Class of 2009: 875 Graduate From PSU

May 16th, 2009 by Adam
“We did it!” PSU students show off their diplomas at the Undergraduate Commencement Exercises May 16

A record 875 Plymouth State University undergraduate degrees were conferred to the class of 2009 as faculty, staff, administration, friends and family celebrated students’ achievements and successes, Saturday, May 16.

Accompanied by a bagpiper, the graduating seniors and faculty marched the traditional route from campus over Route 175-A and gathered on Currier Memorial Field for the University’s 138th Commencement Exercise, which drew nearly 4,000 people.

PSU President Sara Jayne Steen welcomed the guests and congratulated the graduates.

“You have worked hard,” said Steen. “You also have been given a great gift. Please use it well.”

PSU 2009 UG Commencement
PSU President Sara Jayne Steen congratulates one of 875 graduates at PSU’s Undergraduate Commencement ceremony May 16

Also, each diploma cover President Steen handed to graduates contains a postcard for them to mail in a year, letting her know how they are doing. “You are part of the PSU community — now, next year, and all the years to follow,” Steen said.

Highlights of the Commencement Exercise included:
AnnMarie Morse, noted advocate for health insurance, received a Granite State Award.

Morse spearheaded a nationwide effort to ensure seriously ill college students can continue to receive health care insurance through their family’s health insurance policy, even if they are unable to maintain their full-time student status. AnnMarie’s daughter, Michelle, was a Plymouth State University student when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Although Michelle’s doctor suggested she take a leave of absence from school, she maintained a full course schedule in order to keep her health insurance coverage. Michelle Morse died in November, 2005.

The Granite State Award was presented by President Steen and N.H. Congressman Paul Hodes, who said Morse’s resolve in changing health insurance law was heroic.

“You have served New Hampshire and the nation with distinction,” Hodes said.

Morse delivered the commencement address, reminding graduates to always expect the unexpected and deal with it head-on and optimistically.

AnnMarie Morse
N.H. Congressman Paul Hodes presents a Granite State Award to AnnnMarie Morse at PSU’s Undergraduate Commencement ceremony May 16

“There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled,” said Morse. “In life you may be faced with challenges and obstacles, some may be minor or major; do you know how you will handle that? Will you work on a solution that will be perfect for you, or will you give up? Live well, laugh often and love much.”

For more about AnnMarie Morse, go here.

Cynthia Vascak, Professor of Art, received the Distinguished Teaching Award, telling graduates that you never stop the learning process.

“Your journey has been etched into our memory,” Vascak said. “Today is a day of celebration, you dared to hold on to your dream and you have made them happen; we are so very proud of you.”

For more about Cynthia Vascak, go here .

Joe Mealey, Adjunct Faculty in English, received the Distinguished Teaching Award – Adjunct Faculty. He thanked the students and wished them luck in their future endeavors.

“Thirteen years ago, when I came back to Plymouth as an adjunct faculty member, if someone were to tell me I’d be here today receiving this award, I never would have believed them,” Mealey said. For more about Mealey, go here

PSU Fast facts

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