Storyteller Willem Lange Named Granite State Award Winner

May 6th, 2008 by Adam

PLYMOUTH, N.H – One of northern New England’s best known storytellers, Willem Lange’s rich and varied life experiences have earned him many fans. Lange will receive a Granite State Award Saturday, May 10, at Plymouth State University’s College of Graduate Studies Commencement Ceremony(plymouth.edu/commencement/graduate )

Lange was chosen for the award based on his outstanding professional and civic achievements.

Lange admitted he was shocked when he learned he was receiving the Granite State Award.

“New Hampshire being what it is, I’d had no idea that anybody was reading, listening, or watching ¬ except when they disagreed strongly with me,” said Lange.

His advice to new graduates?

“Consider that everything you have, -¬ everything!- ¬ is a gift, and never forget the needs of the millions of your fellow creatures who have less, or even nothing.”

Lange has lived in New England for over 50 years, working everywhere from the lumber woods in the Adirondacks and the coastal islands of Maine to the ivied halls of Dartmouth College.

During a few absences from New England, Lange earned a degree in only nine years at the College of Wooster in Ohio.

In between those scattered semesters, he worked as a ranch hand, Adirondack guide, preacher, construction laborer, bobsled run announcer, assembly line worker, cab driver, bookkeeper, and bartender. After graduating in 1962, he taught high school English in northern New York, filling in summers as an Outward Bound instructor.

From 1968 to 1972, Lange directed the Dartmouth Outward Bound Center. From 1972 until his “retirement” in 2007, he was a building and remodeling contractor in Hanover. Lange is also an adopted member of the Dartmouth Class of 1957.
In 1981 he began writing a weekly column, “A Yankee Notebook,” which appears in several New England newspapers.

He’s a commentator or host for Vermont Public Radio and both Vermont and New Hampshire Public Television. His annual readings of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol began in 1975 and continue unabated. He’s published several audio recordings and five books and received an Emmy nomination for one of his pieces on Vermont Public Television.

In 1973 Lange founded the Geriatric Adventure Society, a group of outdoor enthusiasts whose members have skied the 200-mile Alaska Marathon, climbed in Alaska, the Andes, and Himalayas, bushwhacked on skis through northern New England, and paddled rivers north of the Arctic Circle.

PSU’s College of Graduate Studies Commencement Ceremony will be held Saturday, May 10, at 10 a.m. in the Foley Gymnasium.

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