UNH Alumni Entrepreneurs Inducted into Hall of Fame
October 4, 2019 marked an important occasion at UNH as the university celebrated the second annual induction in the UNH Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, which is housed at the UNH ECenter. The Hall of Fame recognizes alumni who have achieved significant entrepreneurial success with ventures as founders, co-founders, or owners, while also giving back to their communities in a meaningful way. UNH has over 10,000 entrepreneurs in its alumni ranks, so it is not surprising that the ECenter received a record number of nominations and the selection process was highly competitive.
The 2019 inductees into the Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame are:
- Christine Dodson ‘88, COO and Co-Founder, Mamava, Inc.
- Joe Faro ’91, Chief Food Taster, Tuscan Brands, LLC
- Thomas Hazel ’95, Founder, CTO and Chief Scientist, CHAOSSEARCH
- Les Hiscoe ’87, CEO, Shawmut Design and Construction
- Harry S. Patten ’58, Chairman of the Board and CEO, National Land Partners, LLC
In the afternoon of the induction day, the inductees met with more than 25 innovative, entrepreneurial UNH students at the ECenter to share their stories and engage in a roundtable discussion. Students were encouraged to ask questions and seek advice on the issues they face in the development of their ideas and businesses. The insights shared by the inductees were hugely impactful to the students and the discussion was a highlight of the day for the inductees. One inductee said, “The quality of ideas and students was so very impressive. I neither had the fortitude nor the resources of the ECenter during my undergraduate time here. I wish I did.”
The student discussion panel was followed by the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Nearly 100 members of the UNH community filled Hamilton Smith Hall to hear from the alumni and celebrate at a reception following the ceremony. True to the innovative spirit of the award, inductees were tasked with a specific topic for their acceptance speeches. Rather than offering the traditional round of thanks, they instead had to outline a problem they see in the world and address the steps that UNH students and community members can take to solve it.
The speeches spanned a broad range of topics, with Christine addressing the challenges and inequality facing new parents returning to the workplace, Les discussing the decline in productivity stemming from construction being the second least digitized industry, and Thomas focusing on the all-encompassing energy problem – the cost, complexity, creation, and storage of energy – mused, “what could be more challenging? What could be more fun?”
In his concluding remarks, President Jim Dean said, “Today, the Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame invites us to honor these five inductees who exemplify not only the excellence of a UNH education, but also the remarkable things that our graduates can achieve with it.” He noted that, “Through their vision, their talent, and their hard work – and a lot of long hours – they create tremendous opportunities. Today, we honor them for showing the world what a UNH education makes possible.”
Following the induction ceremony, guests moved downstairs to the Hamilton Smith Great Hall, where they enjoyed a hosted reception, capping off a truly celebratory evening.
This year’s ceremony and celebration ushered in a significant change from last year. In 2018, the inaugural induction of the Hall of Fame was incorporated in UNHInnovation’s annual Innovators' Dinner. Now in the second year, the Hall of Fame celebrations were made independent to give an appropriate weight to the occasion and celebrate the momentous achievements of UNH alumni.
Nominations for the 2020 Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame are now open. You can nominate someone deserving of this recognition and self-nominations are also accepted. Biographies for the 2019 inductees and videos of the student discussion and induction ceremony are available on the ECenter's website. Photos of the event can be viewed here.
Save the date for next year’s third annual induction as part of Homecoming on Friday, October 2, 2020!