Update #37 from President Dean

November 23, 2021


Dear Faculty, Staff and Students—

As we approach Thanksgiving, please accept my best wishes for a peaceful and restful holiday. Thanksgiving has always been among my favorite holidays; I appreciate the simplicity of a day to be thankful for our blessings. 

We recently dedicated the Health Science Simulation Center, a facility that expands and strengthens our ability to educate health professionals in fields such as nursing and occupational therapy.  It was inspiring to hear the students who spoke at the ceremony and showed us how they use the center to learn. Funding for the HSSC came from both the state of New Hampshire (for which we are grateful) and the university. Here is a video from the ceremony. 

An historical marker was recently placed on campus in Murkland Courtyard commemorating the School of Citizenship that took place at UNH in July 1919, in conjunction with the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave some women the right to vote. The school brought hundreds of women to campus to learn about civics, government and political issues, and gained national media coverage for the impressive turnout of women from various walks of life, as well as the importance of its mission. Thanks to Dean Michele Dillon, Professor Annelise Papinsick, Professor Virginia Walsh and Professor Nicole Ruan and the students in HUMA 700 for their research and for putting together this informative website about the School for Citizenship.

During the past month we have had two celebrations of faculty excellence, one to recognize (after a COVID delay) the winners from 2020, and one for this year’s winners. Both evenings provided important opportunities to recognize and thank faculty for their contributions to teaching, research and public service. I particularly enjoyed the student comments that were shared, often along the lines of “I thought that [this subject] was really boring but [award-winning professor] made it come alive for me and now I am going to major in it!” Well done and thank you faculty! You can see a full list of the winners here.

As you know we have been working diligently to continue to enhance the various financial, Human Resources and other administrative processes that were impacted by FAR, CERP, USHOP, STAR and other initiatives. While we are not yet finished, we have made important progress across the board: hiring processes are being streamlined and goods are being purchased more easily thanks to increased training opportunities with the new system, for example. A summary of the work that has been done and is in process can be found here .

I am happy to report that Durham has recently been ranked as #2 among the safest college towns in America. The ranking involves both violent and property crimes, and considered 422 communities. Durham was ranked #10 two years ago and #6 last year. Thanks to everyone, especially the UNH and Durham police departments, for helping to keep our community safe.

Finally, congratulations to Coach Marc Hubbard and the 16th ranked men’s soccer team for their home win over the University of North Carolina last Sunday in the second round of the NCAA tournament. (Be sure to watch this amazing and rare bicycle kick goal by Bridger Hansen.) This marks the second time in program history the Wildcats have advanced to the round of 16. Next up, a challenging road match up at No. 1 Oregon State Sunday, Nov. 28, at 9 p.m. (EST). Details of how to watch the game live will be available later this week on UNHWildcats.com.

I hope you are all able to take this extra-long holiday to relax and recharge. During a time of overlapping and seemingly unrelenting challenges (global, national and local, and for many of us, personal), it feels more important than usual to step back and be thankful. I am always particularly thankful for the talented and committed UNH community that I have the privilege to serve, and never more so than this year.

With my best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving,


James W. Dean Jr.


P.s. if you are interested in what I have been reading this month, please click here.