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UNH Public Programs and Events Commencement

UNH Honors Two CEOs with Granite State Awards

By Lori Gula
UNH News Bureau

May 6, 2003

DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire will honor J. Michael Hickey and Forrest D. McKerley with Granite State Awards at Commencement, Saturday, May 24.

Hickey is president and CEO of Verizon-NH, and McKerley is chairman and CEO of Secure Care Products.

"J. Michael Hickey and Forrest McKerley have been instrumental in their support of the university and of higher education in the state of New Hampshire," says UNH President Ann Weaver Hart.

As a member of the UNH Advocates for Higher Education and leader within the business and civic communities, Michael Hickey, class of 1973, has raised awareness across the state about the goals and mission of the university. Forrest McKerley, class of 1957, is known for his long-time support of UNH, from his status as a founding board member of the UNH Foundation to his generous philanthropy that has created the Forrest D. McKerley Endowed Chair in Health Economics and the McKerley Hi-tech Classroom.

"We are proud to call them UNH alums and honored to present them with the Granite State Award," Hart says.

Hickey received his bachelor's degree in sociology from UNH in 1973, and has served as the president and CEO of Verizon-NH since 2000. Previously he held executive positions as president and CEO of New Hampshire Bell Atlantic, executive director of Strategic Alliances, director of external affairs and corporate communications with NYNEX, director of governmental affairs with NYNEX, and director of governmental affairs with New England Telephone.

He serves on the board of directors with several organizations, including the New Hampshire Business Committee for the Arts, NH Business & Industry Association, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (vice chair), Greater Manchester United Way (vice chair), NH Humanities Council, Currier Gallery of Art, and the NH Smithsonian Folklife Festival. He was named the 2001 New Hampshire Business Leader of the Year.

In addition to his service to UNH as a member of the UNH Advocates for Higher Education, Hickey was a speaker for the UNH Student Leadership Series and is a member of the Whittemore School of Business and Economics Executive Board.

McKerley received his bachelor's degree in business administration from UNH in 1957, and for nearly 30 years was affiliated with the McKerley Nursing Home and McKerley Management Services, serving as both administrator and president. In 1995, the family sold its 12 nursing homes and three retirement communities to Genesis health ventures. Since 1988, he has held the position of chairman and CEO of Secure Care Products.

His civic and business affiliations are extensive and include past president of the New Hampshire Nursing Home Association; member of the Health Care Financial Management Association, American Health Care Association, New Hampshire Health Insurance Fund Advisory Council, and New Hampshire Joint Underwriting Association; 1981 delegate to the White House Conference on Aging; director of the New Hampshire Art Association; trustee of the New England Health Care Assembly, and a member of the boards of the Arthritis Foundation, Horizon Bank and Shaker Village.

In addition, McKerley has been a long-time supporter of UNH, serving as a member of the Whittemore School of Business and Economics Executive Board, UNH Advocates for Higher Education, and the School of Health and Human Services Dean's Leadership Council. In addition to his philanthropy mentioned previously, he has provided financial support for the Everett B. Sackett Professorship and provided sponsorship support to the Friends of UNH Hockey golf tournament. He also enjoys UNH hockey games from his box at the Whittemore Center.

Commencement begins at 10 a.m. at Cowell Stadium Field, rain or shine. It is a time for UNH, families and friends to recognize graduates for their achievements. It is expected to last about two hours.

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