Molly Donovan
Presidential Award of Excellence, 2018

Extension State Specialist

Much as vibrant downtowns are at the heart of healthy and thriving New Hampshire communities, Molly Donovan is at the center of UNH Cooperative Extension’s Community & Economic Development Program. As a state specialist, Molly oversees the implementation of Extension programs that include Community Profiles, an initiative aimed at increasing citizen engagement. She also manages Business Retention, which builds local economies by identifying the needs, challenges and opportunities of their businesses.

Molly’s deep experience in community engagement includes work in inner-city neighborhoods in Cleveland, Buffalo and Detroit, as well as rural communities in Michigan and New Hampshire. Since joining Cooperative Extension in 2012, she’s spearheaded a range of initiatives that have contributed to the wellbeing of New Hampshire and its many, diverse communities.

Molly is the go-to expert for municipalities and organizations that have questions about community development. She has worked with more than 50 cities and towns on their community engagement and planning efforts. And she has also served as a key public partner for a wide array of state agencies and organizations, helping to strengthen UNH’s reputation and brand.

As a graduate of UNH’s Research and Engagement Academy, Molly has contributed to the body of research around community development practice, developing best practices on topics such as community engagement, workforce housing and community-based quality of life. Her quality-of-life-focused work in particular, has given rise to civic engagement programs across the state. Today, these efforts are strengthening the social fabric of towns and cities, and nurturing the next generation of leaders.

A leader herself, Molly has also successfully engaged faculty and students in her work, from a highly specialized and resoundingly successful project to revitalize the city of Franklin, to two new programs that enable any state community to better see itself through the eyes of potential residents, visitors and businesses.  

Thank you, Molly Donovan, for your tireless work on behalf of our state, New Hampshire’s communities, and its residents and businesses.

About This Award

All members of the university community, including leadership, supervisors & managers, peers, colleagues and students may nominate any qualified staff member by completing the Presidential Award of Excellence nomination form online or by requesting a paper application from Human Resources and forwarding it to the Presidential Award of Excellence Peer Review Committee, c/o Human Resources, Nesmith Hall each year by the deadline.