April 28, 2021
Dear Faculty, Staff and Students—
It feels as if we have finally reached a new stage of COVID. More people are getting vaccinated every day, enhancing their own health as well as public health. I strongly encourage all members of the UNH community to get vaccinated as soon as possible. High levels of vaccination will allow us to lift COVID restrictions and have a more normal and open campus environment. I had the opportunity to visit (safely) with a few members of our community this week, and I was struck by how much I had missed this. As we approach this new stage, please continue to wear your masks, observe social distancing and get tested. We will let you know soon about our operating environment for summer and fall.
We have a lot to celebrate this month. Undergraduate student Grace Roy has been named a Truman Scholar, marking the third year in a row that a UNH student has been so honored. Congratulations Grace! Here is a video of her finding out about this. A team of UNH Manchester students was chosen by NASA to send their experiment to the International Space Station; see the video here. In research, three professors from the Institute of Earth, Oceans and Space (EOS) have received grants totaling $3.8 million to study topics regarding climate change and space. Congratulations to professors Alexandra Contosta, Jennifer Jacobs and Chris Mouikis; learn more here . The finals of the Three-Minute Thesis Competition took place last week. Congratulations to graduate students Via D’Agostino, Jess Flarity, David Helt and Hannah Lightcap for their awards. You can view the competition here. U.S. News and World Report ranked our law school number four in the nation for intellectual property. And in athletics, congratulations to the UNH swimming and diving team for winning its America East record ninth conference championship and good luck to the men’s soccer team, #10 in the nation, as they get ready for the NCAA tournament.
Tonight, I am serving as the narrator for a performance by our UNH Symphonic Band of Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait. To watch the performance at 7:30 p.m. click here. Copland intersperses quotes from Abraham Lincoln into this piece of quintessentially American music. In a recent rehearsal, I was moved by the relevance of Lincoln’s words from 150 years ago to our lives today:
The quiet dogmas of the past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country. We here highly resolve that these dead [in Gettysburg] shall not have died in vain; and that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.
Next week is Unity Week at UNH, a time for us to come together as a community. You can learn more about the planned activities here.
I will have more news about our budget and the hiring of a new Chief Financial Officer soon.
All best wishes for a successful end to the spring semester,
James W. Dean Jr.
P.s. If you are interested in what I have been reading, click here for the latest additions to my book list.