Dedicated Alumni Honored at Alumni Weekend

October, 2007
almuni honored

2007 Alumni Award Recipients Honored at Alumni Weekend

Alumni Weekend at PSU is a time for PSU to celebrate alumni for all they do on behalf of their alma mater. At the alumni awards ceremony on Saturday, June 23, Eugene “Gene” Savage ’58 and Scott Tierno ’87 were honored with the 2007 Alumni Achievement Awards, Virginia Deachman Dearborn ’46 received the 2007 Distinguished Alumni Service Award, Dana Nelson ’69 received the Ut Prosim Award, and Richard Ober ’83 was named the 2007 Robert Frost Contemporary American Award recipient.

Alumni Achievement Awards

Teacher, guidance counselor, administrator, dedicated alumnus—Gene Savage ’58 has devoted his professional life to education. He started his career as a high school teacher and guidance counselor in New Hampshire and Vermont, then transitioned to positions in post-secondary education, serving first as the University of New Hampshire’s dean of admissions for 14 years, then as vice president for university relations. He was later promoted to vice chancellor for university system relations for the University System of New Hampshire. [For more on his accomplishments, see “Eugene and Joan Savage Honored with Endowed Scholarship“]

Like Savage, Scott Tierno ’87 also has devoted his professional life to education. After graduating from Plymouth State, he moved to Pennsylvania and embarked on a career as a university administrator, first at Gannon University and later at Shippensburg University. For the past decade Tierno has been at Southern New Hampshire University, most recently serving as director of Student Life.

Since his days as a PSU undergraduate, Tierno has remained actively involved with the University, serving five years as president of the Alumni Association board of directors.

“Receiving this award reminds me of the many rewarding and challenging experiences that I have had as a member of the Alumni Association’s board of directors,” said Tierno. “Without all of us working as a team, the Alumni Association would not have become the organization it is today.”

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Virginia (Deachman) Dearborn graduated from Plymouth Teachers College in 1946. Over the next six decades, she devoted her career to teaching New Hampshire schoolchildren in Monroe, Campton, Holderness, and Plymouth.

Dearborn has supported her alma mater as well in that time, serving for 18 years as class agent for the class of 1946 and assisting in the planning process for each of the class reunions since graduation. She also was involved with the creation of the class of 1946 endowment fund for undergraduate students majoring in education. Awards from the fund are based on academic achievement and financial need, as well as recommendations from the education department.

Ut Prosim Award

Dana Nelson ’69 is always ready to offer a helping hand. An active member of his community in Virginia’s Hanover County Nelson has provided scholarships to strangers, used his roofing distribution company to repair the roof of a church parishioner, and provided financial assistance to foster families.

In 2004, Nelson, a Vietnam War veteran who has multiple sclerosis, helped establish Operation Hope. This organization raises funds for the creation of accessible playgrounds for children with disabilities and their families. “There are more children with disabilities than I was aware of,” Nelson said. “As my own abilities have diminished, my awareness of the challenges facing people with disabilities has been heightened.”

Robert Frost Contemporary American Award

Richard Ober, a distinguished member of the class of 1983, has been named the 2007 Robert Frost Contemporary American Award recipient by the Plymouth State University Alumni Association. Ober has spent more than 20 years bringing a message of environmental stewardship to the public with conservation organizations, lecturing, and his award-winning writing.

Ober has been the executive director of the Monadnock Conservancy, based in Keene, NH, since 2001. He is responsible for program development and implementation, fund development, finances, personnel, and public affairs. “This award recognizes Robert Frost’s values of individuality, hard work, and humanitarianism. Being a part of New Hampshire’s nonprofit community has given me the opportunity to know and work with scores of people who exemplify those values as well as or better than I do,” remarked Ober.

Ober also has been a senior staff member of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and editor of the journal Forest Notes. In addition, he has co-authored or edited four books, including the acclaimed The Northern Forest, and contributed to such publications as Yankee Magazine, Outside, Habitat, and AMC Outdoors.

“I accept this award not just for me but on behalf of all who dedicate their lives to making this country north of Boston such a rewarding and interesting place to live,” said Ober. He was introduced at this year’s ceremony by Lew Feldstein, president of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

“We are pleased to honor Richard Ober,” said PSU President Sara Jayne Steen. “He has given voice to the people and issues of New Hampshire, and his writing is both significant and compelling.”

Ober has served on several nonprofit and public boards and is a past president of the NH Writers’ Project, NH Travel Council, and NH Common Cause.

Ober, who holds degrees in English, political science, and Spanish, lives in Dublin, New Hampshire, with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Daisy.

The Robert Frost Contemporary American Award was instituted at Plymouth State in 1970. Named in memory of the famed poet, Robert Frost, the award was created by the Alumni Association to recognize those individuals whose service to the people of New England best exemplifies Frost’s values of individuality, hard work, humanitarianism, and devotion to the country “North of Boston.” [For more on Richard Ober, see the Spring 2005 issue of Plymouth Magazine.]

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