DURHAM, N.H. – Four enduring campaigns will guide the University of New Hampshire into the future, President Mark W. Huddleston said during his State of the University address delivered today (Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012).
Huddleston outlined the four campaigns during his talk: UNH 2020, the long-range strategic plan; a comprehensive fundraising campaign; UNH Works for New Hampshire, a bid to have state funding restored; and a campaign to restructure governance within the university system.
Huddleston noted that in just two years, the strategic plan has inspired 142 program initiatives. Progress can be marked by efforts that are “bending the cost curve,” helping to make UNH more affordable and accessible through costs cuts whenever and wherever possible.
Summer sessions, the January term and more than 100 online courses offered through eUNH allow students to graduate on time and start their careers with smaller student loans, he said. And a soon-to-be formed Presidential Commission will look at ways UNH can use emerging technologies and free courseware to enhance the quality and flexibility of its offerings.
UNH 2020 called for an increased global reach; to that end, the university’s partnership with Navitas, a program that recruits and supports international students, has grown to almost 200 students from 12 countries in just two years. And the Confucius Institute, a collaboration with Chengdu University in Sichuan Province, is bringing Chinese faculty to UNH while it also teaches the community about Chinese language, culture and economic issues, and invites UNH students to study in China.
During the last fiscal year, UNH achieved $160 million in research expenditures and a doubling of invention disclosures. These grants will allow UNH researchers to explore energy from the ocean, manufacturing on a tiny scale, and speedier computer planning.
“It’s not just the monetary reward we celebrate. These grants are independent validation of the creativity and accomplishment of our faculty,” Huddleston said.
He cited manners in which the university is engaged as other hallmarks of the strategic plan’s success, praising the diverse work of UNH Cooperative Extension experts throughout the state and highlighting efforts to bring locally and sustainably caught fish to market.
He also lauded UNH student groups for extending the university’s reach with dozens of community service projects such as Warmth from the Millyard, Trash 2 Treasure, Relay for Life, and Aspiring Hands.
UNH’s entrepreneurial endeavors are most visible in the new Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics that will be a hub for business innovation and an incubator for new enterprises, Huddleston said.
The UNH School of Law is also part of UNH’s entrepreneurial fabric. The new dual MBA/JD degree program is now entering its second year, and similar joint degrees with other colleges are in the works. This is a model for the kinds of interdisciplinary programs that are inspired by the strategic plan.
In May, UNH joined with the Community College System of New Hampshire in a commitment to increase the number of graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math – the “STEM” disciplines – pledging to double the number of STEM graduates by 2025.
Lauding UNH’s commitment to sustainability, Huddleston called sustainability “part of our DNA….embodied in everything we do, from how we teach to how we take care of our campus, to how we conduct research and support businesses and technology.”
Of the plan to launch a comprehensive fundraising campaign, Huddleston noted recent contributions, including a gift from Seacoast resident Jo Lamprey to support a Fellowship in Climate and Sustainability; a $1 million gift from Tom Haas to endow the Thomas W. Haas Professorship in Sustainable Food Systems; and a generous bequest from the estate of Marilynn Rumney, Class of 1952.
“Our ability to mobilize the support of our alumni, parents and friends in the ways I have cited is the reason why this past year was one of the best fundraising years in UNH history. Gifts and pledges were up more than 77 percent from the previous fiscal year, for a total of $22.5 million,” Huddleston said.
And then there is UNH Works, a campaign to persuade the Legislature to restore the historic cut it made to higher education. People can sign up to be advocates for UNH Works (www.unh.edu/works), Huddleston said, adding, “With your help, we can carry a strong and unmissable message straight to the State House in Concord.”
“This campaign is new ground for us. In fact, its scope and intensity is unprecedented for the University System – but our challenge in the Legislature is also unprecedented,” Huddleston said. In 2011, the New Hampshire Legislature cut public support for UNH by nearly 50 percent. “So, here’s the nub of our campaign in Concord: If the Legislature restores the base funding of $100 million to the University System, we pledge to freeze in-state tuition for the next biennium, increase significantly scholarships and grants that attract and retain New Hampshire's best and brightest students, and ensure that they can graduate on time, with the skills necessary to work and contribute to the state’s future.”
The final campaign is one for greater autonomy for UNH within the framework of the University System of New Hampshire.
“We are on the cusp of realizing far greater autonomy in a system of far less central control. This will give us—and our sister institutions--the ability to devise programs and make critical financial and human resource decisions in 21st century time,” Huddleston said.
Full text of President Huddleston’s speech is available online at http://www.unh.edu/president/state-university-2012.
Photograph available to download: http://www.unh.edu/news/releases/2012/oct/2012unhsou.jpg
Caption: University of New Hampshire President Mark W. Huddleston delivered his annual State of the University address Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012. Credit: Mike Ross, UNH Photographic Services
Secondary Contact: Beth Potier | 603-862-1566 | UNH Media Relations | @unhnews