The View from T-Hall

A Tradition in the Making

AT THE UNIVERSITY'S 135TH commencement, we reversed a curse while sowing the seeds for a new tradition. Rain, which had plagued recent ceremonies, held off long enough on May 21 to allow for a complete celebration of the day, including the induction of the Class of 2005 into the Alumni Association by Elizabeth Kilgore Hoadley '57, '72G, president of the Alumni Association's board. Perhaps our commencement speaker, Tom Werner, chairman of the Boston Red Sox—who knows something about the changing tides of fortune—had something to do with the day's success.

Werner, who is also co-founder with Marcy Carsey '66 of Carsey-Werner LLC, one of the most successful independent studios in television history, cited some of UNH's most cherished and diverse traditions. Among them: the Greek God Contest sponsored by Kappa Delta sorority to benefit Prevent Child Abuse America, and the throwing of a fish on to the ice following the first Wildcat hockey goal at the Whittemore Center.

This year, we may have been witness to a tradition in the making. When our guests from the Class of 1955 were introduced, a cheer of welcome resounded throughout Cowell Stadium. These alumni, who are observing their 50th Reunion year—another long-standing tradition at the university—were on hand to welcome the newest class of alumni with a challenge gift of $2,005 to fund its own future reunion activities. Their generosity links two classes with a half-century of history between them and encourages a common commitment to the ongoing success of this university.

Today's graduates enter a world that is marked by unrest and uncertainty, and is increasingly linked through globalization in technology, finance, politics, the arts and popular entertainment. It is a world defined by enormous technological advances and daunting political challenges. But they also share with the Class of 1955, and with you, the gifts of a UNH education. They are prepared to respond to these challenges, and they have benefited from being a part of a great public university that is grounded by its mission of teaching, research and outreach to the wider community.

The gift from the Class of 1955 represents the beginning of what I hope will become an ongoing tradition between the university's youth and elders—that as each 50th Reunion class approaches its milestone year, it will establish new links with its corresponding graduating class.

The Concord Monitor's editor-in-chief Mike Pride and his family were among the thousands who attended this year's commencement. With two sons, a daughter-in-law and another soon-to-be daughter-in-law as graduates, his family has already begun to appreciate the breadth of the UNH connection. Pride recently wrote, "UNH is a big school made small by its division into many academic endeavors. Our sons found their niches. They were guided by strong mentors who cared about how things turned out for them. They met like-minded and serious-minded students with whom to work and learn."

Our outstanding faculty and dedicated staff are behind this success, and so are UNH alumni. The active engagement of UNH alumni who contribute in countless ways—through their knowledge, their time and their generosity—strengthens the university immeasurably, and each successive class strengthens the world.

And as we enter a brave new globalized world, it is essential for UNH alumni to continue their involvement with their university and help its young alumni meet the exciting challenges that lie ahead. As the ability to communicate on a worldwide basis expands, it is important to act "locally" and remember the values of citizenship and service that are at the heart of UNH's excellence.

The late newscaster Edward R. Murrow once said, "The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it." The University of New Hampshire is fortunate in that it has alumni who are actively participating in an ongoing dialogue to enhance the UNH experience for its future students.

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