John D. Hatfield, the University’s first executive vice president, provost and chief operating officer, was a man with a bold vision of what the University could be. And to the very end of his life he invested his considerable energy in making that vision a reality, recalls Philip Bartels, now chair of the UNH Board of Governors.
“Regardless of how well the University was doing, John always saw room for improvement – better facilities, scholastic improvement, everything,” says Phil. “He challenged everyone to do things better. He strongly believed in collegiality, and his enthusiasm was, indeed, infectious.” A day before his premature death, in 2003, Hatfield was still sending emails with new ideas, Phil remembers.
So moved were they by Hatfield’s passion for the University that Phil’s parents – Henry Bartels, emeritus member of the Board of Governors, and his wife, Nancy – established the John D. Hatfield Scholar Program in his memory. “My parents felt that, as provost, John was the person who really started the incredible transformation of the University, which has been continued and significantly expanded under the dynamic leadership of President Steve Kaplan,” says Phil. “They wanted to recognize and honor John for his tremendous energy and for his broad vision.”
The Hatfield Scholar Program is merit-based. Sophomores and juniors who have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 are invited to apply for the annual award. Three students from each class are chosen to hold the designation of John Hatfield Scholar during their junior and senior year. They receive a $2,000 scholarship and a bronze medal.
Since 2004, nearly 60 students have earned the highly coveted award. The Hatfield program perpetuates the memory of John Hatfield’s service to the University while helping deserving young people pursue their academic careers and achieve success beyond UNH.
“Quite honestly, without the Hatfield scholarship and other scholarships I have earned, I wouldn’t be able to go to college,” says Christina Kling ’14 of North Haven, a biotechnology major and one of this year’s six scholars. “I come from a low-income family, and I am the first person in my immediate family to go to college. Thanks to the financial support I’ve received from UNH I am able to complete the first step in pursuing my goal of earning a Ph.D. and doing medical and pharmaceutical research, particularly for unmet medical needs.”
A devoted student who earned very high grades in high school, Christina has maintained a GPA of nearly 4.0 while working part-time jobs since her sophomore year. She’s also found time to volunteer as a peer mentor for Sound School students working on their senior capstone projects. “My education has opened many doors for me, and I am very grateful to have been chosen as a Hatfield Scholar,” she says.