A Celebration of Support

Photo from a luncheon celebrating athletic philanthropy at UNH

On October 28, 2011, members of the UNH athletics community gathered in the Memorial Union Building for a first-of-its-kind event: a luncheon celebrating athletic philanthropy at UNH. The event brought together 60 alumni and friends of the University who have established athletics-related endowments with 70 student-athletes who directly benefit from their generosity.

For student-athletes and donors alike, the luncheon was a special opportunity to meet and offer thanks to one another. As several student speakers noted, scholarships provide invaluable support that makes it possible for student-athletes to excel both in the classroom and in demanding Division I sports. For donors, there is immense pride and satisfaction in knowing Wildcat teams succeed thanks in part to their support.

“I can speak on behalf of all of the student-athletes and say that every single one of us here today is grateful for the opportunity that our scholarships have given us,” said Michael Borisenok ’12, a captain of the men’s ice hockey team and one of the event speakers.

The crowd also heard from Whitney Frates ’12, a captain of the field hockey team, who appeared via video, and from Eric Cumba ’08, who provided the luncheon’s keynote address. Cumba, a former starting offensive lineman and tri-captain of the football team as well as a recipient of the Edward A. Fish ’58 Endowed Football Scholarship, spoke about the profound difference scholarship support made in his life and how he applies the values and lessons he learned as a UNH student-athlete to his work as head football coach at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover, N.H.

Many of the student-athletes who attended the luncheon left with a deeper appreciation for the role philanthropy plays in their lives as Wildcats, for the first time able to connect the dots between the scholarship that brought them to UNH and the alumni or friends who made it possible. UNH Athletic Director Marty Scarano underlined the point. “Without the support of our loyal donors,” he said, “we could not provide our deserving student-athletes with all the opportunities we are able to now. Our alumni and friends are a very central piece of the UNH Athletics family.”