UNH Senior Vice Provost for Engagement and Academic Outreach Julie E. Williams lauded UNH Cooperative Extension as it continues its celebration of 100 years of service to the Granite State.
Williams was the keynote speaker at the opening reception of the UNH Cooperative Extension Centennial Exhibit at the Special Archives of the UNH Library. The exhibit is open at the library through December 12.
With former UNH President Joan Leitzel, University officials, and dozens of community members in attendance, Williams noted, “We celebrate today because our forbearers envisioned moments like this, when in 1914 the Smith-Lever Act formalized Cooperative Extension across the United States.”
Williams added that the Smith-Lever Act set the “groundwork for an evolution, albeit revolution of who we were in the early 1900’s, who we are now, and perhaps most important, who we seek to be for generations to come.”
While there are many examples of Extension’s high-impact work in the Granite State, Williams noted two: a new program, the Economic Development Academy, and a program that has been in existence for more than 35 years, the New Hampshire Lakes Lay Monitoring Program.
On a lighter note, while Williams said she couldn’t claim a 100-year history with Extension, she was able to boast of an impressive 45-year history, “beginning when I was a fifth-grader in Virginia and participated in 4-H.” Having grown up on a small farm in Virginia, Williams recalled the efforts of “Mr. Green, the County Extension Agent,” who, in the 1960s and 1970s, made it possible for Williams to attend 4-H camp, “even after our family missed the application deadline!”
The Extension Centennial exhibit is a chronological view of Extension’s history. It begins with photographs showcasing the first Extension “agent,” M. Gale Eastman, and the first photographs of Taylor Hall on the UNH campus that initially served as a dairy facility.
The exhibit showcases the story of current and past accomplishments, but also looks at Extension’s future. From bringing electricity to rural farms, to working with connecting Broadband access across the Granite State today; from mentoring youth through the decades with its 4-H program to sharing photographs of Alan Shepard, a New Hampshire 4-Her from Derry, the exhibit shares moments in Extension’s history that highlight its vast accomplishments.
The exhibit also displays current Extension efforts, from working to fight invasive insect species such as the Emerald ash borer, to working with private landowners to ensure the future preservation of New Hampshire’s forest. Exhibit-goers will be rewarded for their visit photographs, an underwater robot, 4-H “beanies,” pressure cookers and a plethora of vintage and current photographs.
Photos, left and right: College of Liberal Arts Dean Kenneth Fuld, Senior Vice Provost for Engagement and Academic Outreach Julie E. Williams, and UNH Cooperative Extension Dean Emeritus John E. Pike, and College of Life Sciences and Agriculture Associate Dean Kim Babbitt with former UNH President Joan Leitzel gathered at the Extension Centennial exhibit opening.