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
That night also planted the seed for what would become another Ginwala tradition: giving back to their alma mater. Each year, both Darius and Allie (who graduated from UNH in 2014) contribute to the areas of the university that mean the most to them, which beyond hockey include WUNH (the student radio station), study abroad programs and research centers.

Darius, a business administration major who grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, says his time at UNH “shaped the course” of his life, and that’s why he’s been a devoted donor to the university for more than 20 years.

“UNH really did make a difference in my life, and I have nothing but fond memories of my time as a student,” he says. “I figured even if I could just give a small amount, every little bit helps.”

Allie developed a similar appreciation for supporting the things that made a difference for her, including the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research. She says presenting at the annual Undergraduate Research Conference during her freshman and senior years were two of the highlights of her college experience.

“We wouldn’t be able to provide the tremendous resources we do if it weren’t for the generosity of our donors,” Paul Tsang, director of the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, says, noting that the center’s programs are open to students in all disciplines at UNH. “Their support makes so much possible. Currently, 100% of funding for our undergraduate research awards and fellowships comes from donor gifts. Every gift the center receives helps support and nurture the intellectual curiosity of our students.”

Allie has been supporting UNH since she graduated.

“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,” she says. “Giving back to something that means something to you, that really stuck with me.” As a dual major in English/journalism and international affairs with a minor in Asian studies, she has donated to the College of Liberal Arts and to funds that support study abroad experiences.

Allie Ginwala who graduated in 2014
Twenty-plus years of visits and memories have made the campus something of a home-away-from-home for both Darius and Allie.

Darius jokes that an added bonus now is that Allie is 29 and no longer the sleepy child in the back seat, so she makes for great company on the drive home to Manchester. But more than that, he cherishes the deeper meaning of the hockey and giving habits they’ve created.

“I look at Allie now, and she’s gone to grad school and is very successful, and there I am driving to Durham with her like I did when she was 5, 6, 7 years old … Thinking back to close to 25 years on all those trips, it’s heartwarming,” Darius says.

— Keith Testa
Support the UNH Experience
The Ginwala family gives every year to the areas of UNH that mean the most to them. You can support your favorite part of the UNH experience by making a gift.