DURHAM, N.H. -- Thanks to a gift from Durham native J. Morgan Rutman ’84 and his wife Tara, opportunities to learn and do research at the Shoals Marine Laboratory, a cooperative program of the University of New Hampshire and Cornell University, will be more financially accessible for current and prospective students. The Rutmans are passionate about investing their philanthropy strategically and used this gift to help the university strengthen its new marine school.
As part of a recent $1 million gift, the Rutmans allocated $375,000 gift to provide support for 10-week summer research internships; awards and scholarships to lower the cost of participating in a program on the Shoals for current students as well as high school students with an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and new curriculum development.
“The Shoals Marine Lab, under the direction of a new executive director, is a unique and valuable part of the university’s new Marine School, and we wanted our gift to have an immediate impact,” said Rutman. “We own a home in Rye, we love the ocean, and we wanted to advance one of the university’s top priorities. This initiative marries our interest with the university’s needs, allowing us to help UNH attract the best and brightest students to the university’s marine program, regardless of their financial means.”
Due to its location on a remote island six miles off the New Hampshire coast as well as a limited operating season in which the lab offers a vast array of educational and research opportunities, the operating costs are significant.
“This is an exciting time for the Shoals Marine Lab,”said Jennifer Seavey, executive director of Shoals Marine Lab. “The support of the Rutmans speaks strongly to the value of our mission to provide education and research programs that advance the understanding of marine and coastal ecosystems, and development of sustainable solutions to environmental challenges. The largest facility of its kind in the world, SML provides opportunity for field-based courses and research on a diversity of topics from gulls to seaweed. Many of our alumni report that their Shoals experience was life changing and credit our programs with positively influencing their career choices.”
Rutman is president of Willoughby Capital Holdings, a private investment firm in New York. He graduated with honors from the UNH Whittemore School of Business and Economics and serves on the UNH Foundation Board of Directors. His father was a professor of history at UNH from 1968 to 1984. In addition to their contribution to the Shoals Marine Lab, the Rutmans recently donated $500,000 to the stadium renovation that specifically supports the outdoor seating area for students as well as an additional $175,000 to create a lecture series on the American presidency to raise the visibility of the university and honor his parents.
“Almost all of the philanthropy that we have given to UNH has revolved around students,” Rutman added. “I strongly believe that the university exists for the betterment and service of our students, and with the guidance of President Mark Huddleston we want to help the university achieve its mission.”
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,300 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.
Photograph to be downloaded: http://www.unh.edu/news/releases/2014/06/images/shoals-1749.jpg