The Promise of a New Year

Welcome to a new semester at UNH

Thursday, August 31, 2017
Bookmark and Share

Dear Fellow Wildcats,

Welcome — or welcome back , as the case may be — to campus, whether in Durham, Concord or Manchester! This new academic year promises to be a great one for UNH. We have new deans to welcome — Megan Carpenter at UNH Law and Wayne Jones in CEPS; an exciting new partnership between UNH Manchester and ARMI, a major, federally funded regenerative medicine initiative aimed at producing human tissue at scale; and an expanded and beautifully renovated Hamilton Smith Hall, one of our most iconic buildings.

While we have much to celebrate, I know that many in our community feel a sense of anxiety in the wake of the hatred and violence that shook Charlottesville, Virginia, and much of the nation, this summer. We also witnessed deeply disturbing acts of racism and hate on our own campus last spring.

I want to assure you, once again, that the entire leadership team at UNH — from T-Hall to deans to coaches to the UNH Police Department to student life and beyond — is deeply committed to creating and sustaining a safe and inclusive community, one characterized by mutual respect, civil discourse and free expression.

I also want to ask for your help. The values that I referenced above — mutual respect, civil discourse, inclusion, free expression — can’t be instilled with edicts from the president, much as I might wish otherwise. Institutional values reflect institutional culture, which, if it is to be healthy, requires deliberate and thoughtful reflection and action by everyone in the community. To paraphrase Lao Tzu, our habits become our character, and our character becomes our destiny.

The Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate, which I announced earlier this summer, will guide some of these efforts to create good habits. Many, many other initiatives in healthy community building, from student-organized dinners and luncheon discussions on equity and inclusion to workshops on civil discourse and free expression, are already on the calendar. Find details and updates here in our " Build a Better UNH ” series on UNH Today.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you around campus this fall, perhaps at “U Day” on September 12 — my personal favorite day of the academic year!

Warm best wishes,

Mark W. Huddleston

This article is part of the series:

UNH campus aerial view
Resources for building a better, more diverse culture at UNH