Alumni & Friends

Alumni Band
Alumni band warms up before the reunion parade, June 1962

Early Supporter

Albert Demeritt, a native of Durham, was born in 1851. The owner of a 300-acre farm, he was active in civic affairs, serving on many town and state boards, and was a member of the Constitutional Convention.

Demeritt was also an advocate of education and the fledgling New Hampshire State College. He drafted the free text-book bill, which became law in 1887 and was a model for other states.

In 1913, he helped pass an $80,000 appropriation for a new engineering building for the college, but he did not live to see its completion. While hunting woodchucks one morning, he climbed a fence and was killed when his gun accidentally discharged.

In his honor, the new building, dedicated in December 1914, was named Demeritt Hall.

Her Own Woman

Jessie Doe (1887-1943), an outspoken New Hampshire native and advocate for women's rights, served the university as a trustee from 1934-43.

The late Phil Wilcox remembered Miss Doe as a great supporter of home industries and arts and crafts.

She would wear the strangest collections of ornaments possible. One time she arrived at T-Hall for a meeting wearing a home woven skirt, head band, and a varied assortments of jewelry. On her breast she wore a very large carved wooden leaf (and it was remarked that she was wearing it a bit high up!) She also wore some sort of 'creeper' boots that were being experimented with by the Experiment Station.

Jessie Doe Hall was named in her memory.

Penny Wise

In 1960, the last living member of the class of 1900, Charles E. Stillings, gave $228,000 to the University Fund in memory of his father, whose diligence and self-denial made it possible for him to attend college. Stillings majored in electrical engineering, and joined the New Haven at the Cos Cob power plant in 1911. He worked as a foreman for 37 years.

He never earned more than $100 a week, but he proved to his alma mater that he knew what to do with it. He had this advice for his fellow alumni: "Whatever your income is, save some of it. Buy common stocks—blue chips are the best—and don't sell them. Be an investor, not a speculator."

Spacious

UNH flag in space

In an interview for the 1978 Granite, Rick Linnehan '80 was asked, "Is there anything that you wish you had known about when you arrived here as a freshman?"

He answered, "I wish I'd known I was going to be in a build-up. I was in one for half a semester, and if I had known then, no way would I have come here. I don't see why they don't put a higher priority on building a new dorm."

It's funny where hard work, study, a little stubbornness and a lot of luck will take you.

As uncomfortable as living in the build-up might have seemed at the time, perhaps it served him well 16 years later, when he shared the close quarters of the Space Shuttle with six other crew members.

Working on his bachelor's degree in animal science at UNH, Linnehan dreamed of becoming an astronaut, without really expecting that dream to come true. "It's funny where hard work, study, a little stubbornness and a lot of luck will take you," he has said.

His dreams and hard work took him first to the Ohio State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, then to the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, and then on to NASA. He has now traveled on three space shuttle flights.

On his second mission in 1998, he served as the payload commander on the STS-90 Neurolab mission aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. He took aboard a UNH flag, presented to him by then-President Joan Leitzel, who attended the launch.

Hallelujah

Since 1912, the University Folk Club has been promoting fellowship among women of the university community and helping women students. In December 1933, the president of the Club, Mrs. C. F. Jackson, submitted this announcement to The New Hampshire:

The University Folk Club were very surprised at their Christmas meeting by the announcement that their honorary president, Mrs. Lewis, together with President Lewis, had again given a generous contribution to the Women Student's Loan Fund of the above organization. This is the second year this gift has been made be Mrs. Lewis and her husband in place of spending the money for the Christmas greeting cards to the faculty as given in years past.

The Folk Club Loan Fund is not a large one, but at the same time has been able by its comparatively small loans, to help many a student girl in an embarrassing financial situation. For this reason, any contribution to this fund is reason for real rejoicing in the interests of our student girls attending the University.

Who Turned On the Light?

In 1944, then Governor Blood appointed Mary Senior Brown, a leader in New Hampshire Republican Party activities and a retired school teacher, to serve on the University Board of Trustees. Being one of only two women on the board, she was particularly concerned with any issues the women students might have. She made a point of arriving early to campus before the start of an all-day board session to visit the women's dormitories and to discuss their needs with the house mothers.

However, the house mothers' perceived needs for the students weren't always the same as those of the students themselves. In an interview with Brown in 1963, she recalled, "I don't believe the girls will ever forgive me for having a light installed outside of Congreve Hall. It was a lovely dark spots for dates!"