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Passings: Eugene Savage, Former Dean of Admissions; Vice-Chancellor

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Eugene Savage
Eugene Savage, Former Dean of Admissions; Vice-Chancellor

Eugene Savage, known to generations of students, alumni and friends of the University of New Hampshire as the institution's public ambassador, died Monday at his home in Durham after a long battle with cancer. He was 77.

Visiting hours will be held Monday, May 21, from 4 – 8 p.m. in Huddleston Ballroom. Parking is available in C Lot. A memorial service, followed by a reception, will take place Tuesday, May 22, at 5 p.m. in the Lundholm Gymnasium.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Savage’s name to a scholarship fund being established in his honor at UNH (UNH Foundation, 9 Edgewood Road, Durham, NH 03824), or to the Eugene and Joan Savage Education Award at Plymouth State University (University Advancement Office, Plymouth State University, MSC 50, Plymouth, NH, 03264). 

Savage's career spanned 35 years in education, beginning as a teacher-coach and guidance director in schools in New Hampshire and Vermont.

In 1967, Savage began working for the University System of New Hampshire, first as dean of admissions at UNH, followed by 13 years as vice president for university relations, vice chancellor and, finally, as consultant to the chancellor.

Last fall, Savage received the Pettee Medal, the UNH Alumni Association's award given to a person who exhibits the rare devotion to service expressed by the life of the late Dean Pettee, who served the college for 62 years as professor and dean.

The medal is awarded in recognition of outstanding accomplishment or distinguished service in any form to the state, the nation or the world. For his contributions to the state, Savage will be honored with a Granite State Award during UNH's 142nd commencement Saturday, May 19.

"For many people in the state of New Hampshire, Gene Savage was the friendly face of their university," said UNH President Mark Huddleston. "He was our greatest good will ambassador: always honest, affable and open. His influence flowed directly from his intelligence and good nature. His work on our behalf made the University stronger, and it changed many lives for the better."

Savage served on numerous boards and councils--notably, the USNH board of trustees and the board of trustees of the College Board. He also served as a college admission consultant for the U.S. Department of State and the College Board in Africa, Asia and South America.

Following his retirement from the university system, he accepted a position as senior government relations adviser with the law firm of Rath, Young and Pignatelli.

Both Savage and his wife, Joan, were graduates of Plymouth Teachers College. In recognition of their lifelong commitment to Plymouth State, the university designated the Eugene and Joan Savage Welcome Center in 2010.

In honor of their 50th wedding anniversary, family and friends of the couple in 2007 established the Eugene and Joan Savage Education Award, which is presented annually to a New Hampshire student who has completed at least their first year at Plymouth State University and who aspires to pursue a career in education.

On May 9, Plymouth State presented him with the Henry W. Blair Award for Distinguished Public Service.

Savage is survived by his wife; three daughters, Suzanne Yeatts of Kennebunk, Maine; Deborah Rearick-Curran of Middleborough, Mass.; and Kathleen Mills of Framingham, Mass.; as well as seven grandchildren.