Thato Ramoabi First International Student to Earn Music Theatre, Dance Degree at PSU

May 22nd, 2010 by Adam

PLYMOUTH, N.H.-
In the fall of 2006, a wide-eyed girl sat in the back of a car heading north into New Hampshire. Thato Ramoabi, a native of Lesotho, Southern Africa, was a first-year student heading to Plymouth State University, where she was looking forward to studying theatre. Thato
had grown up in a very simple home without any luxuries, but she was determined to be a success.

Thato Ramoabi
PSU President Sara Jayne Steen presents bachelor’s degree to Thato Ramoabi at May 22 Commencement ceremony

“My mother was supportive –she told me to follow my passion,” Thato said. “I fell in love with the way Plymouth looked, the trees, so serene.”

It didn’t take long for Thato Ramoabi to immerse herself into the Plymouth community and thrive. With help from her mentor, Trish Lindberg, Thato began an impressive academic career that culminates with her earning two bachelor’s degrees at PSU’s May 22 Commencement: a B.S. in business administration and a B.A. in theatre arts, making her the first international student to earn a degree in Music, Theatre and Dance (MTD). MTD Professor Beth Cox said Thato has enriched PSU’s educational experience.

“International students such as Thato give us a world-view perspective and allow us not only to share common identities but cultural identities as well,” Cox said. “She has been a wonderful presence and performer in the theatre program and serves as a positive example of what our undergraduates can achieve during the university experience.”

Not only was Thato a academic high achiever, but she was an active community service volunteer, worked with the S.A.G.E. Center to raise awareness about the plight of women, worked for Residential life as a Diversity Fellow and Community Advisor, and coordinated a community book drive in which 5,000 middle school books were sent to Lesotho, helping start three libraries in impoverished areas.

Thato Ramoabi
Thato Ramoabi is an accomplished theatre major who has participated in dozens of productions

“It felt really good to help my country,” Ramoabi said. “I don’t think I would have managed to try all these things if I were somewhere else, but here at Plymouth I had the support and encouragement to spread my wings.”

The encouragement and aid that sustained Thato was critical in her first year, when she was very homesick and fearful about the high cost of education and the debt it would impose on her family’s meager resources.

“The emotional support I received here made a big difference – so I stayed,” said Thato.
Lindberg, whom Thato considers a second mother, said Thato is a great example of achieving your goals through hard work and determination.

“Thato comes from Ha Maputsoe village in Lesotho to graduate with two undergraduate degrees,” Lindberg said. “She is well known and respected on campus and around town and worked very hard to get where she is today. She is a dynamic force.”

Thato is now studying for law school entrance exams and hopes to work furthering social justice. Professor Cox said that career choice makes perfect sense.

“Thato came to Plymouth to study acting and found she could make a difference in the global community as an activist and as a person utilizing theatre for social change,” said Cox.

Lindberg predicts Thato will use the lessons learned at Plymouth State and make her mark in the world.

“She is the embodiment of Ut Prosim, (PSU’s motto, meaning That I May Serve), for she is constantly serving those around her, showering them with her passion, her vision, her compassion and her caring,” said Lindberg.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or blyndes@plymouth.edu

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