Significant Events at the University of New Hampshire


  • On February 12, Benjamin Thompson signed his will leaving his entire estate with assets over $400,000 to the state of New Hampshire to establish an agricultural school in Durham.


  • Morrill Act signed by Abraham Lincoln on July 2. This act granted each state 30,000 acres of public lands for each of its senators and representatives. The income from the sale of this land would be used "for the endowment, support, and maintenance of at least one college" to teach agriculture and the mechanic arts.


  • Report to the legislature proposed three alternatives for consideration as locations for the agricultural college. These three were: Dartmouth College, Lyme, NH (as a result of an offer by General David Culver), and at the state farm connected with the House of Reformation at Manchester.


  • Governor Frederick Smyth signed an Act on July 7 providing for the incorporation of the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts. NHCAMA was then established in Hanover, New Hampshire.


  • The final contract was signed with Dartmouth College on April 7 providing for use of Dartmouth College facilities by the agricultural students and an exchange of professors between the two schools. However, the colleges were to retain their separate identities and each had its own Board of Trustees.
  • On April 28, Ezekiel Webster Dimond was elected by the Board of Trustees to serve as the first professor of the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts. He arrived in Hanover on August 1.
  • The academic calendar was arranged to meet the needs of the students and was composed of a fall and a spring term totaling 28 weeks. The summer term, held by practically all colleges, was omitted in order to allow the students to work at home or earn money for their college expenses. This was considered a very strange arrangement by the advocates of the classical curriculum. A degree could be earned in three years.
  • On September 4, ten men registered as the first students of the College.


  • The cornerstone for Culver Hall was laid in Hanover by Governor Onslow Stearns on June 23. Culver Hall was the first academic building owned by the New Hampshire College. Designed by Professor Dimond, it was the largest and most modern building on the campus. It was sold to Dartmouth College when the agricultural college moved to Durham.


  • The College graduated its first class; William Ballard of Concord, Lewis Perkins of North Adams, Massachusetts and Charles Sanders of Penacook


  • In the fall, thirty-three students enrolled for classes. This number was not matched for a decade.


  • In May, construction started on Conant Hall, the first dormitory for the college. The first floor was used for a dining room where about 135 student from all the schools took their meals at a cost of $3.25 a week. Conant Hall was opened in 1874.


  • Charles Harvey Hood is the sole graduate in the class of 1880.
  • Thirty-five of the forty-nine NHCAMA graduates meet at the City Hotel in Keene on March 23 and formed the Alumni Association.


  • Regular academic program was increased to four years.


  • The state legislature appointed a committee to investigate the feasibility of moving the agricultural college from Hanover to a new location.


  • The Hatch Act was passed on March 2 which enabled the College to establish an Agricultural Experiment Station.


  • On February 22, George H. Whitcher was appointed to serve as the first director of the Agricultural Experiment Station.


  • Benjamin Thompson died on January 30 and his will became public. His will stipulated that the state of New Hampshire hold his estate for twenty years, guarantee a compound interest of four percent on its appraised net value, and establish a second fund for which the state was required to appropriate $3,000 annually for twenty years to be used for equipping the College.
  • Lucy Swallow of Hollis, NH and Delia Brown of Hanover became the first female students to attend the College. Neither graduated as the college moved to Durham before they had completed their degrees.
  • Second Morrill Act was passed on August 30.


  • Despite some opposition, Governor Hiram A. Tuttle signed the act accepting the conditions of Benjamin Thompson's will on March 5.
  • On April 10, a bill was signed by Governor Hiram A. Tuttle providing for the removal of the College and its Agricultural Experiment Station from Hanover to Durham.


  • Board of Trustees add a "general course" of study to existing curriculae which was advertised for women because it waived requirements for shop and surveying classes.
  • Laying of the cornerstone for Thompson Hall
  • Graduating class received permission to travel to Durham for their commencement ceremonies, which were held in the nearly completed dairy barn.


  • On April 18, The Board of Trustees voted to "authorize the faculty to make all the arrangements for the packing and removal of college property at Hanover to Durham."
  • On May 18, Reverend Charles Sumner Murkland was chosen as the first President of the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts.
  • On August 30, the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts celebrated the dedication of the campus in Durham. Charles Murkland was also inaugurated on this day.
  • Classes started in the fall in Durham. The enrollment consisted of fifty-one freshmen and thirteen upperclassmen.
  • Graduate study was established.
  • A summer school in science for teachers was begun.
  • Frederick P. Comings, class of 1883, was elected as the first alumnus to serve as a trustee of the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts.


  • The first Farmers' Institute course was held on January 15. The course was designed to "Prepare men for an intelligent home study of practical agricultural problems".
  • Lieutenant H. C. Hodges, U.S.A., arrived in Durham as the first official professor of military science. Providing military study is one of the provisions faced by colleges formed under the Morrill Act of 1862.
  • First telephone line constructed in Durham in Caverno's Store across Main St. from Thompson Hall. Faculty members helped install lines connecting their homes with campus buildings and other parts of Durham.


  • The "Leach Bill" was introduced to the legislature by Representative Edward D. Leach of Franklin. The bill proposed reducing the board of trustees to nine members. It also required manual labor of students, specified a course of instruction, and proposed a practical two-year agricultural program. The bill was not widely supported and was replaced by an act requiring the establishment of a department of horticulture and a two-year course in agriculture. The final "Leach Bill" was passed and signed, on March 27, by Governor Charles A. Busiel.


  • The New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to Charles H. Clark, headmaster of Sanborn Seminary in Kingston, NH.


  • Ralph W. Crossman received the first master of science degree from the College.
  • The seventeen members of the Class of 1897 were the first to have completed all four years in Durham.
  • Carrie A. Bartlett of Lee, Mary B. Bartlett of Epping, Carrie L. and Mary E. Comings of Durham becamse the first women to receive degrees from the college.
  • Hamilton Smith, a wealth Durham resident, gave $10,000 to form the Valentine Smith scholarship. This was the first scholarship which was available to students who were not residents of New Hampshire.


  • At a special meeting of the trustees on February 27, Murkland announced his resignation, effective May 1.
  • The inauguration of William D. Gibbs, former director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, was combined with the dedication of Morrill Hall, the new agriculture building on October 28. The building was named after Senator Justin Morill of Vermont, author of the Morrill Act.
  • President's house destroyed by fire, Sept. 20.


  • A gymnasium and armory (now New Hampshire Hall) was dedicated on January 26. One thousand dollars had been donated to construct the building by the Boston and Maine Railroad in appreciation for emergency assistance from faculty and students at the wreck of the St. John's Express on January 20, 1905.
  • The first New Hampshire night (the forerunner of Homecoming) as a rally for the home football game with Vermont on November 9.


  • Hamilton Smith Library was dedicated on June 3. The state, the Carnegie Corporation, and a bequest from Hamilton Smith provided funding for the building. Durham and the college agreed to combine library resources, an arrangement that lasted 90 years.
  • The first Student Council was organized and consisted of three seniors and two juniors (all men).
  • UNH became a U. S. depository library along with 66 land-grant university libraries with the 1907 Printing Act.


  • Smith Hall, the first dormitory on campus was opened for women students.
  • The first issue of the student yearbook, The Granite was published by the junior class.


  • The first payment from the Thompson Fund was made May 1.


  • The College reorganized into three divisions: agriculture, engineering, and liberal arts and sciences.
  • A proposal to change the name of the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts to the University of New Hampshire was defeated by state agricultural interests. The Alumni Association requested that the Board of Trustees vote on this issue and the trustees approved the request on December 10, 1910. However, many in the state felt that the change would alter the institution's focus on agricultural education.
  • State funding was provided to begin extension work. John C. Kendall was appointed as first director.
  • The first issue of the student newspaper, The New Hampshire, was issued on September 20.
  • A "girls'" council was organized. One function of this council was to supervise the enforcement of the rules for women students.


  • First Founder's Night was observed on March 15 with President Gibbs and Mr. Harvey L. Boutwell, president of the board of trustees as speakers.
  • A student strike over the suspension of William H. L. Brackett '14 started on May 2. Brackett had been suspended by President Gibbs for creating a false fire alarm to assist the sophomore class in leaving campus for a banquet. The Board of Trustees over-ruled the President and rescinded Brackett's suspension. The strike ended on May 6 and President Gibbs resigned later that year.
  • Margaret DeMeritt became the first woman to earn a master of science degree from the college.
  • Edward T. Fairchild, former state superintendent of public instruction in Kansas, became President of the College on December 1.
  • Boston and Maine Railroad carried out it 20 year-old plan to move its tracks. The railroad station in Lynn, Massachusetts was taken apart and shipped to Durham and reerected.


  • To fulfill an inaugural promise of President Fairchild, the Trustees started the Home Economics department under Helen B. Thompson, who was also made the first Dean of Women.
  • A new department of economics was created by separating that subject from the department of history and political science. Guy Smith, was promoted to professor and head of the new department.


  • The enrollment of women doubled to 64 due to the Home Economics program.
  • The first major Alumni Association fund drive provided support for the construction of Memorial Field.
  • The Smith-Lever Act was passed on May 8 providing funds for cooperative extention work in agriculture and home economics between the land grant colleges and the United States Department of Agriculture.
  • A new engineering building was dedicated on December 16. The building was named DeMeritt Hall in honor of Albert DeMeritt, the Durham representative in the legislature and a trustee, who lobbied for several years to secure appropriation for the new building.


  • The first deans of the College's three academic divisions were appointed on April 14: Frederick W. Taylor of the Agricultural Division, Charles E. Hewitt of the Engineering Division, and Ernest R. Groves of the Arts and Sciences Division.
  • Education department started under the direction of Charles L. Simmers. The expanded teacher-training curriculum had a noticeable effect in drawing women students to the college.
  • The department of physical education for men was established.


  • The department of physical education for women was established.
  • The first New Hampshire Day celebrated on November 21. The entire student body and faculty devoted the day to work on the athletic field. This day was held annually for work on various campus projects until 1924.


  • President Fairchild died on January 23.
  • Ralph Dorn Hetzel, the thirty-four year old director of extension from Oregon Agricultural College, became President of the College on August 15. Because of the war, no formal inauguration ceremonies were held.
  • Cooperative Extension placed an agricultural agent in every county of New Hampshire making New Hampshire the first state in the country in which this was accomplished.
  • A faculty potato patch planted as part of the war effort for World War I.


  • The College joined the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
  • 341 of the 1,269 soldiers that would train in Durham for service in World War I arrived on May 16. They received vocational instruction as auto mechanics, carpenters, construction workers, electricians, machinists, blacksmiths, draftsmen, or cooks. The men undertook numerous campus projects to practice their trades. The barracks, built to house the soldiers, were constructed in an amazing 37 hours. After the war they were converted to dorms and named East and West Halls. The barracks were finally torn down in 1971.


  • The first College Day celebration was held on September 28. This annual tradition later became known as University Day.
  • The College's first summer school was officially established.


  • Enrollment reached 1,000 for the first time.
  • The Memorial Athletic Fields were donated to the College by the Alumni Association on June 10 and dedicated to the veterans of World War I.
  • Phi Kappa Phi, honorary scholastic fraternity, was established at New Hampshire


  • Governor Fred H. Brown signed a bill (House Bill 385) changing the name of the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts to the University of New Hampshire on April 23, effective July 1, 1923.


  • President Hetzel presented a plan to the legislature asking for a permanent policy of state support. The bill, known as the Mill Tax Law, provided that each year the University receive an amount equal to one-tenth of one percent of the assessed valuation of all property in the state.


  • President Hetzel resigned to become president of Pennsylvania State University.
  • Elizabeth Virgil became the first African-American student to graduate from UNH.
  • The nickname "Wildcats" was chosen for University athletic teams.


  • Edward Morgan Lewis succeeded Hetzel as president. Lewis, originally from Machynlleth, Wales, was a former pitcher for the Boston Braves and the Boston Red Sox. A graduate of Williams College, he served as president of Massachsetts Agriculture before coming to UNH.
  • Murkland Hall was completed and became the center for the Liberal Arts College.


  • Graduate study was given formal organization as a Graduate school. Dr. Hermon L. Slobin was appointed as its first director.
  • The summer Marine Laboratory at the Isles of Shoals was established.


  • An Engineering Experiment Station was established by the trustees designed to conduct research on industrial problems of importance to the state.
  • Charles James Hall was dedicated on NOvember 9, and used for the chemistry department. The building was named for Professor Charles James.


  • Associated Students Organization was established.


  • Scott Hall, a dormitory for women, was completed. It was named for Prof. Clarence W. Scott, who taught English, history and political science and was the first librarian of the college.


  • Alumni Meritorious Service Award established.


  • President Lewis died on May 24.
  • The baseball field was dedicated in memory of William H.L. Brackett '14, an outstanding athlete and class president. Brackett died in 1921 from wounds suffered in World War I.
  • The university returned to the semester system, replacing the three term system which had been in force since the war.


  • In April, Fred Engelhardt, a former professor of education at the University of Minnesota, became President of the University.
  • The University faculty reorganized and its legislative function was transferred to the Academic Senate.


  • The General Extension Service was organized to put all adult education and off-campus activities under one director. John C. Kendall served as director until his untimely death on March 16, 1941.
  • Pettee Hall was built. It was named for Charles H. Pettee, who had served the University for 62 years as professor, dean of faculty and three times as interim president.
  • Field House construction completed.
  • Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association was put into effect.


  • The Graduate School was reorganized into six divisions: biological sciences, education, engineering, language and literature, physical science, and social studies.


  • Benjamin Thomspon's birthday commemorated for first time.


  • In March, the University contracted for an Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) in engineering and premedicine.
  • Fall enrollment of civilians dropped to 1,083. However, 1,101 soldiers were enrolled in the ASTP program.


  • President Engelhardt died of cancer in February.
  • A Postwar Education Service was established by the Academic Senate to counsel and test veterans and offer them refresher courses.
  • Harold W. Stoke, former political science professor and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Nebraska, was inaugurated as President of UNH on December 17.


  • Registration for the fall soared to 3,478 due to the end of World War II.


  • President Stoke resigned to become president of Louisiana State University.
  • Notch Hall, an old USO building was moved from Fort Deven to Bonfire Hill for use as the student recreation center.


  • On January 17, Arthur S. Adams, Provost of Cornell University, was elected to replace President Stoke. Adams was inaugurated on October 9.


  • Kingsbury Hall was dedicated. The building was named in honor of Albert Kingsbury, professor of Mechanical Engineering from 1891 to 1899.


  • The Men's Student Council and the Association of Women Students merged to form the Student Senate.
  • Robert Flint Chandler, Jr. became President of the University on April 25.Chandler was the first UNH president to have been elevated from within its own faculty. He was dean of the College of Agriculture for three years and had worked for the Rockefeller Foundation in its foreign agriculture program.


  • The New Hampshire Beta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was installed on December 16, with membership limited to the students in the general liberal arts and sciences programs.


  • The Two-year Applied Farming Course is renamed the Thompson School of Agriculture in honor of Benjamin Thompson.


  • President Chandler resigned to establish the International Rice Research Institute for the Rockefeller Foundation.


  • President Eldon L. Johnson, former dean of liberal arts and of graduate study at the University of Oregon, had no formal inauguration, at his own request.


  • First UNH Ph.D.s granted (in Botany).


  • Dimond Library was dedicated and named for Ezekiel Dimond, first professor of the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts.
  • The UNH space program was initiated. Professor Robert E. Houston, Jr. established its first satellite tracking station.
  • In April, the American Association of University Professors announced that the University of New Hampshire's president and board of trustees had been awarded the first Meiklejohn Award for academic freedom for their defense of academic freedom in the face of strong journalistic and political opposition.
  • The Memorial Union Building was opened on November 22 and dedicated to the memory of New Hampshire men and women who died in the service of their country.


  • Channel 11 (WENH) began broadcasting on July 6 from the Memorial Union Building.


  • Paul Creative Arts Center and Spaulding Life Science buildings were dedicated.
  • The Whittemore School of Business and Economics was established by Board of Trustees.


  • President Johnson resigned to become the first head of the Great Lakes College Association.


  • The Whittemore School of Business and Economics separated from the College of Liberal Arts.
  • College Woods dedicated as natural area to be used for research, instructional and recreational activities .


  • John W. McConnell, former dean of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, was inaugurated as University President on May 25.
  • In July, the state legislature established the State University System comprising the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State College, and Keene State College to be governed by an expanded board of trustees and an administrative board composed of the President of UNH as chief administrative officer, and the Presidents of Keene and Plymouth State Colleges.


  • Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) was abolished as a requirement for all freshman and sophomore men.


  • A bill was defeated in the state legislature which attempted to limit the University's freedom to invite "subversive speakers" to campus.
  • On October 7 and 8, the University kicked-off a celebration of its 100th year with a Centennial Convocation and Symposia. The University sponsored a series of programs during the academic year (19965-66) centered around three major topics: "Man in Science", "Man in Arts", and "Man in Society".


  • Centennial celebration program concludes in May.
  • The Thompson School of Agriculture became the Thompson School of Applied Science, awarding associate degrees in applied science. Programs were added to train technicians in commerce, forestry, soil and water, landscaping, and food preparation.
  • First Lt. John F. Lee III, class of 1963, was the first university alumnus to be killed in the Vietnam War.


  • The Faculty Educational Policy Committee, chaired by Professor Dwight R. Ladd, published a report which led to a comprehensive reorganization of undergraduate academic programs in 1969-1970. Some of the major changes were: a course carried four credits instead of three, students were expected to take four courses a semester, and a two week reading period preceded final exams.
  • A group of students and faculty formed a "Free University" to offer noncredit, non-fee courses not otherwise available on campus. Two hundred and twenty students enrolled.
  • A branch of the University of New Hampshire was added in Manchester called the Merrimack Valley Branch.


  • Lundholm Gymnasium was dedicated on December 2.


  • The School of Health Studies was established.
  • The College of Agriculture was renamed the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture.
  • The University Senate unanimously approved a 15-point guideline for the implementation of a Black Studies Program.
  • Stoke Hall became the first coed dorm. Women were assigned to one wing and the doors between it and the men's section were kept locked except during designated visiting hours.


  • The appearance of Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and David Dellinger (the "Chicago Three"), three anti-war political activists on campus drew a crowd of seven thousand and renewed the debate on academic freedom.
  • The New England Center dedicated on January 10.


  • President McConnell retired.
  • The Division of Continuing Education was authorized to offer the associate in arts degree.
  • The University Senate voted to immediately eliminate Physical Education as a requirement for students.
  • Thomas N. Bonner, former provost and vice president of the University of Cincinnati, became President of the University and was inaugurated on September 30.
  • President Bonner appointed a UNH Commission on the Status of Women, making the University one of the first institutions of higher education in the country to have a Woman's Commission.


  • President Bonner resigned to become president of Union College and chancellor of Union University.
  • Eugene S. Mills served as acting presdient of the University before his appoint as President. He joined the UNH faculty in 1962 as professor and chairman of the Department of Psychology and the served as dean of the Graduate School, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, academic vice president and provost.
  • The University System of New Hampshire established the office of Chancellor.


  • The College of Technology was renamed the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.


  • The Merrimack Valley Branch became the Merrimack Valley College, a fourth institution within the University System.


  • President Mills resigned to accept the presidency of Whittier College in California.


  • Evelyn E. Handler, a biologist and former dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Hunter College, was inaugurated as President of UNH on October 20. With her appointment, Handler became the only woman president of a publicly supported land-grant and sea grant univeristy in the United States.
  • The University of New Hampshire and the University of Maine at Orono were jointly designated as the nation's 14th Sea Grant College by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce.


  • In September, a federally funded program provided fifteen million dollars for a science and engineering research center (Morse Hall) to house fourteen laboratories for research and education in space science, technology, and engineering.
  • President Handler resigned to become president of Brandeis University.


  • Gordon A. Haaland was vice president for academic affairs before he became interim president and then president of UNH.
  • UNH began offering classes through the Nashua Center in Nashua, New Hampshire.


  • The New Hampshire Legislature incorporated the University of New Hampshire-Manchester as a college of the University.


  • The School of Health Studies became the School of Health and Human Services.
  • The University of New Hampshire Foundation was established.


  • President Haaland resigned to become president of Gettysburg College.
  • Dale F. Nitzschke served as president of Marshall University in West Virginia before accepting the presidency of UNH.
  • In October, the University of New Hampshire faculty voted to unionize.


  • The University of New Hampshire was awarded space grant status.
  • The UNH Women's Hockey Team won a second national championship.


  • The University celebrated its 100th year in Durham with a year-long program of events titled "From the Plow to the Stars: A Century of Discovery, 1893-1993"
  • The American Association of University Professors and the University System Board of Trustees signed a collective bargaining agreement on March 26.
  • The University Library acquired its millionth volume.
  • The New Hampshire General Court proclaimed 1993-94 University of New Hampshire Year, in honor of UNH's Centennial in Durham. The University celebrated its anniversary with a yearlong series of special events.


  • University opens new biological sciences center (Rudman Hall).


  • Joan R. Leitzel became President of the University of New Hampshire.


  • University's Women's hockey team won national championship.
  • Completed $19 million renovation and expansion of Dimond Library.


  • University received $10 million gift from Peter T. Paul, a 1967 graduate in business administration. The gift established a chair in Space Science and a chair in Developmental Psychology.
  • The University System of New Hampshire and a group of business leaders, lawmakers, and educators developed a major initiative called The Knowledge Economy Education Plan for New Hampshire (KEEP New Hampshire). The Governor signed a bill granting bonding authority of $100 million to complete a series of capital renovations to the University's (and other System institutions') aging science, engineering, and technology facilities.


  • University reached capital campaign goal of $100 million two years ahead of schedule.
  • University receives TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Faculty Development to Enhance Undergraduate Teaching: Certificate of Excellence.
  • Ann Weaver Hart became President of the University of New Hampshire.


  • The University's organic research dairy farm, the nation's first at a land-grant university, announces the birth of its first organic female calf, born Dec. 12, 2006.


  • Mark Huddleston is selected as the 19th president of UNH
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