Governor, Executive Council Receive Thanks, Recognize Excellence During Meeting at UNH

Governor, Executive Council Receive Thanks, Recognize Excellence During Meeting at UNH

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Gov. Maggie Hassan and the Executive Council held their regularly monthly meeting on the UNH campus today and university officials took the opportunity to offer thanks for their work to restore state funding for higher education. The restoration made it possible for UNH to freeze in-state tuition for two years, a move students celebrated at the meeting with a reverse commendation.

Led by student body president Bryan Merrill, the students shared the commendation for the governor’s work, noting that it was the first time in 25 years there was a tuition freeze.

“This is a great step in the right direction on what we believe must be an ongoing path towards a stronger University system,” read the commendation. “If our state and our school continue in this direction, this university can be an increasingly powerful driver for a New Hampshire economy and workforce that are both nationally and globally competitive.”

President Mark Huddleston also addressed the group offering his thanks for the funding restoration as well as stressing the university’s $1.4 billion economic impact on the state every year. He also noted that the commitment made by the state’s institutions of higher education to double the number of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates in the state by 2025 will also require a partnership with the state.

“UNH is at capacity with lab space and faculty for all STEM majors except computer science and we doubled our enrollment in computer science this year alone,” Huddleston said. “We need to continue to partner with the state.”

At the beginning of the meeting Hassan also recognized the work of three university programs with commendations.

Northeast Passage was recognized for its work to provide an environment where individuals with disabilities can enjoy recreation with the same freedom of choice, quality of life, and independence as their non-disabled peers. Hassan noted its designation by the U.S. Paralympics as the lead program in New England for providing services to veterans and developing a pipeline for emerging athletes with disabilities and its Similarity Awareness program, which has reached more than 10,000 New Hampshire school children. Northeast Passage has the largest adapted equipment rental program in the country and secured the only contract of its kind to provide in-home and community therapeutic recreation to veterans returning from war and those aging into disability.

The UNH Football Team was recognized for having the longest active streak of consecutive NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoff appearance; the success of coach Sean McDonnell, who received three coaching honors in 2012 alone; as well as the academic excellence of the team. UNH has a league-leading 24 members on the 2012-13 CAA Academic All-Conference Team and the team won CAA football’s Academic Progress Rate Award in 2010-11 and 2011-12 for maintaining the league’s highest academic success and student-athlete graduation rate. The team finished just one point away from attaining the same honor in 2012-13.

Project SMART (Science and Mathematics Achievement through Research Training) was recognized for its work building the workforce pipeline of the future over the last 22 years. Aimed at challenging, educating, and motivating talented high school students in science and mathematics while acquainting them with the university, the program has served more than 1,200 students and made connections with hundreds of schools across the nation. Hassan also noted the record-breaking balloon launch achieved in the space science module and highlighted that participating students are highly diverse and that the program sees an equal number of male and female students.