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Alum Peter Paul Gives $25 Million to UNH for New Business School

By Lori Wright, Media Relations
June 11, 2008

Photo by Perry Smith, Photo Services

UNH has received a gift of $25 million – the single largest gift in university history – from alumnus, entrepreneur and philanthropist Peter T. Paul, a native of Troy, N.H., and 1967 graduate in business administration. President Mark W. Huddleston made the announcement at a news conference this morning.

“Words cannot fully express how grateful we are to Peter T. Paul for his generosity and his longtime support of the University of New Hampshire. Peter has been a true partner with the university, and his gift of $25 million will have a profound impact on generations of students seeking a world-class business education,” Huddleston said.

The gift will help fund construction of a new business college at the university, which upon approval of the USNH Board of Trustees, will be named the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics. In donating the gift, Paul is challenging alumni, UNH supporters and the business community to raise the rest of the money to fund the new college, which will cost about $50 million.

The Whittemore School of Business and Economics has a long, proud history of offering a first-rate business education. In order to honor the past, UNH must secure the future of its business programs with facilities that support its students and its growth.

“I believe now is the time to make an investment in the future of UNH, the state of New Hampshire, and the young people of this region. This gift, from an old kid from New Hampshire, will require equal support from friends of the university and business enterprises for us to be successful. That is my challenge to you,” Paul said.

The new building is critically needed at UNH. Demand has outstripped supply, and many well-qualified students who seek admission to the business school are not accepted due to space constraints. When McConnell Hall, which is home to the Whittemore School, was built in 1967, its capacity for 1,000 students served the needs of the business school and business community. The school now is beyond its capacity at 1,800 undergraduate students, with demand continuing to grow.

According to Daniel Innis, dean of the Whittemore School, the new building will transform the undergraduate and graduate business education at UNH.

“The Whittemore School is a cutting-edge business school that is known regionally and nationally for its strong undergraduate programs. The business school also is well positioned to advance strong graduate programs and research programs, consistent with the mission of UNH. An important part of the transformation of the business school is a new facility that will provide the platform for development and growth,” Innis said.

The college will be located at the university’s Entrepreneurial Campus near Gregg Hall and the Jere Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory. The new building will include “smart classrooms” – classrooms outfitted with the latest technology that will allow students and faculty to record lectures and download them onto iPods. The building also will include experiential learning facilities for hands-on learning, informal gathering areas to encourage student collaboration, a café, laboratory space for the hospitality program, and the capacity for 2,500 students.

Paul is president of Paul Financial, LLC, a mortgage banking company he founded in 2003. In addition, he is the owner and chairman of Peter Paul Wines, based in Healdsburg, Calif., and is president of West Biofuels, a research development venture working on thermo chemical conversion of agricultural and urban residue (biomass) to biofuel and biopower. He is chairman of the board of The Headlands Foundation, a nonprofit organization he founded in 1995.

The Headlands Foundation focuses on supporting local organizations and worthwhile causes that make life better for children and their families. The foundation has given away more than $4 million, primarily in the Northern Bay communities of California, and more recently, to various community-based organizations in the seacoast region of New Hampshire. Paul also has generously supported educational programs at the University of New Hampshire, Boston University and the public school systems in Marin County, Calif.

Paul is a recipient of the Ernst and Young 1999 Financial Services Entrepreneur of the Year award. He received an alumni award for distinguished service from The Graduate School of Management at Boston University in May 2003 and the first annual Achievement in Business Award from the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire in April 2008.

In 2001, Paul made a leadership gift to establish the Peter T. Paul Chair in Space Science and the Dr. Samuel E. Paul Chair in Developmental Psychology in memory of Paul's father, a well-known and highly regarded physician who practiced in Troy, N.H., for nearly 30 years.

Paul serves on the board of directors of the UNH Foundation and is a trustee of Boston University. He resides in Larkspur, Calif., and Portsmouth, N.H., with his partner Jude Blake, UNH ’77. His daughter, Jessica Paul, resides in Lakeview, Ore.

View gallery images from news conference (all photos by Perry Smith, Photo Services)

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