PSU Commencement Speaker Seeks Leadership From Graduates

May 19th, 2007 by Adam

The message to Plymouth State University’s 136th graduating class was simple.

“Values are the cornerstone, the centerpiece of leadership; we must have a core of leaders that are of a new breed,” said commencement speaker Linda Tarr-Whelan, who worked in both the Carter and Clinton administrations in a variety of capacities including the U.S. ambassador and representative to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

“We need leaders who recognize that inequality hurts all of us, we need honest, good listeners and problem solvers,” Tarr-Whelan said. “Be leaders who empower, who are agents for peace and justice.”

Tarr-Whelan also encouraged the graduates to embrace the opportunity of leadership.

““Go forth and enjoy every day, live a meaningful life, and in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘be the change you want to see in the world.’”

Tarr-Whelan also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

PSU President Sara Jayne Steen presided over the commencement exercises and conferred the degrees upon 783 seniors—one of the school’s largest graduating classes. She also awarded two degrees posthumously to PSU students Jessica Hamlyn of South Dennis, Mass., who was killed in an automobile accident in early March; and Jared Barrows of Marshfield, Mass., whose death in late April was the result of a severe head trauma.

PSU biology professor Christopher Chabot received the University’s 2007 Distinguished Teaching Award.

The University also presented its Granite State Award to James W. Desmarais of Plymouth for his long-time support of high school athletics in New Hampshire; and the Rev. Sidney Lovett of Holderness for his many years of community service.

University System of New Hampshire Chancellor Stephen Reno presented the Chancellor’s Medallion to USNH Board of Trustee member, and Plymouth State Alumni, Eugene A. Savage. Reno cited Savage’s tireless efforts on behalf of higher education in general and the university system in particular.

For more information, contact Christopher Williams, PSU Public Relations Director, (603) 535-2476 or