One of the great privileges of serving as editor of this magazine is having the opportunity to connect with so many of the university’s alumni. This issue’s sesquicentennial wrap-up, “150 Years of UNH Memories,” brought that home in the way few other stories have, and proved itself to be both the easiest and hardest project I have worked on in the process. Easiest, because it was such a pleasure to receive and read your many stories; hardest, because it was so difficult to shorten them for publication and decide which to print and which to put online!
As a Durham near-native with multiple family connections to the university, my UNH memories are nearly as plentiful as your own. Most of my earliest memories are of the men’s swim team and/or the phys ed department—my brother’s first birthday party, attended by a dozen or so Wildcat swimmers, faculty picnics at professor Tom Barstow’s house in Woodridge (digging ice-cold grape sodas from the bottom of a metal garbage can!) or professor Evelyn Browne’s property, Salty, on Durham Point Road.
Perhaps my favorite memory is of getting my SCUBA certification during a summer course in the mid-1980s. I was still in high school, and Liz Kintzing, who remains the university’s diving officer, taught the course, a combination of classroom instruction, practice dives in Swazey Pool and finally an open water dive at Nubble Point in York, Maine. I’d tagged along on many such dives when I was younger and my father was teaching the course; I’d envied his students as they’d wrestled themselves into their neoprene wetsuits and rubber flippers, shouldered their air tanks and checked their regulators and then slipped beneath the surface of the churning blue-green Atlantic on an oppressive August day. Donning my own wetsuit and plunging into that cold Maine water felt like a step into adulthood, both literally and metaphorically.
Many thanks to those of you who took the time to share your UNH stories with the rest of us, allowing us to close our 150th anniversary celebration in style. Your enduring affection for and attachment to your alma mater shines through in every line, reminding all of us how special it is to be a part of the Wildcat family.
Kristin Waterfield Duisberg
Originally published in UNH Magazine Spring 2017 Issue