Bird's Eye View
Like Benjamin Thompson, UNH's first benefactor, the Hubbard family has a vision that every worthy New Hampshire student should have access to a top-quality education.

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Willand Pond, photo by Frank Laferriere  border=
BASKETWORK: Oliver Hubbard '21 with egg baskets in 1925.

An excerpt from the new book, From the Ground Up: The Story of the University of New Hampshire Foundation, by Suki Casanave '86G with the UNH Foundation Directors Emeriti History Committee.

It all began with three brothers and their chickens. The university's greatest benefactors--Oliver '21, Austin '25, and Leslie Hubbard '27--grew up in a hardworking family on a small New Hampshire farm. When they returned home after graduating from UNH, they got busy applying what they'd learned to their business.

For more than half a century they worked together, breeding the now-famous chicken known as the "New Hampshire Red" and transforming what had begun as a one-henhouse operation into a huge corporation. Concentrating on research and development, the brothers applied advanced poultry genetics and modern management techniques to develop superior breeding stock that provided more meat and egg protein efficiently and at lower cost. By 1974, when the business was acquired by pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., Hubbard Farms had become a worldwide success, operating in more than 50 countries.

POULTRY PIONEERS: Oliver '21, Austin '25 and Leslie Hubbard '27 and their yearbook photos.

Along the way, the Hubbards, who believed deeply in the importance of public higher education, shared the fruits of their success with a host of organizations, including their alma mater. "We've always felt there was no reason for anyone from New Hampshire to go outside the state for the best education," Leslie Hubbard once said. "We wanted to make sure the same was true for generations to come."

With a series of generous gifts through the years, the Hubbard family has funded both scholarships and new programs at UNH, strengthening the university's reputation for excellence on all fronts--teaching, research, and public service. "The mark of the Hubbard family," says former UNH President Joan Leitzel, "can be seen everywhere you look at UNH." A partial list of Hubbard generosity might begin with the Austin Hubbard Endowed Scholarship, established with $3 million in 1996. The gift helps students with financial need--and reflects the Hubbard family's desire to make sure that all students, no matter what their financial situation, have access to a quality education. "That was a very big thing for him," notes Charles DeGrandpre, a foundation board member and attorney who has worked with the Hubbards throughout the years, "making sure that the money was going to a deserving student who had a legitimate need."

Oliver Hubbard '21, left, holds an example of the New Hampshire Red breed of chickens.

A gift of $10 million in 1996 from Oliver created the Fund for Sustainable Living Education, the first program of its kind in the country. The fund supports a multidisciplinary program in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture that teaches sustainable living based on sound science and emphasizes the connection among human beings, their communities, and the natural world.

Three more gifts from Oliver Hubbard that came in 1999 and 2000 included $2.5 million for the Hubbard Brothers Endowed Chair in the Biological Sciences, $2.5 million for the Biological Sciences Endowment, and $3 million for the Hubbard Center for Genome Studies, which is devoted to understanding the structure and function of genomes from across the spectrum of life.

In 1998, a gift of $2.3 million from Leslie Hubbard and his wife Iola created the Climate Change Research Center, where scientists work to understand and predict changes in New England's climate, weather, and air quality. "This was a project very close to Les's heart," says DeGrandpre. "The environment and preserving nature was a real passion for Les."

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