Hamel Scholars News

Dana Hamel  honored at New England Higher Education Excellence Awards

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From left: Devin McMahon, Alana Davidson, Eden Suoth, Dana Hamel, Paige Balcom, Emily Balcom, Crystal Napoli, and Ian MacKay,

Boston, Mass., 3/4/2016

Several members of the Hamel Scholars Program travelled to Boston to honor philanthopist Dana Hamel, the program's benefactor. The New England Board of Higher Education recognized Mr. Hamel with the New Hampshire State Merit Award. The Board noted Mr. Hamel's endowment of the Hamel Scholarships and Hamel Scholars Program, which benefited from a major gift last year; his earlier gifts to the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research and the Hamel Student Recreation Center; and his service on the investment and finance committees of the UNH Foundation, as well as the New Hampshire Historical Society. 

Devin McMahon, Alana Davidson, Eden Suoth, Paige Balcom, Emily Balcom, Crystal Napoli, and Ian MacKay, all recipients of Hamel Scholarships, joined a group of UNH staff and faculty at the awards ceremony.





Universities Join Forces to Aid Partners in World Health

South Portland, Maine, 11/7/2015

First year UNH student Grace DiPersio (center) and Senior Sara White (left) sort recycled surgical tools at Partners for World Health.

First year UNH student Grace DiPersio (center) and Senior Sara White (left) sort recycled surgical tools at Partners for World Health. 

Elite students from two universities teamed up on Saturday, November 17, joining forces to work for the global good. Members of the Hamel Scholars Program at the University of New Hampshire, a group of Honors Program students who are committed to leadership and service, and the Honors Leadership Development Scholars at the University of Southern Maine organized a joint day of service, with the goal of building bridges across state lines while making contributions that extend into the rest of the world. 

The students spent the day with Partners for World Health, a Portland-based nonprofit organization that recycles medical supplies to support healthcare access in developing countries in Asia and South America. This organization was chosen to host the event because it is entirely volunteer run: PWH depends on the time and energy of local volunteers to fulfill its admirable mission.

"This collaboration is a first for UNH and USM honors students," said Sara Clarke-Vivier, the coordinator of UNH's Hamel Scholars Program. "It provides them with a great opportunity to strengthen their personal networks by meeting other local students who are engaged in service work.”

“The story of Partners for World Health is also an amazing one for these students to hear: this organization, with a powerful international reach, was started by a Portland-based nurse who saw that what was taken for granted and disposed of in the medical communities here could have a powerful and transformative impact on medical access for people around the world," Clarke-Vivier continued.

About 40 student volunteers spent Saturday sorting, processing, and packaging medical and school supplies to be shipped to Partners for World Health collaborators around the world. Students compiled packs of pencils, notebooks, textbooks and backpacks for Syrian refugee students living in Turkey. Others processed and packaged oxygen masks, surgical supplies, and hospital draping for use by medical professionals in several African countries as well as Burma.

“This work was really hard, but since you knew what, and who, you were doing it for, it was really worth it,” said Megan Verfaillie, a first-year student at UNH.

Elizabeth McLellan, PWH’s founder, told the volunteers that she is always looking to grow the volunteer base for her organization, but urged the students to make a sustained commitment to any work in which they find meaning-“Find something you believe it,” she said, “and follow that path. Walk over the bumps in the road because you know the service you are doing is worth it.”

This is the first time UNH and USM have joined together to broaden their impact through collaborative volunteerism. "Regional collaboration among public universities is a win-win for everyone involved: students, faculty, and communities. Our honors students get to meet and exchange ideas with other bright, ambitious students, while addressing important community needs," explained Jerry Marx, the director of the UNH Honors Program and a longtime Portland resident. 

Contact: Sara Clarke-Vivier

(603) 401-8240