Previewing a year that will celebrate 150 years of the University of New Hampshire and the launch of the largest fundraising campaign in its history, UNH President Mark Huddleston said during his annual State of the University address on Tuesday that the institution continues to thrive.
Speaking to a full house in the MUB Granite State Room and to additional community members who watched the live-streamed event from their offices in Durham, Manchester and Concord, he identified five things UNH needs to do for the next 150 years.
“UNH was created in 1866, pursuant to the federal Morrill Land Grant College Act of 1862, to serve the public good — to benefit, in particular, agriculture and “the mechanic arts,” as the language of the time had it,” said Huddleston. “And 150 years later, in 2016, serving the public good is still our central purpose.”
In recognizing the university’s success, Huddleston noted that the largest incoming classes ever were accepted to UNH over the last two years, private donations grew nearly 250 percent in five years, new degree programs are meeting demand in emerging fields and the university continues to tighten its belt, saving $1.5 million last year through more efficient operations.
Huddleston cited a need for continued dedication to excellence in research, teaching and outreach while constantly looking for creative ways to be excellent. He also called on the university community to do a better job linking what our students do on our campuses with the lives they lead after they graduate.
“We need to move beyond the sterile and senseless debate about the purpose of college — is it for getting a job or learning for life? The liberal arts or a vocation? — and embrace both with vigor,” he said.
In addition to raising more private dollars, the fifth point Huddleston made was that in order to combat the image problem higher education has, UNH needs to do a better job of telling its story, highlighting the impact UNH has across the state and the world.
Huddleston ended the annual address by taking questions from the audience members at the event and via Twitter and email.
Read the speech here.