Dear Colleagues and Friends—
I hope that your summer is going well so far. I was able to take a family vacation on the Outer Banks of North Carolina last week. It was great to spend time with three generations of my family in this relaxed setting. I was able to finish David Brooks’ new book, and also to read Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, which is terrific. Finally, I read The Shanghai Free Taxi, by Frank Langfitt, which is fascinating. I chose this because I am headed to China next week to meet with university partners and alumni. I will let you know more about the trip in my next message.
Our budget for FY 19-20 was approved by the USNH Board of Trustees today. As I mentioned last month, we have some challenges due to our drop in enrollments, but we have plans in place to address this, which involve both revenues and costs. I will provide much more detail on this over the next few months. We remain optimistic about increased state funding, based on the budgets passed by the New Hampshire House and Senate.
As you know, one of our strategic priorities is Embrace New Hampshire. We recently held our first meeting of the Business Advisory Council, and are already seeing benefits from this group in terms of projects for UNH students and faculty. It is clear that the members of New Hampshire's business community are excited about deeper involvement with the state’s flagship research university. Over the past several months, I have also asked a number of business and political leaders in New Hampshire what they view as the top issues facing the state. Four issues emerged: economy and workforce; energy and the environment; healthcare; and education. In the coming weeks, we will be administering a survey for faculty and staff to better understand what UNH is currently doing on these four issues. Based on the survey results, we will share both our current programs and initiatives, and also look for opportunities to do more.
Finally, we recently held the largest alumni reunion in UNH’s history, with 930 people attending as part of special decade groups (Fabulous 50s and The Big 80s), affinity groups (90s RAs and Smithies), and classes from various decades, from 1959 up to 2014. It was great to see the enthusiasm and hear the stories of these alums. It reminded me that UNH has been a cherished institution for many years.
That’s all for now. I look forward to seeing you around campus soon.
James W. Dean Jr.