UNH President Mark Huddleston announces 2018 retirement

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
UNH president Mark W. Huddleston talking to a student

In May, UNH President Mark W. Huddleston announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2017–18 academic year. When he steps down on June 30, 2018, it will be as the longest-serving president in the university’s 151-year history.

“UNH is a remarkable institution, and serving as president has been the highlight of my professional life,” Huddleston says. “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.”

“Mark’s record of accomplishment is remarkable. [He] 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.”

Huddleston was installed as the university’s 19th president in a first-ever virtual inaugural — live-streamed from the Memorial Union Building to include remote “guests” — in September 2008. During his tenure, UNH welcomed the largest first-year classes in the university’s history; launched numerous new academic and research programs 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 the Hamel Recreation Center and modernizing Wildcat Stadium; and envisioned and created UNHInnovation to capitalize on the university’s intellectual property.

“Mark’s record of accomplishment is remarkable,” says Tim Riley, former 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.”

Far from resting on his laurels, Huddleston says he “looks forward to continuing to work at an unslackened pace in the coming academic year.” His retirement will coincide with the completion of the university’s largest-ever fundraising campaign, Celebrate 150, which is on track to raise in excess of $275 million and has, among its other successes, allowed UNH to launch the Granite Guarantee, a new program that ensures that Pell-eligible New Hampshire students starting at UNH this fall will pay no tuition. In addition to completing the Celebrate 150 campaign, Huddleston says he 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.

Not long after Huddleston announced his retirement, the University System of New Hampshire board of trustees named the members of the search committee that will be working in the coming months to help select his successor. USNH trustee and incoming chairman John Small ’76 will serve as the search committee chair, working with the following UNH and USNH-affiliated committee members:

  • Kass Ardinger, USNH trustee
  • Jamie Burnett ’95, USNH trustee
  • Heidi Bostic, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and professor of French
  • Kevan Carpenter ’94, director of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences Technical Service Center
  • Pat Closson ’95, incoming president of the UNH Alumni Association board of directors
  • Rick Cote, professor and chair of molecular, cellular and biomedical sciences in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture
  • Ted Dey ’84, search committee vice chair and USNH trustee
  • Lucy Hodder, director of health law and policy programs at UNH School of Law and the College of Health and Human Services Institute for Health Policy and Practice
  • Charlie French ’08G, community and economic development team leader for UNH Cooperative Extension
  • Dan Innis, chair of the UNH faculty senate and professor of hospitality management and marketing in the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics
  • Todd Leach, USNH chancellor
  • Brian McCabe ’91, incoming chair of the UNH Foundation board of directors
  • Melinda Negron-Gonzales, program coordinator for the politics and society program at UNH Manchester
  • Jamie Nolan, UNH associate vice president for community, equity and diversity
  • Tim Riley ’76, former chairman of the USNH board of trustees
  • Carley Rotenberg ’18, UNH student body president
  • Chris Sand ’09, ’11G, senior business services assistant at the UNH Facilities Business Service Center
  • Nate Stafford ’15G, external affairs officer for the UNH Graduate Student Senate
  • Palligarnai Vasudevan, senior vice provost for academic affairs and professor of chemical engineering for the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
  • Stan Waddell, UNH chief information officer

Outgoing USNH board chair Tim Riley notes that the presidential selection process is one of the most important responsibilities the board of trustees discharges, and that the inclusion of representatives from all three UNH campuses is by design. “We are truly grateful to these individuals for their active participation in the process to select the next leader of UNH,” he says.

Small adds that the group will follow an aggressive schedule but won’t trade speed for quality in the search for “someone who has a vision for UNH and a passion for higher learning, advanced research and service to the state.”


Originally published in UNH Magazine Fall 2017 Issue


Scott Ripley | UNH Marketing | scott.ripley@unh.edu | 603-862-1855