Plymouth State University Alumni Association Honors Seven for Service to PSUAA and University, Leadership and Professional Excellence

September 27th, 2011 by blyndes

Plymouth, N.H.—Seven Plymouth State University alumni were honored at a ceremony during the University’s annual Homecoming and Family Celebration September 23-25 on campus.

Plymouth State University 2011 Alumni Association awardees were honored at a September 24 ceremony in Heritage Commons. Bottom row, l-r, Dr. Nancy Puglisi, Laura Brusseau, Jowana Hutchins Wilkins. Top row, l-r, Ryan Carr, PSU President Sara Jayne Steen, Arlene Stoppe and Donald Stoppe.

The Distinguished Alumni Service Award was presented to Laura Brusseau ’04 of Laconia. The award recognizes a graduate who through unselfish devotion and loyalty has served Plymouth State University and/or The Plymouth State University Alumni Association (PSUAA).  Brusseau was an active volunteer leader and an exceptional chair of the PSUAA Board of Directors. She is known as a volunteer who accomplishes a great deal behind the scenes and moves the organization forward in inches that suddenly add up to miles. She is also an ardent community volunteer. As a high school teacher, Brusseau was moved by the number of youth in the Lakes Region who were suffering from poverty, hunger or homelessness.  In 2006, that awareness motivated her to develop the Faith, Hope and Love Foundation to bring relief and hope to children, teens and their families.  Since its inception, the foundation has awarded scholarships and initiated multiple service projects.

The Alumni Achievement Award was presented to Ryan Carr ’00, of Windham. The award recognizes alumni who exemplify the University motto, Ut prosim (That I may serve). A candidate must demonstrate active participation in and contributions to the activities of the PSUAA, their chosen field, or the improvement of society in general. As a student, Carr was a multitasker who succeeded in and out of the classroom. He earned NCAA Scholar All-American status three times as a member of the wrestling team. He frequently returns to PSU to speak with students in classes on career explorations and professional sales. Carr is a tireless promoter of internships and works to connect PSU students with experiences to help advance their careers. He has offered significant career advice and assistance to fellow alumni as well.

Carr applies his passion to the causes that have meaning in his life and in those of other New Hampshire citizens: his hometown of Salem, Easter Seals, Plymouth State University and student athletes. He coaches and mentors hundreds of young athletes, teaching them good sportsmanship, physical and mental preparation and working as the member of a team.

Arlene Scadova Stoppe ’83 and Donald Stoppe ’84, ’98G are the 2011 recipients of the Ut Prosim Award.  The Award recognizes alumni whose exemplary community service and contributions in business, professional, civic, philanthropic, volunteer or similar activities have brought honor to PSU and exemplify the University motto, Ut prosim (That I may serve).

As landlords, the Stoppes have provided homes to thousands of students over the past 30 years. The Stoppe Management Services business model creates positive and constructive relationships with the student tenants, modeling responsible and proactive behavior to assure strong neighborhoods. Their strong commitment to both “town” and “gown,” means that they must sometimes mediate between the two, always seeking a win-win for the parties involved. Recently, they have exhibited a deep dedication to environmental sustainability in their rental units, including new initiatives in renewable energy and waste recycling.

As community leaders, the Stoppes are known to many local residents and PSU students,  but few are aware of the invisible contributions they make to their less fortunate neighbors. Avid outdoor adventurers, they dedicate countless hours to offering adaptive recreational experiences so those with physical disabilities can experience the joy of the outdoors activities that we take for granted. At least one day every week throughout the summer they host an adaptive water skiing program on their boat on Squam Lake. They collaborate with other community volunteers to make the day a full, summer, outdoor experience with an evening barbecue. During the winter Arlene volunteers regularly for the Adaptive Ski Program at Waterville Valley, where Don plows the frozen lake and maintains a public skating loop, promoting his love of the sport of speed skating.

The Recent Alumni Award of Excellence was presented to Jowana Hutchins Wilkins ’03. The award goes to an alumna or alumnus who has graduated with the last 10 years, and recognizes professional excellence and outstanding service to the University, the PSUAA, the community or the nation.

As a new teacher in Colorado, Wilkins quickly identified what she could do to help the many disadvantaged children in her school district. Concentrating on literacy as a core skill for success for her at risk students, Wilkins spends hours each week working one-on-one with students in reading and word recognition. As a Leveled Literacy Interventionist, she targets those students with individual issues in reading and phonetic awareness. She is the co-facilitator for the Response to Intervention Program, to assure that students receiving extra assistance are progressing, and developing new alternatives if they are not. She also volunteers to spend extra time with children from families who are homeless, where stability is a serious obstacle to literacy.

Always the one to volunteer her time for special school functions or extra efforts to involve parents and families, Jowanna designed an innovative open house program for children reading below grade level. She recruited organizations, such as the library and the local medical clinic, to connect families to support services for their children, and recruited volunteers to help host the students and their families. She approached local businesses to donate gifts and prizes to encourage more attendance and to reward participation.

Bryan Funk ’11 was selected for the Graduating Senior Award of Excellence which honors a member of the incoming alumni class who exhibits outstanding campus and community leadership while enhancing alumni activities. Funk was an outstanding student leader at PSU, not only because of his inherent organizational, motivational and visionary abilities, but because of an unusual world view. As a sophomore, he initiated the student organization Ending Genocide Around the World. He invited a human rights group, Invisible Children, to campus on multiple occasions to share the plight of the child soldiers of Uganda with the Plymouth community and to raise funds for schools for the children who are rescued. He also served in more traditional campus leadership roles like Orientation Leader and Admissions Office Fellow and Student Body President. He was the first student to be invited as a lecturer for the prestigious Sidore Lecture Series at PSU.

The “Flood of Flags” event on campus was one of Bryan’s most remarkable undertakings. The event acknowledged PSU’s connection to and support of Plymouth State alumni of the Pakistani Educational Leadership Institute who were impacted by the devastating floods in their country last year. The event was described by Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Terri Potter as “perhaps the most visually stunning and thoroughly developed student-run program I have ever seen on our campus.”  It received wide-spread media attention and raised more than $3,000.

Nancy Puglisi ’81G of Holderness received the Outstanding Graduate Alumni Award. The Award honors graduate alumni who by earning a graduate degree have been able to impact their profession, community or society in a positive and meaningful way.

Puglisi has dedicated her career to improving the work world for the more than 4,000 faculty and staff of the University System of New Hampshire. As USNH Director of Organizational Wellness, Puglisi created and led one of the first health promotion programs for employees in higher education. She is a pioneer in the design of workplace wellness.

Her groundbreaking work led to national recognitions for her and for USNH including:

The US Department of Health and Human Services Community Health Promotion Award,

the National Association of College and University Business Officers’ Award for creating a cost-effective health promotion program, the Health Innovator of the Year Award presented by New Hampshire Business Review and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care for innovative ideas and ongoing focus on employee well-being, the Wellness Council of America’s  Gold Workplace Wellness Award for USNH’s comprehensive health promotion program and the leadership’s support of health and wellness efforts on all four USNH campuses.

Puglisi is now Research Associate Professor in PSU’s College of Graduate Studies where she is the director of the Organizational Approaches to Transformation and Healing (OATH) and Personal Approaches to Transformation and Healing (PATH) Institutes, and serves as faculty in the Doctor of Education program. She has also been honored by Granite State College for distinguished teaching. Her most recent publication, Fishing without a Hook: Catching Moments at Work, is a collection of poems focused on the applying the concepts of compassionate heart, open mind, and good intention in the office and the classroom.


Information about the PSUAA recognition awards is available from Rodney Ekstrom,

General information about events at PSU is available at ThisWeek@PSU,

For more information about this release, contact  Betsy Cheney (603) 535-2276