Since 2011 UNH’s main fundraising campaign, Celebrate 150, has raised over $220 million; the majority of which was contributed for restricted purposes that will mainly go to student and program support.
Since its inception, UNH has lacked the funding usually found in private universities, many of which have large money donors. According to UNH Foundation President and University Advancement and Development Vice President Debbie Dutton, this changed when President Mark Huddleston arrived in 2007, as one of his main initiatives was to raise more money than previous campaigns.
The Celebrate 150 campaign has been in the Leadership phase since its inception in 2011, meaning that it wasn’t promoted publicly. This phase is mostly time spent between UNH Leadership and its closest donors without making it more about alumni donors. This year was always planned as the launching point for when UNH would start reaching out to more alumni, as will be officially announced during Homecoming weekend. There are signs on campus promoting Celebrate 150, but it hasn’t officially become a part of UNH’s public campaign.
During the Leadership phase, UNH worked with large donors including Marcy Carsey, who in 2013 gave $20 million to build the new Carsey School. Her donation was the second largest in the university’s history. The public phase will be a shift in how UNH raises money. According to Dutton, UNH spent more time in the Leadership phase because it’s not used to such a large campaign, but it will now transition into the tasks of rallying alumni to donate and discussing the goals for the next two years. Dutton said that the beginning of the public phase of the campaign and UNH’s 150th anniversary was a coincidence.
“It’s amazing for a place like UNH. The last campaign was over a decade ago and it was $100 million. So we’ve already more than doubled that. It just shows the commitment of the alumni and friends and parents. People believe in this university and its experiences,” Dutton said in regard to the campaign’s importance to UNH. “Campaigning has only been organized for the past five or six years.”
UNH will use this busy upcoming weekend to promote Celebrate 150 as a way that will get more alumni involved in how UNH is expanding its buildings and student programs.
“It’s an opportunity for us to get more people excited about what the university has accomplished in the last 150 years and to ask them to be in this moment in time, this historical moment in time,” Dutton said about the public phase’s goals. “And help us make sure this next 150 years is even better.”