UNH Magazine’s Kristin Waterfield Duisberg recently sat down with President Mark Huddleston to learn more about UNH’s $275 million comprehensive campaign, “Celebrate 150: The Campaign for UNH.”
You’ve set a fundraising goal of $275 million for this campaign. What will that money make possible?
We have five major priorities: student support, programmatic support, faculty support, research and infrastructure. These are all important, but student scholarships and student support are particularly critical. Access and affordability — ensuring that all qualified students who want to attend UNH are able to — is our number-one priority. Programmatic support includes student internships and career development as well as larger initiatives like the new Carsey School of Public Policy. We have an outstanding faculty that we must continue to foster with endowed chairs and other resources. We’re a public research university, so we also need to continue to support the intellectual enterprise of our students and faculty. As for infrastructure, that’s a place where you can literally see campaign results already. Paul College and Wildcat Stadium are both terrific new facilities that we’ve been able to build because of The Campaign for UNH.
Speaking of Paul College, Wildcat Stadium and the Carsey School, we’ve made great headway on that $275 million goal thanks in large part to generous lead donors who have already made very significant gifts, right? What about alumni who might have five dollars — not five million — to give?
UNH Foundation board member Lynne Dougherty ’78 has a great quote about that: “There’s a campaign role for everyone.” Roughly 40–60 percent of our campaign total will come from our board members, who have indeed made tremendously generous gifts. But that still means 40–60 percent of the money will come from everyone else. A lot will come from our annual donors through The 603 Challenge and other efforts — those gifts are part of this campaign, as well. If every alum were to make a $50 annual gift to UNH, that would add $14 million toward our goal by the close of the campaign.
Well, there are a number of reasons. On one hand, you could ask, “Why not sooner?” This is really the first time in a very long time that we’ve had all the pieces in place — the people, the culture, the data — to launch a campaign. The 150th anniversary seemed like a propitious time to hit the button. And as I said at the kickoff, in many ways, this really is a golden age for UNH — we have wonderful students and faculty, and so much great work is being done here. What better time to celebrate history — or to make history?