UNH gets its second-biggest gift ever

It’s the second one from TV producer and alumna Marcy Carsey


Officials at the University of New Hampshire have a new reason to smile – 20 million of them, actually – thanks to a newly announced gift to the school from one of its most famous graduates, the woman who produced “The Cosby Show” and “Roseanne.”

The school announced Wednesday that Marcy Carsey, the Emmy award-winning producer and 1966 UNH graduate, had made a $20 million gift to UNH, its second-largest gift ever. It is also Carsey’s second gift to the university. The first – $7.5 million given in May 2002 – went to establish The Carsey Institute, which conducts independent policy research on families, children, sustainable community development and other subjects that have an impact in the public policy arena.

Only the $25 million gift from Peter T. Paul, which went toward establishing the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, was larger.

Carsey’s gift will be used to support the creation of the new Carsey School for Public Policy, which, officials said, will be different from other schools of public policy in that faculty and students will work within multiple disciplines, including health care, sociology, environmental science, demographics and forestry.

“It is crucial that we prepare leaders for the governmental, private, and nonprofit sectors who can translate rigorous research into effective policies and practices to solve the complex issues of our world,” said Carsey in a press release about the announcement. “The school will educate and invigorate young people to serve. It gives me great pleasure to express my appreciation and to provide a world-class program in public policy to UNH students.”

A national search for a director of the school will begin soon. 

“The Carsey School will make a significant contribution to the university across colleges and campuses,” said Bruce Mallory, professor of education and interim director of The Carsey Institute. “We hope to become a hub of knowledge and partnerships, where researchers from liberal arts talk to their counterparts in natural resources and public health, and together they help create a better understanding for policymakers.”

Carsey – a Weymouth, Mass., native who graduated from UNH with a degree in English literature – began her show business career in 1966 as an NBC tour guide. From there, she worked her way up to become an executive in charge of comedy programming at ABC, before striking out on her own and teaming up with Tom Werner to form Carsey-Werner Productions in 1981.

That production company produced some of the biggest comedy hits of the last several decades, including “The Cosby Show,” “Roseanne,” “Grace Under Fire,” “3rd Rock from the Sun” and “That ’70s Show.”

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