SNHU Graduates Celebrate Commencement

Saturday, May 16, 2009
SNHU Communications Office

Southern New Hampshire University celebrated its 77th commencement Saturday, May 16, at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

In 2008-2009, 1,384 undergraduate students earned their degrees and 929 were expected to attend Saturday’s ceremony; 930 graduate students earned their degrees and 392 were expected to attend.

“These are life dreams come true. These are indeed achievements that deserve the pomp and circumstance that characterize today’s event,” President Paul LeBlanc told the graduates. “We will avidly watch the ways you put your degrees to work. 

“Find the thing you love to do and do it for others -- not for yourself. In the magic of that calculus, I think you’ll find happiness.”

Dr. Clayton M. Christensen, the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, served as the commencement speaker and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

A Rhodes Scholar, a former White House Fellow, an author and a seasoned entrepreneur, Christensen founded three successful companies and served as assistant to U.S. Transportation Secretaries Drew Lewis and Elizabeth Dole. He has served on several boards and town government bodies and his writing has won several awards. 

Christensen spoke about the tests graduates have faced, in school and in life, and reminded them they will face more in their lives. He advised them that questions are even more important than answers. He provided examples from his life and in the world, touching on democracy, religion and capitalism, that illustrated that lesson.

“Finding the right answer is impossible unless we ask the right question,” he said, and urged them to ask themselves how they can improve the world for those around them as go forward after graduation.

Additional honorary degree recipients included Wesley McNair, poet and professor emeritus at the University of Maine, Farmington, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Businessman and SNHU alumnus Robert Finlay, of Peterborough, received an honorary Doctor of Business. He is the managing partner of Hillcrest Management LLC and a member of the board of directors of Friends of Forgotten Children.

Eemaan Rameez, who received her M.S. in operations and project management, was the student speaker. The Maldives native who lived in Malaysia before coming to SNHU spoke about challenges, including her experience in Malaysia during the 2003 tsunami.

“In the midst of this chaos, I was comforted by the global family I had created here at SNHU. You were among the first to reach out. You made me realize that everything global is really local,” she said. “Together, then, we will welcome challenges with the light ignited here at Southern New Hampshire University.”

The university also presented its annual Excellence in Teaching Awards. The recipients were full-time arts and humanities Professor Robert Craven, of Manchester; sociology adjunct instructor James Duffy, of Litchfield; and math lecturer Irwin Bramson, of Merrimack. 

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