SNHU Graduates Celebrate Commencement with Speakers Robert Pinsky and Governor Hassan

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President Paul LeBlanc welcomed undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students and their supporters at two commencement ceremonies.

Your degree is an important signal to the world that you worked hard, you have sought-after skills that will lead to better careers and better lives.

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) celebrated its 82nd commencement Saturday, May 10, at the Verizon Wireless Arena with a morning celebration for undergraduate and doctoral students and a late afternoon celebration for graduate students.

United States Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky was the undergraduate/doctoral speaker; he received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan was graduate speaker; she received an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree. Professor Eleanor Dunfey-Freiburger, SNHU’s first endowed chair in business ethics and a member of the team that developed the university’s 3Year Honors degree in business, received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the undergraduate ceremony.

Approximately 2,095 graduates attended the ceremonies. In 2013-2014, 2,775 undergraduate students and 2,047 graduate students earned their degrees.

SNHU President Paul LeBlanc discussed the value of a degree; that it serves as the only reliable predictor towards success and that graduates don’t earn degrees without invaluable support systems. “Your degree is an important signal to the world that you worked hard; you have sought-after skills that will lead to better careers and better lives. But your degree doesn’t entitle you to success, it lets you play the game.”

Pinsky, who founded the Favorite Poem Project, in which thousands of Americans of varying backgrounds shared their favorite poems, urged graduates to “be aware of your responsibility to pass on what your teachers and advisors have given you. If you become successful and make a lot of money, you are still a failure if you have not learned to pass it on. Please be part of this process or keep out, you don’t belong here.”

During the graduate ceremony, Gov. Hassan told students, “New Hampshire is home to many, many companies doing innovative work and creating jobs. And as I travel across our state, more than anything else, what business leaders tell me they need is a workforce with the skills and critical thinking needed for success in 21st-century jobs.”

The university also presented its annual Excellence in Teaching Awards. The recipients were assistant professor in the School of Education Mary Westwater, adjunct professor in the School of Education Carol Soucy, College of Continuing Education Social Media Professor Jessica Rogers and College of Continuing Education Adjunct English Professor Jenn McCollum.

About Southern New Hampshire University

The university has approximately 2,900 traditional, full-time undergraduate day students and a total annual enrollment in all divisions of more than 35,000. 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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Pamme Boutselis
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