PSU Alumni Association Recognizes Outstanding Alums

June 2nd, 2008 by Adam

PLYMOUTH, N.H. —The Plymouth State University Alumni Association recognized outstanding members who exemplify the best in professional achievement, service to the institution and alumni association, and service to the community Saturday evening in the Smith Recital Hall, Silver Center for the Arts on the PSU campus Saturday, May 31.

This year’s honorees are:

Graduating Senior Award of Excellence: Jessica Morrell ’08
Jessica has been very committed to engaging alumni and students at Plymouth. Through her fellowship, she was able to bring educators and students together for academic purposes. She assisted in awarding scholarships and grants while also being involved with the organizing and coordination of Alumni Weekend during 2006 and 2007. She continues to show her commitment by volunteering to present at a professional conference for alumni professionals in Boston.

“With all of the work I was doing for the alumni association I never stopped to think that I might be having an impact on the alumni,” Morrell said.

Outstanding Graduate Alumni Award: Phil Desmond ’01G
Whether he’s building a successful business, raising money for a charity or playing drums in a band, Phil Desmond loves to be challenged. Desmond, who earned an MBA from PSU’s College of Graduate Studies in 2001, says the challenges presented to him at Plymouth have not only honed his business acumen, but helped him in every facet of his life. Desmond is the owner of Brown Furniture in Lebanon, N.H.

“As a small business owner I thought that I could use some strengthening and develop tools that would help me be successful in the game of business,” Desmond said of his decision to pursue an MBA degree at PSU. “Since graduating my business has grown tremendously.”

Faculty/Staff Award of Excellence: Kenneth Kochien ’87G
When Ken Kochien came to Plymouth State College to earn his MBA, he got more than an education—he got a new career.

A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Kochien was fresh from four years of teaching music at Lisbon (NH) Regional High School when he enrolled in the MBA program at Plymouth State in 1983. When he wasn’t in class, he worked in the Academic Computing Department as a work study student. For Kochien, the job provided an education in a burgeoning new field, information technology. “This was 1983, when IT was in its infancy,” he says. “There was no network, no Internet, and we used tapes for backing up our files.”

“I had the good fortune of working with a number of competent, dedicated staff while I was at Plymouth State,” Kochien said.

Recent Alumni Award of Excellence: Jessica Orf Dutille ’03, ’04G

Jessica Orf Dutille ’03 ’04G earned the 2008 Recent Alumni Award of Excellence because of her commitment to improving the lives of the region’s young people.

Dutille is adjunct faculty at PSU and also directs the Pemi Youth Center in Plymouth. In 2006, she and fellow PSU alumna Laura Brousseau co-founded the Faith, Hope, and Love Foundation to help children benefit from the same love and support they enjoyed while growing up. Public service and volunteer work have been a key part of Dutille’s life since her time as a PSU student. Over the years, she has lent her energy to Habitat for Humanity, the Ronald McDonald House, Communities for Alcohol and Drug-Free Youth, and others.

“When I was a junior in high school in Lebanon, N.H. my parents bribed me to visit Plymouth State with a trip to Canoby Lake Park,” Dutille said. “But from the moment I stepped on the campus, I knew I was home.”

Alumni Achievement Award: Helenjane Doyle Hanson ’53
Helenjane Doyle Hanson enjoyed her first semester at Plymouth Teachers College so much she was almost asked to leave. For the outgoing and athletically-inclined 18-year-old, college life presented newfound freedom and endless opportunities to socialize with friends and shoot hoops in the gym.

Hanson found a balance among her studies, sports, and social life, and was even named to the Dean’s List her senior year. In 1953, she earned her bachelor’s degree in education and embarked on a long and rewarding career teaching third grade, first in Virginia, then Maryland, and finally back in her home state of New Hampshire.

“Plymouth gave me an education, it gave me a profession,” Hanson said. “One that I would love for many years.”

Distinguished Alumni Service Award: R. Scott Biederman ’75 and Patti-Jeanne Ryan Biederman ’76

A quarter of a century ago, when Scott ’75 and Patti Biederman ’76 were still students at Plymouth State College, neither imagined that their future lives would involve a move of a few hundred yards, from campus to Main Street, or a seven-days-a-week career as owners of a deli and market. Now their business, Biederman’s Deli & Pub, along with its sister enterprise The Chase Street Market, is a Plymouth institution that alumni always make certain to visit whenever they return to the campus.

Throughout their business lives Scott and Patti have been packing traveling box lunches and dinners for athletes in every sport, often traveling with the teams and getting to know the players.

Student and town groups turn to the Biedermans for help, advice and donations for special events, and recently the pair spearheaded a PSU fundraising effort to upgrade soccer facilities at the University. In the photo above, Scott ’75 and Patti ’76 Biederman received the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. Daughter Kerri and son-in-law Nate Dutile presented the award.

“Giving back to Plymouth State is of great importance to us,” Patti Biederman said. “It helps us to grow as people.”

<i<Ut Prosim Award (Service): Sean Ryan ’89 and Lela Edgar ’96
Sean Ryan received the 2008 Ut Prosim Award for the unwavering dedication to community service that comes so naturally to him. Ryan hopes to pass on his value for public service to his two sons, ages six and 10.

“Community service and leadership are two things I strive for,” Ryan said. “And for me it started at Plymouth State.”

Lela Edgar, a Hollywood-based actress and filmmaker, has been awarded the 2008 Ut Prosim award for her volunteer work in raising awareness and assistance for AIDS orphans in Africa. Edgar, who has a degree in psychology, began volunteering while a PSC student, working for the Women’s Service and Gender Resource Center and also assisting with a Stop the Violence conference.

She created the non-profit charity “Make a Change” several years ago after visiting Africa and witnessing, first-hand, the dire circumstances of children whose families have been decimated by the AIDS virus. Her goal is to raise enough money to create a self-supporting village that safely houses AIDS orphans and their care givers.

“While in college I learned that each of us can make a difference,” Edgar said. “I appreciate the great beginnings I received at Plymouth State.”

Contact: Christopher Williams, Director of Public Relations (603) 535-2476 or
Office of Public Relations

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