The COLA community – local and global – boldly explores and deeply inspires

Monday, June 6, 2022
Michele Dillon standing in Murkland Courtyard

Dear members, alumni and friends of the College of Liberal Arts,

I am delighted to share with you our spring College Letter — its stories and news convey a few of the many wonderful things that make the College and UNH such a vibrant community. This past year has been yet another terrific year of dynamic learning, innovative and award-winning research, and extensive public engagement.

We had a beautiful commencement ceremony in May celebrating our new graduates, their families and distinguished alumni (photos here). We also were delighted to applaud our newly minted Ph.D. and M.A. graduates at a separate ceremony. UNH’s commencement speaker and the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate was Martin Kimani ‘96, a UNH philosophy graduate currently serving as the United Nations Ambassador for Kenya and a member of the Security Council (his speech here). We were honored, too, to present our inaugural College of Liberal Arts Impactful Alumni Award to Zackaria Bazzi ’08, a UNH psychology graduate (featured in this Letter). Please keep an eye out in September for the call for nominees for the 2023 award; I continue to be humbled and impressed by our truly awesome alumni and the impactful lives they lead, and this award is just one small way to give public affirmation to those accomplishments.

“...I continue to be humbled and impressed by our truly awesome alumni and the impactful lives they lead...”

We also saw our terrific alumni in action at our inaugural EMPOWER event, featuring COLA women graduates from an array of sectors who engaged in speed-mentoring conversations with our women undergraduates. I so enjoyed the energizing and productive inter-generational interactions that evening! We look forward to holding our next EMPOWER event in Boston, tied in with a larger UNH alumni gathering.

I am excited that the College’s renowned study abroad programs are in full swing. Our faculty-led programs in London and Budapest this spring went off very well, and faculty and students are now eagerly heading to our summer programs in Berlin, Greece, Granada and Belize as well as to COLA’s two new study destinations: Bologna and Dublin. Closer to home, the College has a new funding initiative to support students who participate in UNH’s long-established relationship with The Washington Center, which offers well-structured, impactful internship opportunities in D.C.

Another highlight has been the success of the Global Racial and Social Inequality Lab, established this past year. In January, the Lab provided faculty mentoring support and funding to 11 students to work on individual research projects of their own choosing; they each did amazing work across an array of topics that were at once intellectually fascinating, timely and with practical application. This summer, we are supporting paid community internships for nine students who will work for New Hampshire non-profit organizations while also participating in on-campus training workshops on research skills, technical writing and marketing. Another seven students will work as paid faculty research assistants.

“I love that our students are so willing to avail of the many high impact learning experiences the College provides, whether travel, research, ...internships...”

We were thrilled again this year to host several distinguished public lecture events, all of which addressed important issues central to the understanding of democracy, power and civil society. We welcomed Professor Annette Gordon-Reed for the Rutman Distinguished Lecture on the American Presidency, Professor Amy Binder for the Holden Lecture, Professor Eliza Bemporad for the Heilbronner Lecture and the Honorable New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice Gordon MacDonald, who spoke eloquently about the role of lawyers in civil society.

I’m also happy to report that we will hold a full schedule of in-person freshman orientation events this month as the College prepares to welcome a large class of 1,000 new first-year students in the fall, though not all who have made a deposit will eventually enroll.

I feel privileged every day to serve as Dean of such a fantastic College and am very grateful for the extensive work and support of everyone in our community at large, including the donors who give so generously during the 603 Challenge and throughout the year. I love that our students are so willing to avail of the many high impact learning experiences the College provides, whether travel; research – including authoring published papers and conference presentations; internships; participation in our award-winning Mock Trial and Model U.N. programs; and, of course, in the many phenomenal artistic performances, concerts and exhibitions throughout the year, including our Wind Symphony’s inaugural wind arrangement performance of Dan Brown’s “Wild Symphony,” with Dan Brown reading his authored story.

I wish you a wonderfully replenishing summer.


Michele Dillon
Dean, College of Liberal Arts

Jeremy Gasowski | UNH Marketing | | 603-862-4465