SNHU Athletics Stadium Named for Distinguished Trustee
In 1973, Mark Ouellette ’77 embarked on his college journey, enrolling with then-New Hampshire College (NHC) to pursue his bachelor’s degree in business management. Nearly 50 years later, the outgoing Board Chair joined his alma mater on that very same campus for a special celebration in his honor.
Surrounded by his colleagues, former classmates and teammates, friends and family, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) trustee and alumnus Ouellette was surprised with a special dedication ceremony on October 6. In recognition of his longstanding commitment to the SNHU community, the university dedicated and renamed its 1,500-seat athletics stadium––formerly known as Penmen Stadium ––Mark A. Ouellette Stadium.
A hand-painted portrait of Ouellette by New Hampshire artist Richard Whitney, PhD.H. will hang in the newly renamed stadium.
Reacting to the new signage and portrait, Ouellette said, “Well, I wasn’t expecting this, I can tell you that. It goes without saying, I am so deeply humbled and grateful for everything that is happening here today.”
“I’ve been associated with the university in some way, shape or form since I was 17 years old. To find a way to adequately express my gratitude for all of that and what the university has meant to me is impossible,” he said. “It has been an incredible ride, and on the occasions I look back instead of ahead, it’s nothing short of amazing. To be a part of a community of people who deeply commit themselves to a mission that is greater than their own self-interest is the most gratifying work anybody can possibly hope for.”
Ouellette has served on SNHU’s Board of Trustees since 1996 and has been Board Chair for nine years. During his time on the Board, he helped shape and refine the strategic direction of the university, ensuring the execution of SNHU's mission. This month, he passed the torch to Winnie Lerner, who became SNHU’s first female Board Chair.
Sharing a message to his fellow trustees, Ouellette said, “It has been a deep honor and my privilege to work with such talented, committed and passionate stewards of our mission. It is important for you to know that each of your contributions has had a meaningful, consequential impact on the lives of thousands of learners around the globe... Congratulations, Winnie, to you. You’ll be terrific in this role. You’ll be a wonderful thought leader for Paul (LeBlanc), and I’m delighted for the whole university community that you’re the new Board Chair.”
During the celebration, SNHU President Paul LeBlanc made remarks about Ouellette’s 26 years of service on SNHU’s Board of Trustees and his personal relationship with the Board Chair. “This is a very special day, but also a bittersweet day as we celebrate Mark Ouellette, our outgoing Board Chair, who has been part of the SNHU community for so long,” he said. “It is really important for any university president to have a great Board Chair. Mark has been a thought partner, a values partner, a working partner, a safe harbor and a caretaker. He’s been a friend to this university, but he’s become a friend to me. Terms of trustees end, and Chairs have their tenures, but friends don’t go away. Those terms are never-ending.”
A graduate of the SNHU Class of 1977, Ouellette was captain of the men’s basketball team, winning 53 games with his teammates. He graduated as the program’s eighth-leading scorer of all time (899) and ranked 16th in career rebounding (210).
Ouellette has always been an active member of the community. As a student, he participated in student government, and after graduation, he frequently visited classes on campus as a guest speaker. He was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame in 2011.
Reflecting on his experience at NHC and SNHU, he said, “I am a first-generation college graduate. I am one of the people who has benefited from our mission. SNHU changed the trajectory of my life, enabled opportunity and provided me hope.”
Over the years, Ouellette has been a constant contributor to SNHU student scholarships and Penmen athletics. In total, he has donated over $210,000 in support of the university. In 2014, he matched $50,000 in fundraising in celebration of 50 years of varsity athletics at SNHU. He also created a Sponsored Scholars Scholarship in honor of his parents, named the Laurie and Andrew Ouellette Scholarship, which has supported 22 students so far. Ouellette’s funds have helped enhance SNHU’s athletics facilities, recruit and coach student-athletes, and support and educate students with high financial needs.
“We are extremely proud that this facility will honor Mark’s decades of contributions to the university,” said Anthony Fallacaro, director of athletics and recreation at SNHU. “Mark has been giving back to the university in so many ways over the years, but he was also a really impressive New Hampshire College athlete in his own right. It’s only fitting that our students and spectators will see his name on this stadium for decades to come.”
Melanie Drolet '16 is a communications manager at Southern New Hampshire University.
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About Southern New Hampshire University
SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.
Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.