By TNH Editorial Staff
Dana Hamel made the single largest contribution to the UNH scholarship system in the history of the university on Monday. His $10 million donation is yet another indication that Hamel, who has been among the most dedicated benefactors to UNH for several years, believes UNH is a critical element of the state’s well-being.
“If you really want to impact the politics, business, culture and environment in New Hampshire, the university is the best vehicle to work through. It’s the best asset the state has,” Hamel told University of New Hampshire Magazine following the creation of the Dana A. Hamel Family Scholarship/Scholars fund in the fall of 2008.
Hamel spent his undergraduate and graduate years at Harvard and resides in Tuftonboro. You hear the name “Hamel” everywhere around the UNH campus. His contribution in 1996 helped complete the construction of the Hamel Student Recreation Center. In 2000, he helped fund the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research.
Contributors such as Mr. Hamel are what support this university. The state of New Hampshire is notorious for its short-sighted funding of the state university system and UNH is among the most expensive state colleges in the country. Each year during his state of the university address, UNH President Mark Huddleston reminds us of how important private contributions are to support the university.
Yes, it is nice to see buildings renovated and facilities improved, but contributions such as Mr. Hamel’s that make it possible for more students to come to UNH are the most special. Because of his enormous donation, some students who may have considered UNH to be out of reach can enjoy the benefits of a college education. These students will also be among the brightest of their graduating classes and a scholarship such as this could entice them to stay in the state and exercise their skills locally.
Finally, we hope, as does Mr. Hamel, that his contribution will influence others to contribute as well. The state will not increase its support of the university system any time soon, if not ever, so the university must continue to rely on the generosity of private donors. Furthermore, the university must maintain that the money will be used well.
So we thank you, Dana Hamel, for giving a handful of New Hampshire students the chance to better themselves in college and perhaps better the state.