reasons for believing
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Spring 2021
Debbie Dutton

Wrapping up a most unusual year

generosity helped students, faculty and staff rise to meet challenges and Advance opportunities

ven behind masks, you can tell: people are smiling more. The mood is lightening, and, as sure as spring turns to summer, the end-of-the-semester buzz has campus humming as it does every year around this time.

This is what it means to be on a college campus in the month of May — when commencement gives us a chance to celebrate the achievements of our students, when tearful goodbyes and “I’ll miss you so much!” wishes give way to excitement about what opportunities the next chapter in ‘the real world’ will bring.

We’re also celebrating another successful (603) Challenge, which this year raised more than $2.5 million from more than 11,000 donors. This is one of my favorite spring milestones, as nearly every department or program across our three campuses benefits greatly from the gifts made during this annual fundraising event. One of the key drivers of our success are the donors who underwrite the challenge by offering matches and bonuses — a true example of Wildcats inspiring other Wildcats.

It’s high-season for happiness here at UNH.

And as you’ll see in this edition of IMPACT, donors play a huge part in that joy.

Among the students graduating this month are many who simply wouldn’t have been able to come to UNH without scholarship support. Still others might have missed out on valuable internship opportunities or career counseling were it not for you, our incredible donors making those programs a hallmark of the undergrad experience.

Please enjoy this latest round of good-news stories, and celebrate all that philanthropy makes possible.

Debbie Dutton signature
Debbie Dutton
Vice President, University Advancement, and President, UNH Foundation


“The advantage of investing in scholarships is that it’s good for the life of the students, you invest in four years, but the rewards come back over the next 60, 70, 80 years” of their lifetimes.
— Philanthropist Dana Hamel; read more in Bright Futures
Interns sitting around conference table overlooking city
Support allows students to take on meaningful internships
archive photo of young Valenza with students in his woodshop at UNH
Donors’ gifts help highlight mentor’s art, influence
Ralph Baer
Hamel Scholars Program achievements continue beyond UNH
Alex Papadakis leaning against railing
Lewis Family scholarship creates sustainability leaders
Ralph Baer
Inventor’s expertise, imagination inspire law scholarship
Ginwalas at hockey game
Family hockey tradition leads to habit of giving
Student Cassandra in Covid lab
Scholarship donors play vital role in UNH’s DEI plans
Student holds up FIRE app on phone
First-year programs create both in unusual academic year
Katherine Metzger standing in front of school
Sophomore shares how donors shaped her experience
Students at career fair with 'We're Hiring' sign
Early, targeted career guidance leads to success
Editing: Michelle Morrissey ’97, Kristin Waterfield Duisberg
Writing: Michelle Morrissey ’97, Jody Record ’95, Keith Testa
Photography: Jeremy Gasowski, unless otherwise noted
IMPACT is published twice a year by University Advancement. Have a story idea to share about someone making an impact at UNH? Want to learn how you can make your own impact? Reach us at

© 2021 University of New Hampshire

Interns sitting around conference table overlooking city

Pipeline to Professions

Fund ensures Paul College students can take part in valuable internships

henever Carl Hubbard ’21 boards a plane and sets off for the Bay Area to begin his job with Cisco Systems, it will be the start of a chapter he’s been eagerly anticipating for more than a year.

It will also be take-two.

Hubbard had secured an internship with Cisco last summer and by mid-February had also secured the plane ticket to take him there. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced the internship to become remote, leaving Hubbard with the potential sunk cost of travel and a lack of a suitable home office set-up.

Enter the Paul College Internship Opportunity Fund (IOF). Thanks to the IOF, Hubbard was able to offset the cost of his plane ticket and construct a work-from-home environment that made the program comfortable and productive. So productive, in fact, that it led to a full-time job offer he happily accepted.

1990s file photo of Valenza posing with one of his more well-known works
Daniel Loomis Valenza portrait with Liquor cabinet, 1971 Walnut 22” x 18”x 10”
Amoeba, 1968
Amoeba, 1968, acrylic on canvas, 45.5” x 23.5”
Daniel Valenza sculpture
Chair, 1966, rock maple carved shaped pegged mortice and tenor joints frame cow hide belt leather seating
Two-door cabinet by Daniel Valenza
Liquor cabinet, 1971 Walnut 22” x 18”x 10”
1990s file photo of Valenza posing with one of his more well-known works
Daniel Loomis Valenza portrait with Liquor cabinet, 1971 Walnut 22” x 18”x 10”
Amoeba, 1968
Amoeba, 1968, acrylic on canvas, 45.5” x 23.5”
Daniel Valenza sculpture
Chair, 1966, rock maple carved shaped pegged mortice and tenor joints frame cow hide belt leather seating
Two-door cabinet by Daniel Valenza
Liquor cabinet, 1971 Walnut 22” x 18”x 10”

The Art of Mentorship

Support for UNH Museum of Art exhibit honors influential professor, artist

aniel Loomis Valenza is a woodworking artist whose work has been showcased in the Smithsonian, sold by Sotheby’s and included the 1969 groundbreaking exhibition of studio crafts, “Objects USA,” as well as its revival “Objects USA 2020.”

But according to friend and former student Doug Peters ’71, Valenza “hides his light under a bushel” — not fully acknowledging the significance of his own work, or his legacy in American contemporary art.

That’s why Peters and wife, Christine Consales ’71, helped fund an exhibit at the UNH Museum of Art featuring Valenza’s work — and bring back to light an artist who, as Peters notes, “is of national if not international significance.”

The Daniel Loomis Valenza exhibit was originally planned to open to the public in person before pandemic closures, but thanks to Peters’ and Consales’ support, and their collaboration with museum curator Kristina Durocher, the exhibit was presented online from Feb. 1 to Apr. 2 this spring.

Bright Futures

Hamel Scholars’ success continues far beyond the mortar-board toss of graduation from UNH

lana Gudinas ’20 was named a Goldwater Scholar. Jaclyn Weier ’10 earned her doctorate in cancer biology and molecular therapeutics from Dartmouth. Eden Suoth ’18 was a finalist for a Rhodes Scholars award. Cory McKenzie ’15 was named a Carnegie Junior fellow, and Katherine Rocci ’17 has been published in the international Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics scientific journal and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in ecology.

While those are impressive achievements for these individual students, even more impressive is that amid the cohort of Hamel Scholars at UNH, they are the norm and not the exception.

For the past 13 years, the Hamel Scholars Program has offered generous scholarships and an engaging undergraduate experience to the Granite State’s best and brightest students. At the same time, it’s served as a springboard for those scholars to earn national grants and fellowships, pursue advanced degrees and find professional success long after graduation.

Gutsy, Tough Changemakers

Students say Lewis Family scholarship gives them opportunities for transformative leadership in sustainability

lex Papadakis ’21 calls herself lucky. During her time at UNH she has been the recipient of several scholarships. This year that included assistance from the Lewis Family Scholarship in Sustainability Studies, awarded to “gutsy youths, men and women who can inspire others and possess the moral courage to make tough decisions and create change.”

It is a description that inspires her.

“The Lewis Scholarship has reminded me that my work and experience thus far has been meaningful and has the potential to make an even bigger difference,” says the dual major in ecogastronomy and nutrition. “Having that extra level of support from donors willing to take a chance on me and believe in my path is really incredible. Receiving a scholarship like the Lewis adds that extra level of motivation for me to keep challenging myself.” 

Photo by Matthew Troisi ’22
Ralph Baer, seen here in his lab, received the National Medal of Technology and the IEEE Edison Medal, among other awards, and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2010.
Ralph H. Baer PHOTO/courtesy of MARK W. BAER

Not Just a Game

Inventor’s legal expertise — as well as his imagination — inspire scholarship

here is reason to believe that Mark W. Baer ’88JD and his brother James were the very first children to play the very first video game.

Their father, Ralph H. Baer, is credited with being the inventor and patent-holder of the first system for home video games. Mark recalls sitting at home with his older brother in the late 1960s, goofing around with a gaming prototype plugged into a black and white TV. The simple games they played back then would lead to the $120 billion video gaming industry we know today.

The senior Baer first thought of using televisions interactively in the 1950s while working at a television manufacturing business in New York. A few years passed and the notion evolved, with Baer ultimately sketching out the particulars while waiting for a bus in September 1966. His employer, Sanders Associates (now BAE Systems in Nashua, New Hampshire), supported the plan, and, after years of development and fine-tuning, Baer, his team and Sanders were granted the first video-game patents in 1973. The patents specifically covered products that included any apparatus that would, in combination with a television receiver, generate “dots” on the screen that could be manipulated by the user.

Ralph H. Baer PHOTO/courtesy of MARK W. BAER

Steady Support

Family hockey tradition leads to habit of giving

arius Ginwala ’80 wasn’t certain what he wanted to do on one particular Saturday night during the winter of 1995, but he knew for sure what he didn’t want to do — watch “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory” with his 4-year-old daughter Allie yet again.

So he searched for alternative activities that might occupy them, ultimately choosing to head to UNH to take in that evening’s hockey game. Given Allie’s age, he expected the trip might be brief.

“I didn’t want to watch Willy Wonka for the ninth time, so I figured let’s go to the game, and if we stay for a period and leave, that’s a good evening,” recalls Darius.

Twenty-six years and hundreds of periods of hockey later, it was a good evening indeed.

That night created a father-daughter tradition that endures, even though Allie’s commute now begins in New York City. The year after that first impromptu trip, the Ginwalas got tickets to Family Hockey Day and haven’t missed one since.

Dad was always a great influence by trying to give back to something he cared about, and I’ve really admired that for as long as I can remember.”
—Allie Ginwala ’14

Moving UNH Forward

Scholarship donors play vital role in UNH’s diversity, equity and inclusion action plan

ast summer, as national events brought issues of racial injustice to the forefront, President Jim Dean promised an action plan for the UNH campus. In August, Nadine Petty joined the university as chief diversity officer. A month later, Dean announced several diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, including the creation of a more diverse student body and a more diverse faculty and staff and the creation of “an inclusive and welcoming environment for all, especially people of color.”

Scholarship donors play a vital role in that important work, as UNH aims to definitively address its longstanding struggle to foster diversity in its campus community.

The benefit of diversity-focused scholarships is two-fold, says Petty. First, and most obviously, the scholarships help UNH recruit and retain diverse students. “The wider net we cast, the better chance we have to bring excellence to our institutions,” she explains. The second benefit is to deliver on the university’s mission to prepare its students for the real world they’ll enter after they graduate.


Cohort and Community

First-year programs take on new significance during pandemic year

s the lead peer advisor in Paul College’s First-year Innovation and Research Experience (FIRE) program, Drew Siemering ’21 covers a lot of topics with new students. Often, the questions he fields reflect classic first-year nerves: Will I fit in here? Did I make the right decision? But in a matter of weeks, students in the FIRE program are diving deeper into their college experiences — using FIRE’s competition model to earn points by learning more about opportunities and resources at UNH, exploring which majors and academic programs they might pursue and getting hands-on professional development training in things like resumes and LinkedIn profiles.

“FIRE sets up students for success. I still reference things my own peer advisor shared with me freshman year, and I hope I’m doing the same for this year’s freshmen,” says Siemering, who will graduate in May with dual business administration degrees in finance and information systems/business analytics.

My UNH story

Katherine Metzger ’23

Sophomore shares her family’s Wildcat ties, and how donors are helping her achieve her goals

rowing up in Cumberland, Maine, I was surrounded by stories about UNH — the business school, the Outing Club, the alumni organization. My parents were both business majors here, and my aunt received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees here. I took the typical UNH campus tour during high school with my family. While I was trying to listen to the tour guide, my parents kept pointing out all their favorite places and talking about their college days. Even though I was probably annoyed with them in that moment, I remember feeling grateful to finally see the places that meant so much to them, and to connect what I was seeing with these stories I had heard.

I’m currently a sophomore honors chemical engineering major, and am interested in clean energy research. As a child I always wanted to be a writer, but during high school I realized I couldn’t give up my love and passion for science and math. In my first semester freshman year, I started working on research with Dr. Nan Yi from the department of chemical engineering. I’m focusing on hydrogen production through sustainable processes for hydrogen fuel cells, a cleaner energy source than gas.

Lori and her staff meeting with students
Lori meeting with students
Courtesy Photos/Lori Dameron
We help fill a hole in career-related lifeskills that might not always be embedded in a student’s curriculum.”
— Lauren Rhodes, St. Martin Career Exploration Office career advisor

Launching Pad for Life

Targeted professional development for students leads to success

ake Gehrung ’20 first approached the College of Life Science and Agriculture’s St. Martin Career Exploration Office in fall 2019, looking to make a transition from an environmental research career path to a sustainability-related professional track. Little did he know that the center, particularly director Lori Dameron, would end up helping him land a job in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dameron had helped Gehrung refine his resume, attend networking events, make networking calls and more. It was the skills he learned from those interactions that made a difference.

“As a senior who graduated just as the coronavirus was really setting in, I had to scramble; I went from a fellowship to an unpaid internship, then a paid internship. Eventually I found a job through a UNH connection,” explains Gehrung, who is currently a high-performance building analyst, managing residential LEED projects for Resilient Buildings Group in Concord, New Hampshire.

St. Martin career advisor Melissa Capen says the pandemic has increased the need for job-preparedness. “The market has changed dramatically in terms of competitiveness and the opportunities that were eliminated, especially for any student in a pre-professional track — everything from clinicals to job-shadow experiences were affected,” she says. “Students want to be more strategic and want to be better candidates for work coming out of UNH.”

Before you go…
As we’re wishing our graduates happy trails and much success ahead, we’re also celebrating what donors make possible every day for UNH students, faculty and staff. We hope you enjoyed this digital edition of IMPACT, and that you’ll share any stories you found uplifting, inspiring or interesting via your social media channels.
We’d love to hear your feedback on what you saw here. If you want to learn more about a topic covered here, want to offer ideas for coverage, or simply want to share feedback, we’re happy to hear your thoughts. Write us at
If you found a bit of inspiration here, that’s great news! Simply click here to see how you can support the people or programs at UNH that most interest you.

To make a gift to endow a fund (such as a scholarship or a professorship) or to support a program, or if you’re considering a bequest or have other estate planning questions, contact Troy Finn, associate vice president of development: (603) 862-4940;

reasons for believing
Thanks for reading our Spring 2021 issue!