debt for last year’s graduates was $25,000.
“This is a figure that we have seen rise each year for more than a decade and we can see no clear end in sight, even while we as an institution have reached deeper into our own threadbare pockets to provide more need-based financial aid,” Huddleston said, adding, “The current year's projected investment in need-based grants is approaching $25 million. This is not something we can continue to shoulder alone.”
He went on to say the state of New Hampshire needs to invest further in higher education not only because it’s the right thing to do but because, as a state, it is about “self-interest and survival” and the need for a system where students can attend college without “literally mortgaging their futures.”
To do that, revenue sources at UNH need to be diversified, Huddleston said, and the university’s fundraising capacity has to be increased. With a nod to the success of the University of New Hampshire Foundation, which raised more than $12 million last year, the president stressed the need for a new level of annual giving, major gifts and endowments.
Which means the next capital campaign will have to be more aggressive than the $100 million drive that ended in 2002, Huddleston said. That will take doing a better job of engaging alumni and the business and foundation community while developing partnerships with those organizations whose interests are aligned with UNH’s core principals.
Huddleston also stressed the importance of UNH maintaining its research base, especially in today’s climate of reduced federal funding.
“As a result, we will need to target our current and future areas of excellence especially carefully, and be very strategic about how we invest in, support and grow the research enterprise,” Huddleston said. “But invest in, support and grow the research enterprise we must…..We have largely untapped potential to realize returns on our research efforts through commercialization of our intellectual property. The opportunities here are great, and it will be well worth our while to explore them vigorously.”
The new president closed his address by praising the university’s distinguished faculty, staff and students. He noted that UNH faculty members serve on National Academy of Sciences and Engineering panels, federal agency science advisory boards, and international commissions; are MacArthur, Guggenheim, Fulbright and Carnegie Fellows and have shared in the Nobel Peace Prize and the Sayed Environmental Prize.
A copy of the full text of Huddleston’s address can be found at http://www.unh.edu/president/markhuddleston/speeches/sou2007.htm