Inspired by students' thanks, two alums contribute additional $1M for scholarships

Monday, July 10, 2017
Thompson Hall, UNH Durham campus

Thanks to the generosity of University of New Hampshire alumni Craig and Linda Rydin, students from Berlin High School who have been accepted to UNH will receive extra scholarship support.

The Rydins, who both grew up in Berlin, recently made a gift of nearly $1 million to UNH. This latest gift will nearly double the scholarship amount given to those students who are awarded the Rydin Family Scholarship each year.

“Craig and Linda are Berlin High School alumni who are very proud of their hometown and community, and they want to see these kids have opportunities at college and find success,” says Berlin High School Principal Kevin Carpenter. “This latest gift really will take the financial burden off of our scholarship recipients who are planning to attend UNH. It will eliminate cost as a barrier to getting that full four-year educational experience.”

For the Rydins, helping out students in Berlin who want to attend UNH is a perfect way to pay tribute to the two institutions that provided them with foundations for their own success.

“We both had a great education at Berlin High School, and UNH was wonderful for both of us, not just because of the academic environment, but because we built a lifelong set of friends at UNH, who we still spend time with today,” said Rydin.

“The scholarship has made my entire experience at UNH possible.”

For the past 10 years, need-based scholarships have been awarded to 20 qualified graduating seniors from Berlin High School, which includes students from Berlin and the surrounding towns of Milan, Dummer and Errol. 

“The scholarship has made my entire experience at UNH possible,” says Dustin Moore '19, who is majoring in biomedical science and plans to attend medical school. “Before I received this scholarship, it was looking like I was not going to be able to attend a four-year university. But with it, I found my home at UNH. I feel like a new person here, and I’m much prouder of who I am. This scholarship changed everything for me, and I will always credit the Rydins for taking part in any future successes I achieve in my life.”

The Rydins wanted to support Celebrate 150: The Campaign for UNH and inspire other donors to step up and reinvest in support of the area of UNH that means the most to them. But the most important reason they choose to give is because of students like Moore.

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“We get thank you letters from students who have received these scholarships, and they are always very appreciative, but what’s really moving to us is that they each have really great stories about what UNH has done to make their lives different; they are really relishing the opportunities UNH has offered them,” Rydin says. “We know we’re not the only reason these students are able to attend UNH, but those letters really sparked our interest in ‘doubling down’ on our investment in these young people. We’re hoping that we are elevating the opportunities available to those students with this gift.”

Linda Rydin graduated from UNH in 1971 with a bachelor’s in history, and Craig graduated two years later with a bachelor’s in political science. Craig is currently operating partner at LNK Partners, a private equity firm. He was previously chair and CEO of The Yankee Candle Company, and prior to that he spent 22 years with the Campbell Soup Company. Linda has worked at several organizations, including Physicians Health Services, Continental Forest Industries and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

“This scholarship in particular is so powerful for our students, because they share that hometown connection with the Rydins,” says Carpenter. “It’s great for students to see someone who came from Berlin who is extremely successful and who is giving back to the community. Unfortunately, Berlin doesn’t always get positive press … there are a lot of negative statistics that get magnified up here. But this is something really positive going on, and these are great, great kids, who are going to continue that trajectory at our state university.”