Mark Huddleston announced today that he will retire as president of the University of New Hampshire at the close of the 2017-18 academic year. When he steps down June 30, 2018, Huddleston will be the longest-serving president in the university’s 150-year history.
“UNH is a remarkable institution and serving as president has been the highlight of my professional life,” said Huddleston. “Everyone at UNH has worked hard to ensure the state’s flagship public research university is well positioned for the future. Next year is the right time to transition leadership.”
Huddleston’s retirement will coincide with the completion of the university’s largest-ever fundraising campaign, Celebrate 150, which is on track to raise $275 million. Over the last five years, the university has seen 250 percent growth in private fundraising, success that allowed UNH to launch the Granite Guarantee earlier this year, a new program ensuring that Pell-eligible New Hampshire students starting at UNH this fall will pay no tuition.
“Mark’s record of accomplishment is remarkable," says Tim Riley, chair of the University System of New Hampshire board of trustees. “Mark will leave a powerful legacy that will benefit our state’s citizens, employers and economy far into the future. UNH has great momentum right now and the trustees are committed to making sure that continues.” The board of trustees has a well-established process for presidential searches and will form a committee in the coming weeks to lead a national search for UNH’s next president.
Under Huddleston’s leadership, UNH welcomed the largest first-year classes in the university’s history; launched numerous new academic and research programs to meet the needs of society and the knowledge economy, including the UNH School of Law, the Carsey School of Public Policy, the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, and programs in data analytics, homeland security, and sustainability; made much-needed investments in UNH’s infrastructure, including expanding the Manchester campus, transforming Hamilton Smith Hall, building the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, expanding Hamel Recreation Center and modernizing Wildcat Stadium; and envisioned and created UNH Innovation to capitalize on the university’s intellectual property, building strong partnerships with business and industry in our region.
Huddleston led UNH’s management of the 2011 state budget cut — the largest single-year cut in public higher education history. With innovative structural and other administrative changes, Huddleston minimized what could have been drastic tuition increases and significant layoffs across the university while also protecting Cooperative Extension’s statewide presence and UNH’s excellent academic quality.
Huddleston noted that, while this is a natural point to reflect on past accomplishments, there is much to be done and he “looks forward to continuing to work at an unslackened pace in the coming academic year.” In addition to completing the university’s fundraising campaign, Huddleston will focus on solidifying the new Career and Professional Success initiative, improving Spaulding Hall for the biological sciences and laying the groundwork for modernized facilities for the visual and performing arts.
Prior to coming to UNH in 2007, Huddleston, 66, was president of Ohio Wesleyan University and before that spent more than two decades at the University of Delaware, including serving as the dean for the college of arts and sciences. A political scientist by training, Huddleston is the author of numerous books and served as an advisor in Bosnia on rebuilding financial and administrative infrastructures after the Dayton accords. He was the first person in his family to attend college, earning a bachelor’s degree at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.