PSU to Award Honorary Degrees to Dick and Betty Hanaway

May 6th, 2011 by Adam

Dick and Betty Hanaway of Holderness, civic leaders and successful business owners, will receive honorary doctorate of business degrees May 21 at Plymouth State University’s 140th undergraduate commencement ceremony. The Hanaways are longtime philanthropic supporters of the University who have sought to enrich the entire region through their support of artistic, cultural, and recreational initiatives at PSU.

Dick and Betty Hanaway
Dick and Betty Hanaway of Holderness will receive honorary doctorate of business degrees May 21 at Plymouth State University’s 140th undergraduate commencement ceremony

The Hanaways have been involved in real estate for decades, bringing affordable and workforce housing to the region, and building condominiums in Waterville Valley and Campton. Betty graduated in Psychology from Utica College. Dick graduated in English from Colgate University, then earned a master of arts in teaching from Rhode Island College. He has a long history with education, having taught high school for five years before entering the business world.

“We accept this honorary degree with a profound sense of gratitude. We find ourselves in a unique situation where we can make a difference, not only for the University but also for the community,” said Dick Hanaway.

Betty said, “Gifting is like sailing beyond the horizon – you can’t see the goal, you just have to believe it will happen.”

To honor the loyal support offered by the Hanaways, Plymouth State named the 665-seat proscenium theatre in the Silver Center for the Arts the Hanaway Theatre, and the ice sheet in the newly-opened PSU Ice Arena is the Hanaway Rink. The impact of the Hanaway Rink is well aligned with the impact envisioned for the Hanaway Theatre when it opened more than 15 years ago—a vision based on institutional need combined with community inclusion for the betterment of all.

According to Plymouth State University President Sara Jayne Steen, “Dick and Betty Hanaway are wonderful citizens and civic leaders who are tremendous role models in using their talents for good. Plymouth State has been honored to work in partnership with the Hanaways over many years to improve the quality of life for everyone in our region.”

Since his arrival in the Plymouth area in the early ’70s, Dick has been involved in a wide range of projects. He was instrumental in founding Downtown 2000 and ensuing organizations that helped spearhead a blueprint for downtown business development. His interest in community revitalization, coupled with his concerns for protecting the natural environment, including the Pemigewasset River, is closely linked to his work as a real estate developer.

“I worked with the stakeholders, we pushed for change, and it made a difference to residents, visitors, students and their families—everyone who strolls or shops along Plymouth’s Main Street,” said Hanaway. “Working together, we, all of us, made a difference.”

Deeply committed to the performing arts, the Hanaways have been avid advocates and supporters over the years of the New Hampshire Music Festival, which takes the stage each summer in the Hanaway Theatre. Dick and Betty generously volunteer their time in the adaptive ski program at Waterville Valley, working with disabled skiers during the winter months. Their support for the new PSU Ice Arena reflected their desire to expand recreational activities for people of all ages, resulting in greater community health and wellness.

“Working together with Plymouth State has provided us volunteer involvement that reflects our values about the importance of people and the community. Like us, Plymouth State University has a vision for bringing the best to the community, which in turn benefits the individual,” Dick noted.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or