Tom Putnam with Cory Schwartz holding framed ski race bib
Tom Putnam, left, with Cory Schwartz, ski team coach

Former ski captain pledges $2M to UNH team

A $2 million gift over five years from former University of New Hampshire ski team captain Tom Putnam will add to the endowment he established 15 years ago to support the team and launch fundraising for a ski facility at UNH.

Putnam will contribute $1 million to the endowment, which funds scholarships, coaches’ salaries, training camps and equipment for the team, and $1 million to a new facility that will have locker rooms and lounges for the men’s and women’s alpine and Nordic ski teams at the Field House as well as a waxing room and storage for equipment.

“I’ve enjoyed skiing my entire life,” said Putnam. “Skiing is New Hampshire’s sport, and I feel the state university should have a strong skiing program. That’s why I’ve always supported the team and why I’m making this investment in UNH skiing.”

Putnam skied for UNH in the mid-1960s and was captain of the freshman ski team before leaving the university to join the U.S. Army.

“Tom Putnam’s transformational gift is the catalyst for creating a new space to house our nationally ranked alpine and Nordic ski teams,” said Allison Rich, director of athletics. “Tom’s generosity mirrors UNH Athletics’ commitment to providing an extraordinary student-athlete experience. The skiing program embodies our relentless pursuit of athletic excellence and academic achievement, and new facilities are vital to sustaining that success while ensuring the physical and mental health of our student-athletes.”

The gift was announced Dec. 2 to a gathering of friends of UNH skiing in the Skybox Lounge at the Whittemore Center prior to the men’s hockey game against Boston University. Alumni Peter Middleton ’81, Steve Davis ’69 ’73PhD and Grover Daniels ’79 spoke about how far the program has come and the impact Putnam’s gift will have on the UNH skiing community. Current UNH Nordic skier Jasmine Lyons ’24 shared how alumni support creates opportunities for student-athletes to excel both academically and athletically.

UNH finished sixth at the 2022 NCAA Championships, which represented the best result — and 29th Top 10 finish — in the 40 years ski coordinator Cory Schwartz has guided the program. Lyons (Ottawa, Ontario) earned two All-American honors, men’s alpine skier Bastian Meisen (Munich, Germany) collected All-American Second Team in giant slalom and women’s alpine skier Zoe Michael (Sydney, Australia) recorded All-American Second Team in slalom to give the Wildcats four 2022 NCAA All-Americans.