UNH Foundation

The Next Horizon

 

Campaign Gift Honors Outgoing President

By Sarah Aldag
University Relations and UNH Foundation
(603) 862-3235

June 26, 2002


DURHAM, N.H. -- A $2 million gift from Leslie S. Hubbard, Class of 1927, will establish the Joan and James Leitzel Center for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education at the University of New Hampshire. The endowment pays tribute to the extraordinary leadership and contributions of Joan Leitzel, the university's 17th president, who retires at the end of the month, and her late husband, James, a renowned scholar and beloved professor of mathematics.

Leslie Hubbard has been among the university's most generous benefactors, supporting programs in the marine and biological sciences, climate change and athletics. Over the decades, Hubbard and his brothers, Oliver '21 and Austin '25, have made a series of important gifts that have allowed for the university's growth in its academic programs and in its scholarship funds.

"We've always felt there was no reason for anyone from New Hampshire to go outside the state for the best education," says Hubbard, "and we have always wanted to make sure the same will be true for generations to come."

The center will engage university scientists and mathematicians as well as mathematics and science educators in research and its applications in order to improve the quality of teaching in these critical areas. "The Joan and James Leitzel Center for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education provides us with a unique opportunity to combine our considerable expertise in the sciences and mathematics with our strengths in teacher preparation," says David R. Hiley, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "It will allow us to do an even better job of working with New Hampshire's teachers and their students by applying these new findings to the classroom experience at the primary, secondary and higher education levels."

During her six-year tenure at UNH, Leitzel initiated the $100 million Next Horizon campaign, the most ambitious fundraising effort in the university's history. The gift that bears her name brings the campaign total beyond the $103 million mark. "I am honored to be recognized in this way, " says President Leitzel. "The University of New Hampshire holds a very important place in this state. It also holds a singular place in my heart. I am grateful for the generosity and the vision of this gift, which will have a lasting and positive impact on the future."

"It is fitting for President Leitzel to be acknowledged with this gift that closes the campaign," says Young P. Dawkins III, president of the UNH Foundation. "Her belief in the potential of the University of New Hampshire has positioned us for a new era of achievement and excellence."

Leitzel earned a B.A. from Hanover College, followed by an M.A. from Brown and a Ph.D. from Indiana University, all in mathematics. She held faculty positions in mathematics before moving into administrative positions at The Ohio State University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the University of New Hampshire, where she served as its president from 1996-2002. She was also the National Science Foundation's division director in the Division of Materials Development, Research, and Informal Science Education. Leitzel has authored numerous publications and delivered scores of presentations on mathematics and mathematics education, served many professional associations, and received numerous honors, including The Ohio State University Distinguished Teaching Award, the National Science Foundation Director's Award for Management Excellence, and the UNH Pettee Medal. She currently chairs the Mathematical Science Education Board of the National Research Council at the National Academy of Sciences.

James R.C. Leitzel earned a B.A. and an M.A. from Penn State and a Ph.D. from Indiana University, all in mathematics, and served on the mathematics faculty at The Ohio State University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the University of New Hampshire. He was nationally known for his research and expertise in mathematics education and teacher preparation. A prolific author, he was also a well-known speaker who chaired numerous national committees on undergraduate teaching and programs. He is especially remembered for Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching), a year-long professional development program for new or recent Ph.D.s in the mathematical sciences.

The Joan and James Leitzel Center for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education is the third interdisciplinary center to be created during the course of the Next Horizon campaign. The Hamel Center for the Management of Technology and Innovation and the Carsey Institute for Effective Families and Communities were established in 2000 and 2002, respectively.

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