I hope this message finds you well and ready for the start of the new academic year. The summer has been very busy, with completion of the new outdoor swimming pool and Wildcat Stadium, and continuing work on Hamilton Smith, Hamel Recreation Center and other important facilities. This month, we welcome 2,900 first-year students to Durham—a class that has the strongest academic profile in our history. We also welcome Nancy Targett, our new provost.
We continue to prepare for the launch of our 150 th anniversary and the university’s most ambitious fundraising campaign at the end of September during Homecoming and Family Weekend. I hope you can join us on September 30 th for the Hear Us Roar event at the Whitt, along with other family-friendly events that weekend, as we celebrate our land-grant heritage and the future of this great university. You can learn more at www.unh.edu/150 .
In an effort both to provide an update on what is happening at the university and to hear from you, Provost Targett and I will be hosting a town hall style forum this semester (a date will be announced soon). I’ve enjoyed the Q&A portion of the State of the University in recent years and this forum will be an opportunity for even more give-and-take. There is always a lot happening at UNH, and rather than try to jam everything in to a single annual state of the university event, which tends, in my view, to be a bit stiff and formal, I’d like to do these more interactive forums every semester.
As we begin the new academic year, I want to provide an update on work we have been doing to keep our campus communities as safe as possible. More than a year ago, I created a task force on Title IX, led by Jaime Nolan, associate vice president for community, equity, and diversity, to look at all aspects of the topic including prevention, training, advocacy, policies, and campus climate. One particularly important area of focus for the task force was clarification of reporting responsibilities under Title IX. On the strong advice of university counsel, going forward, all faculty and staff will be required to report any and all instances of sexual assault that are disclosed to them. In the coming weeks, Associate Vice President Nolan and the task force will be sharing additional information about these expectations and how to report properly. Our goal is not simply to comply with the law, though we certainly seek to do that, but to ensure that our community is welcoming and safe for everyone and to foster a campus climate in which all can thrive.
Thank you for everything you do to make UNH such a wonderful place. I appreciate your hard work and dedication. Best wishes for a successful fall semester.
Mark W. Huddleston