May 27, 2020
Dear students, staff and faculty,
I hope you are enjoying this late spring/early summer season despite the challenges we are facing. We were sorry that our graduating seniors and graduate students finished their degrees this month without our customary celebration of their accomplishments. We provided a number of online recognitions and continue to plan and hope for an actual ceremony later this year. We will keep you informed as we have more information to share about commencement. In the meantime, we heartily congratulate all students who finished their programs in 2020 and wish you the best as you move to the next stage of your professional lives. Our Career and Professional Success (CaPS) team has put together a number of initiatives to support recent (and not-so-recent) grads as they pursue their careers. You can find them here.
Thank you to the entire university community for the superb work you have done in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Despite the significant threats to health and even life that the virus has generated, it has also brought out the best in so many members of our community. Many faculty, staff and students have found opportunities to go the extra mile to support one another, demonstrating once again that the UNH family comprises a great number of amazing people.
We are continuing to build out our plan for re-opening the university, as the state’s policies and the recommendations of public health experts evolve. We have committees working to address each of the topics you have all become so familiar with: testing, social distancing, quarantining and so on. We will continue to share these plans with you as they come together. For now, the best place to go for information is UNH’s COVID-19 website. We will continue to update this site throughout the summer and fall.
Next week we will have the near-final number of new students entering the university, an important component of our financial picture for next year and beyond. Our financial teams are preparing forecasts for fiscal year 2020-21. As you know, the virus has created serious financial problems for UNH, and we are making plans to address them. We are continuing to limit hiring, travel, spending and construction projects. I will have more to tell you about our financial picture within the next week or two.
In the good news department, anthropology Professor Megan Howey has been named a Carnegie Fellow for 2020. This prestigious fellowship is intended to advance research in the social sciences and humanities. Professor Howey’s work is on the impact of colonialism and the imprint of colonial legacies in the current geological age. Congratulations, Professor Howey!
Another interesting piece of news is that the New Hampshire House of Representatives will be meeting at UNH (at the Whittemore Center) on June 11. This is only the second time in history that the House has met outside of Concord and we are happy to welcome the representatives to Durham. They are meeting here to be able to practice social distancing as they do their work, which their normal meeting setting does not allow. Many UNH staff are working to ensure that their meeting is a success.
Finally, the 603 Challenge will run from May 29 to June 3. This is a very significant period of fundraising for UNH, and a number of alumni and supporters have created challenge grants to support virtually every element of our university. If you would like to participate or to learn more, visit here.
Please stay safe, everyone.
President James W. Dean Jr.