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Alumni Gift Provides Momentum to Kingsbury Hall Renovation Effort

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

March 13, 2003


DURHAM, N.H. -- John H. Smith, a 1950 graduate of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, has made a $200,000 gift in support of the Kingsbury Hall renovation project at the University of New Hampshire. The gift is part of a $6 million private fundraising drive intended to complement the $44 million committed by the state through the initial stage of its KEEP-NH program, the plan to renovate the university system's aging science, engineering and high-technology facilities. Private funding will support the completion of the Kingsbury Hall renovation package with enhancements to laboratories, classrooms, library, and faculty and student workspaces.

"We are truly grateful for this generous gift from one of the university's most supportive alumni," President Ann Weaver Hart says. "The university's future is dependent upon the quality of its public-private partnerships, and Jack Smith's gift strengthens our ability to provide an exemplary facility for New Hampshire's only public engineering program. Our students and our state both stand to benefit from the successful completion of this important project."

Smith, who received his degree in mechanical engineering, is a resident of Scarborough, Maine. He began his career as a development engineer, experimenting with ramjet and liquid propellant rocket engines. He later became a chief engineer at a division of Gulf and Western Corp. As his career evolved, he was the founder and owner of Portland Valve Inc. -- a designer and manufacturer of valves for nuclear submarines -- until it was sold in 1983.

"My education at the University of New Hampshire paved the way for a challenging and rewarding career," Smith says. " It is a pleasure and an honor to be able give something back at this time of my life. The College of Engineering and Physical Sciences has always been known for the quality of its programs, the distinction of its faculty, and the caliber of its research. I'm happy to contribute to the revitalization of Kingsbury Hall and to play a part in providing up-to-date facilities for future generations of engineering students."

"Jack Smith sets a fine example as a donor and a friend of the university," says UNH Foundation President Young P. Dawkins III. "Thanks to his ongoing belief in the University of New Hampshire, generations of students will reap the rewards of a UNH education," he says of Smith's previous gifts to the university, which include a scholarship endowment for engineering students and a charitable remainder trust naming UNH a beneficiary.

"Jack is equally as generous with his time," Dawkins says. "He also gives us the benefit of his experience as a member of the President's Council Executive Committee and the newly formed College of Engineering and Physical Sciences' Alumni Society."

"The renovation will transform Kingsbury Hall into a modern structure that reflects the evolving nature of engineering and the college's aspirations for excellence," says Arthur Greenberg, dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. Plans for the new facility include new student project spaces that promote project-oriented teaching, teaching labs that integrate lab and lecture elements, high-tech classrooms that are wired to access the Internet for high-speed research, and an expanded library that will serve as the state's library of engineering, computer science and mathematics. "This is a building where we will train the engineers of tomorrow -- and it will reflect this new way of doing business," Greenberg adds. The renovation is scheduled to begin later this year.

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