Alyssa Griffin, Ann Thurston, and Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth were recently honored by Plymouth State University (PSU) with Campus Compact for New Hampshire’s (CCNH) annual Presidents’ Awards. The awardees were celebrated in a virtual ceremony on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
CCNH is a statewide consortium of college and university presidents that is dedicated to advancing the civic purposes of higher education. PSU President Donald Birx, Ph.D., and members of the PSU community nominated the individuals and groups for their commitment to serving the campus and Plymouth-area communities.
“The recipients of this year’s Campus Compact Awards have truly gone above and beyond in their efforts to make Plymouth State University, our community and our region stronger,” said Birx. “Alyssa and Ann truly exemplify Plymouth State University’s culture of service, and they are deeply committed to creating a positive, supportive and enriching campus experience for all PSU students.”
Alyssa Griffin, a second-year meteorology major and member of the PSU honors program from Londonderry, New Hampshire, was honored with the Presidents’ Leadership Award, which recognizes students or student groups who have made outstanding contributions to civic engagement. Campus Compact also named Griffin a Newman Fellow.[LC1] Griffinis a student leader and passionate volunteer who has made a significant impact on PSU and the broader community. She serves as Interim President of the Student Support Foundation (SSF), a student-led organization that provides emergency financial grants, manages an on-campus food pantry and provides other services at no cost to PSU students. She is also a writing consultant for Lamson Library and is active in student government, serving as treasurer of her class. Griffin is committed to addressing food insecurity and ensuring that her peers have access to basic needs, and inspires her fellow students to take care of each other and the community through her own actions.
Ann Thurston, Director of Planned Giving, was honored with the Good Steward Award, given to a faculty, administration or staff member who has contributed his or her professional expertise in service to the wider community and who has significantly advanced public service on his or her campus. Thurston is a PSU “triple alumna” who received her bachelor’s degree in 1980, her master’s degree in 2000, and her certificate of advanced graduate studies in 2007, and has spent her entire 40-year career at the University. She has touched many facets of the University, from working with department chairs, to the Registrar’s Office, to the Office of Sponsored Programs, to securing more than $1 million in planned giving to benefit future generations of PSU students. Thurston does not consider raising funds for Plymouth State a job, but a calling. She will retire from PSU in summer 2021, but will continue to be a presence on campus.
PSU recognized Speare Memorial Hospital with the Community Partner Award, which is given to a non-profit organization that has enhanced the quality of life in the community and engaged in the development of sustained, reciprocal partnerships with a college or university. From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Speare has taken the lead in keeping Plymouth-area residents, including PSU students and other members of the community, safe, healthy and informed. The hospital worked with the National Guard, the state of New Hampshire, regional Emergency Preparedness resources and PSU officials to stand-up an Alternate Care Site at the PSU Ice Arena and Welcome Center in March 2020, when health officials warned of a mid-April surge. The hospital rolled-out telehealth services in early April, which made it possible for patients to see their providers virtually. Additionally, Speare has been a clinical training site for PSU nursing students for nearly a decade, and PSU’s new medical simulation lab offers Speare’s nursing staff opportunities to train and practice clinical scenarios. Speare Memorial Hospital has been and continues to be a tremendous asset to the greater Plymouth area, and a vital partner to Plymouth State University.
“The entire staff at Speare Memorial Hospital has been an integral leader and partner in helping our region through the pandemic,” said Birx. “They have demonstrated professionalism and shown compassion at every turn, and have been a steadying presence for all of us, and we are grateful.”
CCNH’s programs and resources include training, advocacy, funding, legislative outreach and recognition for community-based work that both enhances student learning and provides needed public services. Annually, more than 23,000 student volunteers from CCNH’s member campuses serve some six million hours in local communities through initiatives run or supported by their institutions, providing millions of dollars in services.