The View from T-Hall

Visions of New Horizons

Shakespeare could have been talking about institutions as well as people when he observed, "There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune." Such a tide is rising now for the University of New Hampshire, and with the help of thousands of alumni and friends, we intend to take advantage of it. On Oct. 1 and 2, we will be holding a series of events on the Durham campus to officially launch the largest fund-raising campaign in the University's history. We are calling it "The Next Horizon: the Campaign for the University of New Hampshire," and our goal is to raise $100 million over the next five years.

The name of the campaign reflects our approach to planning for the University's future. We are looking farther ahead and setting higher expectations for this great institution. Over the past two years, the faculty, deans and administration have engaged in a dialogue about the course the University is to follow, identifying our strengths and assessing how to build on them.

We recognize that the essential core of any university is its people and its academic programs. Consequently, The Next Horizon campaign will focus on increasing support for UNH students and faculty, and for the academic programs in which they are engaged.

Private gifts have played an important role in the quality of education at UNH. Private gifts permitted us to furnish the public reading rooms in the renovated Dimond Library with appropriate, beautiful furniture.

Private gifts have been the margin of excellence in the University's Marine Program. Gifts enabled us to establish the University's Sustainability Program. Gifts make it possible for high ability, low income students to attend the University. Again and again, private gifts permit the University to leverage significant funds from the federal government and from industry in support of academic programs. In a very real sense, private gifts are the margin of excellence at UNH.

There is a critical need for student financial aid at the University. Students learn not only from the faculty who teach them; they learn a great deal from one another. For that reason, it is important that UNH continue to attract talented, motivated students from across the country, and especially from New Hampshire. To do this, we must build larger endowments in support of student scholarships. We are committing almost $30 million within the $100 million goal of this campaign for that purpose.

A second component of the campaign plan identifies more than a dozen academic programs in which UNH already excels and where we can move into the very top of those fields with a little additional investment. For some of these programs, what is needed is an endowed chair that will enable the University to hire a person of unusual distinction. In others, endowment money is needed to provide term professorships. These permit us to honor faculty currently at UNH with special titles and program support for periods of three to five years, thus encouraging them to commit their full careers to UNH. Still other programs can best be strengthened by an endowment that is flexible and can support the costs of travel, graduate student stipends and conferences. Endowments to benefit designated programs will help other related programs as well. Because UNH has many outstanding interdisciplinary programs, the outcome can be stronger academic programs across the University.

A third target for the campaign is one that I call "tools of learning." In this category, we hope to secure current-use money to provide the kind of technology, equipment and library acquisitions that today's academic programs require.

Planning for the campaign has given us a blueprint—actually a kind of road map—for building academic quality at UNH for the next decade. We have in place a professional and enthusiastic staff at the UNH Foundation. Staff members have been traveling across the country to talk to the University's graduates and friends about the potential for investments in the University at this time. I have had the great privilege of hosting presidential dinners in many locations over the last year. We are delighted by the response we have received on these occasions. When the campaign is announced publicly on Oct. 2, I am confident we will have substantial gifts and pledges in hand toward the goal of $100 million.

This campaign sets a significant challenge for the University's graduates and friends, but it is a challenge that is appropriate to our generation and one that promises to take UNH to its next horizon.

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