“Students get hands-on experience that can change the course of their career without having to travel too far.”
It was love at first sight when Mike ’64 and Bea Dalton visited Appledore Island off the coast of Maine almost a decade ago. They attend a biology-focused weekend program at Appledore’s Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML), which is run jointly by UNH and Cornell University. It wasn’t long before the Daltons had made as indelible a mark on this “amazing gem” as it had on them. The depth of their commitment to a place — and a school — they love is evident in their recently established bequest, which will augment existing funds in their name at both SML and UNH’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS).
Mike Dalton studied electrical engineering at UNH and stayed connected to the university throughout his 35-year career at Unitil Corporation, where he served as president from 1984 until his retirement in 2003. He served on the UNH Foundation Board and was president of the CEPS alumni board for many years, and in 1998, he and Bea established the Mike and Bea Dalton Scholarship at the college. This merit award allows CEPS to provide more financial security to outstanding students so they can invest their time and energy in their studies, says interim CEPS dean Chuck Zercher.
On Appledore, Mike saw another opportunity to benefit CEPS students and further SML’s mission by building and expanding the lab’s environmental sustainability program. He helped start the SML sustainable engineering internships, paid summer positions on the island for up to four students each year. Interns work with SML staff and professional engineers to study, recommend and implement sustainable systems on Appledore. “Students get hands-on experience that can change the course of their career without having to travel too far,” says Bea.
“We’re such believers in education. Anyone you can touch in any way — that’s the key to the future.”
“Since 2006, the intern program has had huge positive impacts on dozens of engineering students as well as on SML’s physical sustainability infrastructure, from our solar grid to wastewater treatment,” says Jennifer Seavey, Kingsbury director of SML. Mike also brought Unitil engineers to the program. When he retired, Unitil stepped in to help support and expand the program in his honor, but Mike still traveled to Appledore to work with interns until 2016.
Bea emphasizes that their bequest, when realized, will go to discretionary funds that the Daltons currently support at SML and CEPS. It’s important to them that each area decide how the funds can best be put to use. “Mike and Bea get operational needs and see opportunities to enhance our mission, expand our network and get things done,” says Seavey. “The bequest is so wonderful because Mike’s input to the island is already legendary. This gift will help SML continue to be a leader and world-class educator in environmental sustainability.”
“We’re such believers in education,” says Bea. “Anyone you can touch in any way — that’s the key to the future.”