Plymouth State University Awards 1,116 Degrees at 146th Commencement Ceremony

Former U.S. Attorney Carmen Milagros Ortiz and NH Businessman Dick Anagnost Address Graduates

Plymouth, N.H. (May 24, 2017) – Plymouth State University (PSU) celebrated its 146th commencement on Saturday, May 20 in the Active Living, Learning, and Wellness (ALLWell) North Center, the University’s state-of-the-art academic and athletic complex. A total of 1,116 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees were awarded before a crowd of more than 5,000 guests.

PSU President Donald L. Birx reminded graduates that they are already “tomorrow changers.” He said,  “You have the ability to spring back from adversity and push forward in the face of obstacles to follow your passion and create the exciting world we are just on the cusp of experiencing.” Birx commented that he had seen this first-hand in PSU cluster projects such as the Lancaster Initiative, which is helping that community shape and brand its future, students’ musical compositions and dramatic performances, and academic accolades.

Former U.S. Attorney, Carmen Milagros Ortiz, who received an honorary Doctor of Public Service delivered the commencement address. Milagros Ortiz was the first Hispanic and the first female to serve as U.S. Attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She was also the first member of her family to earn a college degree. Milagros Ortiz urged the Class of 2017 to persevere in the face of adversity. She said, “You will realize that despite life’s challenges and adversities, you can overcome to find your happiness, your success, and your mission in life.”

PSU Senior Class President Joseph Boisvert of Pembroke, NH, used the word ‘superlative’ to characterize the people he has encountered at PSU. He remarked how, over the course of four years, Plymouth became “home” and how a small town and campus truly fosters an amazing, thoughtful, caring community. He told his fellow graduates, “I hope the friends, lessons, and memories you’ve made here will always stay with you no matter where in life you go…whether it’s 20 minutes down the road or 2,000 miles away.”

New Hampshire businessman, Dick Anagnost received the Granite State Award, which honors those who have made exceptional contributions to the state of New Hampshire and its citizens. As a real estate developer, Anagnost is credited with the revitalization of downtown Manchester and with improving the quality of life for city residents by creating jobs, building safe and affordable housing, and converting an abandoned meat-packing plant into an award-winning health care facility, Elliot at River’s Edge. Anagnost regularly serves in state-appointed positions and on charitable boards as part of his personal mission.

PSU also honored Meghan Katie Andersen of Tribly, Florida, a graduate student who would have graduated on Saturday, but who passed away in the past year. Anderson was posthumously awarded a Master of Science in accounting degree following a moment of silence. The degree was accepted on her behalf by Gregory Dumont, Ph.D., director of students for the College of Business Administration.

Of the 1,116 PSU graduates, 642 hail from New Hampshire, 183 from Massachusetts, 48 from Connecticut, 34 from Vermont, 27 from Maine, and 182 from various states outside New England.

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