Presidential Award of Excellence
Coordinator - Special Student Programs
Office of Community Service
Marianne Fortescue in front of the Waysmeet Center, where "kindness abounds, and the door is always open."
If an activity on or around the UNH campus has something to do with UNH students and community service, the odds are Marianne Fortescue has helped to make it work.
Thanks to her enthusiastic support and can-do attitude, the Cornucopia Food Pantry went from doing 15 food baskets a year to serving members of the greater UNH community twice a week and providing more than 400 food baskets. Marvels one colleague, “Just getting the food to help more than 2,000 people wasn’t enough. Marianne made sure they were getting more nutritious and wholesome options.”
And when it comes time to assemble the baskets, Fortescue puts in countless hours to make sure the baskets get to those in need of food.
Fortescue mentors the students who coordinate the campus’ annual Relay for Life. This year, 950 walkers and dozens of volunteers participated in the American Cancer Society’s 24-hour fundraiser and raised more than $116,000.
There are countless events and projects, big and small, she has guided to success; but her most lasting impact can be found in programs like PrOVES, a volunteer experience for first-year students that gets them in the habit of community service before classes even start; and the Thompson School’s Community Leadership Program, which integrates service into the classroom.
Service comes naturally to Fortescue, who attributes her sense of community to growing up in a small New Hampshire town where “everyone knows everyone.”
“It sounds cliché to say that the reason I’m here is because I love working with students,” she says. “But it’s true. They have good hearts, they do good things, and they care. I fall in love with them and cry when they move on. Their success has nothing to do with me but my success has everything to do with them.”