President Mark Huddleston Delivers State of the University Address
By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
November 21, 2007
In a speech that provided an overview of the ways “UNH gets it right” President
Mark Huddleston offered praise for the university’s commitment to sustainability—in
particular, the in-progress EcoLine™ project that will have UNH using
methane gas from a landfill in Rochester to heat its buildings, a innovative
venture reflective of the university’s national leadership role in being
a sustainable university.
The comments were made when Huddleston delivered the State of the University
Address Thursday, Nov. 15, in the MUB’s Granite State Room.
Huddleston has been on the job at UNH for almost 140 days, having taken the
helm in July from interim President J. Bonnie Newman, whom he thanked during
his talk for her leadership.
During his address, he cited as other examples of getting it right the proposed
Center for Science, Technology and Management at UNH Manchester that will meet
the growing technological needs of the Merrimack Valley and the state, plus
the recently announced partnership between UNH Athletics and Richard Leiter
of Derry, owner of Better Than Fred’s salsa, to develop a private label
whose proceeds would benefit UNH athletic scholarships.
The greatest challenge facing UNH is access and affordability, Huddleston
said, pointing to a reduction in state funding that, coupled with rising costs,
has required students to take on more debt. The median debt of last year’s
graduates was $25,000.
“This is a figure that we have seen rise each year for more than a decade
and we can see no clear end in sight, even while we as an institution have
reached deeper into our own threadbare pockets to provide more need-based financial
aid,” Huddleston said, adding, “The current year's projected investment
in need-based grants is approaching $25 million. This is not something we can
continue to shoulder alone.”
He went on to say the state of New Hampshire needs to invest further in higher
education not only because it’s the right thing to do but because, as
a state, it is about “self-interest and survival” and the need
for a system where students can attend college without “literally mortgaging
To do that, revenue sources at UNH need to be diversified, Huddleston said,
and the university’s fundraising capacity has to be increased. With a
nod to the success of the University of New Hampshire Foundation, which raised
more than $12 million last year, the president stressed the need for a new
level of annual giving, major gifts and endowments.
Which means the next capital campaign will have to be more aggressive than
the $100 million drive that ended in 2002, Huddleston said. That will take
doing a better job of engaging alumni and the business and foundation community
while developing partnerships with those organizations whose interests are
aligned with UNH’s core principals.
Huddleston also stressed the importance of UNH maintaining its research base,
especially in today’s climate of reduced federal funding.
“As a result, we will need to target our current and future areas of
excellence especially carefully, and be very strategic about how we invest
in, support and grow the research enterprise,” Huddleston said. “But
invest in, support and grow the research enterprise we must…..We have
largely untapped potential to realize returns on our research efforts through
commercialization of our intellectual property. The opportunities here are
great, and it will be well worth our while to explore them vigorously.”
The new president closed his address by praising the university’s distinguished
faculty, staff and students. He noted that faculty members serve on National
Academy of Sciences and Engineering panels, federal agency science advisory
boards, and international commissions; are MacArthur, Guggenheim, Fulbright
and Carnegie Fellows and have shared in the Nobel Peace Prize and the Sayed
A copy of the full text of Huddleston’s address can be found at http://www.unh.edu/president/markhuddleston/speeches/sou2007.htm