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A Letter From President Huddleston

September 5, 2007

Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff,

I am delighted to welcome you to a new academic year at the University of New Hampshire. I have already had the privilege of meeting many of our new faculty and incoming students and they, like me, are excited about our new beginning at UNH.

Since I arrived in July, I have spent much of my time walking around our beautiful Durham campus, acquainting myself with our numerous facilities and getting to know the people who make this such a special place.

I’ve gotten to see some of our world-class research labs and to visit our exceptional art gallery. I’ve also wandered through the library, become familiar with the MUB and Holloway Commons, taken tours of some of our farms and fields, seen the new pier under construction in New Castle, attended a football scrimmage and met some of our exceptional student athletes. I’ve also dropped into UNH-Manchester and visited some of our Cooperative Extension offices in the North Country. One thing is clear to me: UNH is a great place, and wonderful things are happening here.

Who could resist the excitement surrounding the announcement that UNH Professor Emeritus Charlie Simic was named the nation’s Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress? If anyone has not yet read his poetry, you must. For years, Professor Simic’s work has left me in awe and it is a privilege for all of us to be associated with him.

Over the summer, work began on EcoLine, a renewable energy project that will pipe enriched and purified methane gas from a landfill twelve miles up the road in Rochester to our co-generation plant on the Durham campus. Very soon, more than 80 percent of our energy needs will come from this environmentally friendly source. UNH is the first university in the nation to undertake a project of this magnitude, and we should all feel really good about it. Ecoline is the smart thing to do for our pocketbook and the right thing to do for the environment.

As most of you know, UNH will host a nationally televised presidential primary debate on Wednesday, September 5. For those of you unable to attend the debate, it will be broadcast live at 9 p.m. on September 5 on the FOX News Channel. Your patience for this huge undertaking is appreciated, especially from everyone in Athletics, although I have been assured that despite any lost practice time in the Field House or the Whitt, the UNH Wildcats teams will STILL trounce everyone else in our conferences.

And speaking of Athletics, the home opener for UNH football is September 22 against Dartmouth. Join us at Cowell Stadium for an afternoon of Wildcat pride. And in the meantime, be sure to congratulate the coaches and student athletes involved in our women’s field hockey and volleyball teams. So far, they are both undefeated.

Once all the media and politicians leave town after the FOX debate, there is a full slate of campus-wide events coming up. The first is our Academic Convocation, followed by University Day on September 18. This year’s Discovery Program theme is “We Hold These Truths: A University Dialogue on Democracy.” Its Web site quotes John Dewey, who wrote 118 years ago: "Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife." As teachers and learners in a public university, it is imperative that we all renew our understanding of democracy as both an ideal and a work-in-progress. This year's University Dialogue will be a valuable tool for that renewal—as will the quadrennial onslaught of Presidential candidates who visit the campus.

Although I’ve gotten out and about a fair bit so far, please do your part to help me get fully oriented and integrated. If you see me first, introduce yourself and tell me what you do. If I see you first, I promise to do the same.

In the meantime, I very much look forward to working with you to make what is already a great university even greater. My family and I are all happy to be here, as, as near as I can tell, are our three dogs and turtle. We all look forward to many terrific years at UNH.

Again, welcome back and best wishes for the new semester.

Mark W. Huddleston

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