Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
I hope that your summer is going well so far, and that you all will be able to take some time to relax and recuperate after a trying year. The upcoming long holiday weekend is a great place to start!
We have lots of good news to celebrate at UNH. Here are a few examples:
- UNH ‘18 alum and former student-athlete Elle Purrier St. Pierre has qualified for the Olympic Games in Japan in the 1500 meters. She even set a new record in the trials. We wish her luck in Olympic competition. The New York Times recently featured her.
- UNH research continues to address important challenges in New Hampshire and beyond. Three UNH forestry researchers have received grants from the Northeastern States Research Cooperative to address issues of drought, migration patterns and microhabitats in northern forests.
- Our Faculty Excellence Award winners were recognized at the end of the Spring Semester. We are indeed fortunate to have so many gifted and committed faculty at UNH. To see those who were recognized this year, click here.
If you have been on campus recently, you may have seen our new students attending orientation activities, culminating in Become the Roar in front of Thompson Hall. To get a sense of what this event is like for our newest students, here is a brief video of the event from 2019. It was great to see parents included in this event this year. Thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to implement a successful orientation program, and welcome to all of our newest Wildcats!
Our 2021-2022 budget ($603.5M in operating expenses) has been approved by the USNH Board of Trustees. While we continue to face headwinds (particularly demographics), we are seeing some encouraging signs. We are experiencing increases in first-year and graduate enrollment. And I want to extend my thanks to everyone for careful management of our expenses. Building Financial Strength is one of our four strategic priorities, and our approved budget shows that we are making progress. Our new CFO, Marcel Vernon, starts next week and in the coming months we will share additional information about our FY22 budget.
Finally, we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic: new cases at the national, state and local level are all down significantly. The main force behind the improved numbers is, of course, vaccination. Nearly three-quarters of New Hampshire residents aged 18 and above have begun the vaccination process, and about two-thirds of us are fully vaccinated. If you have not yet been vaccinated, please do so as soon as possible! The higher the percentage of our community that is fully vaccinated, the more we will be able to completely re-open our campuses. If you have concerns about vaccination, this article may be helpful.
You may have read about legislation recently passed in New Hampshire that is relevant to our COVID efforts. For example, to address one issue many people have asked about, public universities in New Hampshire are now legally forbidden from mandating vaccination. We are still digesting the final versions of the bills that have been passed to understand what is permissible. But I want to reassure you that we will continue to make the health and safety of our community our highest priority, as we have from the beginning of the pandemic.
With all my best wishes,
James W. Dean Jr.