From its founding in 1866 as the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, the state's flagship public university has proudly pursued its founders' goal of "fostering an educated citizenry" in New Hampshire.
First situated in Hanover in connection with Dartmouth College, New Hampshire College moved to Durham in 1893 after Benjamin Thompson, a prosperous farmer, bequeathed land and money to further the development of the college.
In 1893, Thompson Hall was completed, built with native granite and state-manufactured brick. That fall, with 37-year-old, former minister Charles S. Murkland at its helm, the College opened its doors in Durham. In his inaugural address, President Murkland spoke of the “full freedom of the highest intellectual fellowship,” committing the College to also embrace the liberal arts.
For more than a century thereafter, UNH grew exponentially as the GI Bill, the growth in academic fields of study, and expanding regional reputation brought waves of new students to the University’s campuses.
Today, UNH is not only a land-grant institution but also a designated sea- and space-grant University, and ranks among the top-tier research institutions nationally. The University comprises dozens of academic departments, interdisciplinary institutes, and research centers that attract students and faculty from around the world. As state-of-the-art facilities are built to support academic growth, and new residence and dining halls are built to meet the growing popularity of campus life, the University continues to rest lightly on old Ben Thompson's farm, where some 13,000 students and hundreds of faculty and staff live and work amid the rolling hills and riverbeds of one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation.