UNH Media Relations
DURHAM, N.H. – Idealism and public service were the messages to University of New Hampshire graduates at the university’s 138th Commencement Saturday, May 24, 2008. Approximately 2,500 students ages 20 to 60 representing 38 states and 13 foreign countries celebrated the culmination of their academic careers.
“I urge you to find a way to share your gifts and talents and help others. It will not always be easy, but most often you will find an incredible sense of joy in doing so. You will find adventure and new friendships. Being part of something larger than yourself is exhilarating,” keynote speaker Michael Brown told the graduates. Brown is CEO and co-founder of the youth service group City Year. A graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, Brown received a Doctor of Humane Letters.
In 1988, while a student at Harvard Law School, he and classmate Alan Khazei launched City Year, an organization that promotes civic involvement among diverse 17-to-24-year-olds who unite for 10-month terms of community service in various locations around the country and in South Africa.
Corps members meet critical needs in their communities, serving as teachers' aides, running after-school programs and vacation camps, teaching violence and AIDS prevention, rehabilitating public housing units, and building parks and playgrounds. From a 50-person pilot program launched in 1988, City Year has grown to involve more than 1,000 corps members serving in 11 cities across the United States.
“I urge you to lead an idealistic life. Work to make things better. You could do it full-time for a while, like we do at City Year. A year of service can be a powerful experience, and I can tell you, you are needed. But the key is to incorporate an idealistic spirit into your life at every stage. Believe that change is possible, and work toward it,” Brown said.
UNH President Mark Huddleston encouraged the graduates to make a positive impact on the world -- a world, he said, that needs their help.
"All of you graduates, no matter where you come from, no matter how
old you are, no matter your major, are about to enter a world that is at once
fascinating and enticing, but complicated and often troubled. It is a world
that needs your help — not only in the respective professions for which
you are now so well prepared — but in your neighborhoods and in neighborhoods
far beyond our own borders,” Huddleston said.
“Even if you can't give a year, think about how you might give a week, or a day, or even the occasional afternoon. Someone, somewhere, needs your help. Get your ticket punched today and change the world,” he said.
The Granite State Award was presented to Joanne Lamprey, president of Lamprey Brothers, a fuel company servicing the state for more than 80 years. Lamprey is a board member of First Tee, an organization that teaches children values through the game of golf. She has also been instrumental in transitioning the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals from a small nonprofit operation to a mature organization by leveraging resources critical to the organization's ultimate success.
The Granite State Award honors New Hampshire citizens, agencies, corporations, and foundations whose achievements and/or extraordinary service in their own particular spheres have made significant beneficial contributions to the state.
Charles Simic, U.S. poet laureate and UNH professor emeritus, received a Doctor of Letters. As a poet, essayist, and translator, he has published nearly 30 books of poetry, eight volumes of nonfiction prose, and 13 volumes of poetry in English translation. He also has edited or co-edited three anthologies: "European and South American Poetry," "Best American Poetry of 1992," and "New British Poetry." To date, 38 volumes of his work have been published in other languages.
Daniel Mariaschin, ’71, received a Doctor of Humane Letters. Mariaschin is executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International, a worldwide service organization that unites people of Jewish faith and enhances Jewish identity through strengthening family life, the education and training of youth, broad-based services for the benefit of senior citizens, and advocacy and action on behalf of Jews throughout the world.
CEO and Founder of City Year