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Alumni Association Honors Seven For Outstanding Contributions To UNH

By Kelly Calhoun, Alumni Association
July 9, 2008

The Alumni Association hosted an annual awards luncheon recently honoring seven for outstanding contributions to the university and for other notable accomplishments in their careers and in their communities.

Established in 1934, the Alumni Meritorious Service award is presented to alumni who have demonstrated outstanding devotion, loyalty, and service to their alma mater. They may be honored for their ongoing efforts to maintain class or other UNH organizations; for their active participation in alumni or university affairs; or for their efforts to expand the usefulness, influence, and prestige of the university. There were three recipients of this year’s award:

Peter Davis ‘60 of Venice, Fla., has demonstrated his support and enthusiasm for his alma mater in many ways. Most recently, he served for two years as president of the Florida South West Coast alumni chapter. He has agreed to continue in this capacity for another year. Under his leadership, the chapter has been busy with numerous functions and activities, attracting more and more alumni to support the university and its related activities. From boat trips to hockey and baseball team support to golf tournament sponsorships to a display in the sports gallery--Davis has been the spark at the center of it all. He has inspired others and helped to lead the way as an example of giving back to his alma mater. His leadership, outreach, and enthusiasm for the university have been an inspiration to many.

Jack Smith ’50 of Scarborough, Maine, has an impressive record of commitment to his alma mater. For the past five years, he has served as president of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences Alumni Society. He has been a long-time participant in homecoming and delights in meeting students and promoting UNH among alumni as well as students. Along with his dedicated service to the CEPS alumni society, Smith has served on the 1950s class reunion committee, the Alumni Association’s general awards committee, and the UNH Foundation’s President’s Council. He is a member of the UNH Elliot Society, the UNH Heritage Society and the Wildcat Athletic Council. The list of his contributions and volunteer efforts is endless—and so are his enthusiasm and support for UNH.

Paul Bamford ’75 of Stratham, a Whittemore School of Business and Economics graduate, credits the example of his parents as his inspiration for his years of faithful service to UNH. Bamford has devoted countless volunteer hours to the athletic and alumni communities. Here’s just one example: for seven years, he has worked every single home basketball game, raising money through his halftime raffle that has supported equipment purchases, athlete meals, summer school tuition and recruiting expenses. He has even followed the team out of state, cheering them on in many away games. As a Liberty Mutual employee, Bamford has been instrumental in facilitating sponsorship funding for numerous spaghetti dinners, scholarships, alumni receptions and more. Maybe the best way to describe him is that he is always reaching out—to alumni young and old, introducing people, connecting people, building bonds that help to strengthen the basketball brotherhood and the UNH family. Is it any surprise that he has become known as “the face of UNH basketball?” Bamford has been an example of selfless service to the university.

Established in 1965, the Profile of Service Award is presented to alumni for outstanding performance on behalf of the Alumni Association or UNH. This year there were two recipients of this award:

Barbara Newall ’50 of New Castle, has been actively serving the Alumni Association and the university since she graduated in 1950. Here is just a partial list of the ways she has served: she was co-chair of the Centennial Development Fund, helping to sell more than 1,800 tickets for the UNH Night at the Pops. She was also chair of the UNH Fund committee. She has served on the UNH Boston Club Board and chaired the Class of 1950 50th reunion Silver Tea.

Newall has served on five class reunion committees. In 1970 she received the university’s Meritorious Service Award. She was a member of the first class of UNH marine docents and received the Silver Oyster award for the depth of her commitment to developing programs on the history of the Isle of Shoals. Most of all, Newall is known for her spirit and steadfast loyalty. Even in her professional life, she has found ways to include and support the university—a talent known as networking these days. For Newall, it’s just a talent that comes naturally—it’s all about creating connections, bringing people together, supporting her alma mater.

Known to thousands of alumni as a true friend and a consummate fundraiser, Diana Koski of Lee, is a loyal, long-time member of the UNH family. Koski spent more than three decades doing development work for the university, serving in a number of capacities, first in the development office and later for the UNH Foundation. Her tireless efforts, skills, and insight played a pivotal role in the development of the foundation during its early years. Over time, her steadfast commitment, institutional memory, and many connections were invaluable assets as the foundation developed and grew.

Koski consistently maintained the highest of professional standards and exhibited a sincere devotion to the university and to the goals of the foundation designed to support it. Her example motivated colleagues and inspired alumni. The Alumni Association takes great pride in recognizing Koski’s many contributions—her professionalism, abiding loyalty, integrity, and grace through 32 years of exemplary service.

The Young Alumnus/Alumna Achievement Award was established in 1990 by the Class of 1953. The award recognizes a graduate less than 40 years of age who is actively involved in promoting UNH alumni affairs and has demonstrated leadership and promise.

Jefferson Hall ‘96, of Manchester, is a mechanical engineer with FCI/Burndy, a man with global responsibilities and travel commitments. But in the midst of these busy professional demands, for the past seven years, he has devoted countless hours to serving as a mentor for the FIRST robotics team at Manchester High School West in Manchester — better known as the Power Knights 501.

Hall has shared his teaching skills, his guidance, and his inspiration. He has coached the team to victory. He has, in short, made science and engineering cool. His example and enthusiasm have helped inspire 94 percent of Team 501 to go on to higher education--a substantial increase over the school’s recent past averages. Of those college-bound students, 62 percent have chosen engineering as their major—and nearly a quarter of them will attend Hall’s alma mater: UNH. These numbers speak for themselves—a true measure of the influence of this dedicated mentor whose example is, literally, changing lives. Hall has carried the UNH commitment to public service into his own life, serving as an example of the difference one person can make in the lives of others.

Established in 2005, the Award of Excellence for Outstanding Achievement honors a UNH graduate for significant accomplishments in business or professional life or for public service to their community, state, or nation.

Ben Kilham ’74, of Lyme, has been featured in two National Geographic TV specials, NBC Dateline, CBS Coast to Coast, New Hampshire Crossroads, Field and Stream Magazine, the Boston Globe, and the award-winning UNH magazine. Why all the attention? Kilham, who graduated with a wildlife degree, is nationally known for his work with black bears. Dubbed “Mother Bear Man” by National Geographic, Kilham has been raising and releasing orphaned bear cubs back into the wild, studying them—and, in the process, revealing valuable new insights into bear behavior.

"We know more about the lions, wildebeests, and elephants on the Serengeti plains than we do about the bears that live in our back yards," says Kilham.

To begin his research, he read everything he could get his hands on, but except for some population studies, there wasn’t much—and there was almost nothing on bear behavior. Kilham’s work has changed that. He has now raised about three-dozen orphaned cubs and successfully released them back to the wild.

Along the way he has developed a remarkable relationship with his bears and earned the respect of biologists. Heralded by the New York Times Book Review as “compelling,” Kilham’s book, “Among the Bears” chronicles his work and his life passion. His motivation for his work is simple: “I hope that what I learn will help us understand and protect them,” he says. Kilham’s devotion to his work has benefited people, as well as bears—and served as an inspiring example of commitment to public service.


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