Plymouth State University Announces 2020 Alumni Award Recipients

The Plymouth State University (PSU) Alumni Association recently announced its 2020 Alumni Award recipients. Six alumni and one staff member were recognized for their commitment to serving PSU, their professions and their communities.

“Plymouth State University is extremely fortunate to have such exceptional, dedicated and caring alumni,” said Donald L. Birx, Ph.D., President, Plymouth State University. “Their continued service to the University helps to set us apart from other educational institutions and inspires current students to consider how they can contribute to the PSU community – both while they’re on campus and when they graduate.”

The Alumni Awards are typically conferred at commencement, but the PSU Alumni Association has modified its annual tradition because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 PSU Alumni Award recipients are as follows.

Graduating Senior Award of Excellence

Ashley Hichborn of Exeter, NH, class of 2020, was honored for her selfless devotion to her classmates and to PSU as an alumni fellow, student senator, class officer and student body president. While on campus, Hichborn designed her own major to create a foundation for her future work in advocacy marketing. She credits PSU with providing her with a well-rounded education and rich, real-world experiences and learning opportunities to help her confidently enter the workforce. Hichborn recently accepted a position focusing on graphic design and communications for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

Recent Alumni Award of Excellence

Colin Murphy of Boston, MA, class of 2013, was recognized for his long-standing commitment to PSU. He serves as an Advisory Board member for the Plymouth Sales Program, and arranged for his employer, Quick Base of Cambridge, MA, to sponsor the program. Murphy volunteers with the PSU Admissions Office, representing the university at several college fairs each year to help recruit the next generation of Panthers. He also leads the Panther Business Club, organizing Boston-area alumni events and the club’s scholarship program.

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Claira Monier of Goffstown, NH, class of 1962, was honored for her devotion to organizing her class reunion and her tireless service to the PSU Alumni Association Board of Directors. Prior to her retirement in 2007, Monier served as Executive Director of New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority for nearly 20 years. She also served on the Community Development Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and as Director of the New Hampshire State Council on Aging, and chaired New Hampshire Governor Judd Gregg’s Commission on Health Care Costs and Availability.

Alumni Achievement Awards (two recipients)

Joe Gray, class of 1980, and Ron Bonneau, class of 1981, were both recognized for exemplifying PSU’s motto, “Ut prosim” (That I may serve), through special contributions to PSU Alumni Association activities and to their respective professions.

Joe Gray ’80, of Pittsfield, NH, was honored for his contributions to and achievement in arts through his sculpture work. For more than 25 years, Gray has worked with and created art out of stone, selling pieces across the globe that reflect his love for the natural world. He was commissioned to install a sculpture on the nationally renowned Clipper City Rail Trail & Harborwalk in Newburyport, MA. He has exhibited custom sculptures at the prestigious Boston Flower & Garden Show and the Newport (Rhode Island) Flower Show. He also created a tribute to the adolescent victims of the Holocaust, now on display at the Holocaust Memorial in Nashua, NH.

Ron Bonneau ’81, of Caldwell, ID, was celebrated for his contributions to and achievement in athletics as both a competitive alpine skier and coach. He competed for PSU as a student and is currently in his 30th and final season as the head coach of the College of Idaho men’s and women’s alpine ski program. During his tenure, Bonneau has coached nine United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) individual national champions, 39 first-team All-Americans and 105 national scholar-athletes. In 2016, he was honored as USCSA National Coach of the Year. He has also served as the Executive Director of the Northwest Collegiate Ski Conference during most of his tenure at the College of Idaho, helping generations of collegiate skiers in the region to have opportunities to compete. He also serves as the Vice Chair of the Collegiate Committee for U.S. Skiing.

Outstanding Graduate Alumni Award

Charles Lloyd, Ed.D., of Bow, NH, graduate class of 2007, and 2011 recipient, certificate of advanced graduate studies, was honored for his leadership in education, working to transform the community college experience for students across the state of New Hampshire. Lloyd began his career at New Hampshire Technical Institute (NHTI), working in student life, teaching businesses and leadership classes, and coaching men’s basketball, and currently serves as President of White Mountains Community College. His passion and dedication to helping students achieve their goals through higher education has continued to grow over the years.

Faculty/Staff Award of Excellence

Lauren Lavigne, M.Ed., of Plymouth, class of 1994 and graduate class of 1996, was recognized for her dedication to engaging student-athlete alumni in campus activities, and for her efforts in organizing the Women’s Leadership Summit, an event dedicated to supporting PSU women through philanthropy, unity and personal growth. Lavigne has served in several roles in the PSU Athletics Department, including 14 years as women’s basketball head coach. Lavigne is the winningest head coach for women’s basketball in school history. For her efforts, she was twice named Coach of the Year by the New England Women’s Basketball Association – in 2000 and 2002 – and she was inducted into the Queen City Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001 for her career contributions, both as a player at West High School in Manchester and as a player and coach at PSU. 

For more information about the PSU Alumni Association, please visit https://www.plymouth.edu/alumni/.