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2019 Commencement Speakers

Ed MacKay

For more than four decades, Ed MacKay has been engaged in efforts to increase postsecondary education opportunities and the quality of student learning experiences. His first position with the University System of New Hampshire was in student affairs, and he assumed responsibility for a wide range of system-wide functions such as planning, facilities, and finances, serving as vice chancellor and chancellor before retiring in 2013.

From 2014–2017 he served as director of the New Hampshire Department of Education’s Higher Education Commission. His many accomplishments included leading New Hampshire to join a reciprocity agreement that enables the state’s colleges and universities to offer online programs nationally with less cost and fewer burdensome regulations, and supporting and expanding programs contributing to increased postsecondary enrollment, persistence, and graduation.

Ed will deliver the 2019 PSU Graduate Ceremony remarks.

John ’85 and Carrie Morgridge

John and Carrie Morgridge co-founded the Morgridge Family Foundation and serve as president and vice president, respectively. Carrie is the award-winning author of Every Gift Matters—How Your Passion Can Change the World and The Spirit of the Trail: A Journey to Fulfillment Along the Continental Divide, and chairs the board of directors of mindSpark Learning, a nonprofit that John and she founded.

The Morgridges also founded the Student Support Foundation, a youth philanthropy club that cultivates high school and college philanthropists, educating and teaching them the importance of giving through hands-on learning. PSU’s Student Support Foundation plays an active role on campus in addressing issues related to student need.

The Morgridges’ exceptional commitment to helping Plymouth State students surmount financial hurdles is evidenced by their encouragement of a campus philanthropic culture, and through their generous funding of endowed scholarships.

Carrie graduated summa cum laude from the International Academy of Design and Technology, and John received his BS in management from PSU and is an accomplished fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter pilot. Carrie will deliver the 2019 PSU Undergraduate Ceremony remarks, and both Morgridges will receive the Granite State Award.

John Farnam

John Farnam represents the Morgridge Family Foundation through his private public relations firm. In this role, he works to advance the mission of the organization by aligning resources and innovation around social issues.

Farnam began his work in education when he raised $6.5 million to build Vanguard Classical School, one of the first charter schools approved by Aurora (CO) Public Schools. He previously served as vice president of marketing for Goodwill Industries of Denver, where he supported the retail and human service efforts of the $40M organization. During his tenure as executive director of the Northern Colorado AIDS Project, he transformed the service delivery model for families living with HIV. His accomplishments were recognized with the DoSomething Award, which celebrates leaders whose work transforms their community.

Farnam received his BS in natural sciences and mathematics from the University of Wyoming. He will deliver 2019 PSU Undergraduate Ceremony remarks and receive the Granite State Award.

Joan C. Cook ’69

After practicing law in Maine for several years, Joan C. Cook developed and managed the Biddeford Savings Bank trust department, and later became vice president and wealth advisor for Charter Trust Company. Until she retired in 2018, she served as executive director of the Maine Pooled Disability Trust. Her board service includes several civic organizations, including Southern Maine Medical Center, Sweetser, United Way of York County, Brick Store Museum, and the Maine Estate Planning Council.

Cook received her bachelor’s in education, summa cum laude, from Plymouth State College in 1969, and her juris doctorate from the University of Maine School of Law in 1978. She will deliver 2019 PSU Undergraduate Ceremony closing remarks.

Cook is an emerita member of the PSU President’s Council, and chaired the President’s Council’s Holmes Heritage Society committee. The Holmes Heritage Society honors alumni and friends who have made provisions for Plymouth State in their financial and estate plans.

Rileigh N. Goulette ’18, ’19MEd

Rileigh Goulette received her BS in elementary education K–8 in 2018, and her MEd in Special Education K–12 in 2019. She earned a 4.0 GPA as both an undergraduate and to date as a graduate student.

Her student teaching took place at Plymouth Regional High School, where she worked with students with disabilities ages 14–21; Holderness Central School, as a fifth grade/K–4 math interventionist; and Newfound Memorial Middle School, in eighth grade English language arts. She has also worked summers as an essential early education paraeducator in the Burlington (VT) School District.

Her student teaching took place at Plymouth Regional High School, where she worked with students with disabilities ages 14–21; Holderness Central School, as a fifth grade/K–4 math interventionist; and Newfound Memorial Middle School, in eighth grade English language arts. She has also worked summers as an essential early education paraeducator in the Burlington (VT) School District.

Goulette ran on Plymouth State’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams during all four of her undergraduate years and was captain 2016–2018. She earned Academic All-Conference honors 2015–2018 and received the Brad Wilby Award for leadership, character, and service in 2017. She served as cross country assistant coach for Holderness School in 2018.

Her activities also include serving as treasurer of the PSU chapter of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) (2016–2018).

2018 Commencement Speakers
Honorary Degrees and Granite State Awards

Countdown to Commencement