In the seacoast New Hampshire area, you’d be hard pressed to find a more involved UNH alumna than Jude Blake ’77. The Portsmouth resident has served or is serving on the University System of New Hampshire board of trustees, the UNH Foundation board of directors, the UNH Alumni Association board of directors and the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics advisory board. She mentors Paul students—to whom she fondly refers as her “kids”—and teaches beverage management classes. Several years ago, she created an endowed scholarship to support business students.
Now, she is building on that support with an $8 million bequest pledge that will provide further support to Paul College students and enable more students to participate in the university’s Northeast Passage program and the Shoals Marine Laboratory. Most of the bequest will provide scholarships for Paul students and address other needs that directly benefit business students.
“Jude is one of the university’s most passionate supporters, and her commitment to our students is inspiring,” says UNH President Mark Huddleston. “Jude’s generosity will ensure future generations of students have access to a world-class education as well as unique opportunities with Northeast Passage and the Shoals Marine Lab. We are grateful for her support and incredible generosity.”
Blake, a retired marketing executive, says she is pleased to learn her gift will advance the university’s fundraising goals, particularly during its first public campaign. “I believe that in a state like New Hampshire one person really can make a difference, and that if you have the capability to give back, you should,” she says. “Higher education is so very important. It’s the path to success in life, and making an outstanding UNH education more accessible and affordable for students is what drives me. It was important for me to make this gift now to recognize what Mark Huddleston has accomplished at UNH. It is because of his leadership that we are in the incredibly strong position we are in now.”
In 2016, the university’s sesquicentennial year, Huddleston launched CELEBRATE 150: The Campaign for UNH to provide critical support for students, faculty, infrastructure and programs. He says that Blake’s bequest is among a number of critical gifts that allowed university leadership to feel confident in setting its $275 million campaign goal.