SNHU Graduates Celebrate Commencement with Speaker Jon Huntsman

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Southern New Hampshire University celebrated its 79th commencement Saturday, May 21, at the Verizon Wireless Arena. Former U.S. Ambassador to China and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman was the speaker; he received a Doctor of Law. Award-winning author Sy Montgomery, who recently taught in the university’s Master of Fine Arts in fiction and nonfiction writing program, received a Doctor of Humane Letters.

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“Anyone who has bet against this country long term has lost his money,” said former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. “We still have the power of our values, the power of our technology, the power of our innovation and the power of our entire culture."

Southern New Hampshire University celebrated its 79th commencement Saturday, May 21, at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

Former U.S. Ambassador to China and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman was the speaker; he received a Doctor of Law. Award-winning author Sy Montgomery, who recently taught in the university’s Master of Fine Arts in fiction and nonfiction writing program, received a Doctor of Humane Letters.

About 1,000 graduates and 5,000 people attended. In 2010-2011, 1,469 undergraduate students and 1,165 graduate students earned their degrees.

SNHU President Paul LeBlanc, who tweeted from the podium for the live webcast audience, relayed stories of student accomplishments.

“This is what we do. This is bravery, intelligence, persistence, God-given talents and promise,” he said. “This is a celebration of what’s best in our society and our world.”

Huntsman talked about his experiences living around the world, including in China, as well as how he dropped out of high school to be in a rock band. He also spoke in Chinese to the university’s dozens of Chinese graduates.

In his message to graduates he encouraged optimism and civility.

“Anyone who has bet against this country long term has lost his money,” he said. “We still have the power of our values, the power of our technology, the power of our innovation and the power of our entire culture.”

“This country truly does have the democratic and economic resiliency to change,” he continued. “Civility acts as a lubricant to make change work.”

The university also presented its annual Excellence in Teaching Awards. The recipients were full-time mathematics Professor Christopher Toy and adjunct instructors Patricia Findlen (business, justice studies) and Micheline West (accounting).

About Southern New Hampshire University
The university has approximately 2,200 traditional, full-time undergraduate day students and a total enrollment in all divisions of about 14,000. Programs are offered on campus, online and on location at our centers in New Hampshire and Maine. The university offers programs in business, community economic development, culinary arts, teacher education, hospitality management and liberal arts.

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