UNH Commencement May 19

Nationally Renowned Journalist to Speak at UNH Commencement

By Jennifer Vento
UNH News Bureau

April 5, 2001

DURHAM, N.H. -- Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of the Public Broadcasting Service's Washington Week in Review, will deliver the keynote address at the May 19 commencement at the University of New Hampshire. The ceremony, honoring some 2,400 graduates, will begin at 10 a.m. at Cowell Stadium, rain or shine.

Ifill will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree from the university. She will be joined by Paul S. Anderson, who will receive an honorary doctor of chemistry degree, and William W. Treat, who will receive an honorary doctor of law degree. The university's Granite State Awards will be presented to Dorothy Vaughan, and J. Willcox Brown and Natale Brown.

Ifill has covered national politics as a newspaper and television journalist for The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, the Boston Herald American, NBC News and MSNBC. She served as White House correspondent for The New York Times and joined NBC News in 1994, where she covered presidential campaigns, congressional issues, and the impeachment of President Clinton. Her work has appeared on Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, Today, and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, where she is a senior correspondent. She was a frequent panelist on Meet the Press and, most recently, was a chief congressional and political correspondent for NBC News.

Ifill is a native of New York City and a preacher's daughter. She credits her father, a leader in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, with instilling in her an abundant curiosity and thirst for knowledge. She is a graduate of Simmons College in Boston and has been the recipient of five honorary degrees. Ifill chairs the board of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Journalism Awards, is a board member of the Harvard Institute of Politics and a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Honorary Degree recipients

Paul S. Anderson, an award-winning medicinal chemist, has been recognized for both his research and leadership credentials throughout his 40-year career. Anderson is a former president of the American Chemical Society and has won such awards as the Philadelphia Section Award and the ACS Award for Industrial Chemistry. He received his Ph.D. from UNH in 1963 and has made significant contributions to the university in order that Conant Hall could become the first National Historic Chemical Landmark in New England.

William W. Treat, an attorney residing in Stratham, has contributed to the legal, judicial, banking, political and civic arenas nationally and locally for the last 40 years. He served as judge of probate and chairperson of the New Hampshire Judicial Council, and initiated legislation to create an administrative office for the Supreme Court and state court system. Treat was the first president of the National College of Probate Judges. He was appointed by Presidents Reagan and Bush as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly and was elected to numerous state and national Republican committees and conventions.

Granite State Award winners

Dorothy Vaughan served as librarian to the city of Portsmouth for 53 years and is credited for having founded Strawbery Banke Museum. She was awarded an honorary degree in humane letters from UNH in 1966, and has served on the boards of the John Paul Jones House, the Moffatt-Ladd House, and has worked most recently for the historic Wentworth-Gardner House near Prescott Park. Vaughan celebrates her 97th birthday this year and her 84th year living in the Port City.

J. Willcox and Natale Brown are conservationists and long-time public servants to the state of New Hampshire. J. Willcox Brown attended Dartmouth and worked extensively in New Hampshire's outdoor parks as well as a selectman and town moderator for Dunbarton. He served as assistant forester for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and as the governor's representative to the National Commission on Public Land Review. His wife, Natale Brown, attended the Yale University School of Nursing and later served as director of the New Hampshire Council on World Affairs for 12 years as chairperson of the Foreign Visitor Hospitality Program.

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