Alumni Award

2017 Honors Alumni Award Presented to Geoff Cardner '93

Casey Otis receiving her award from Dr. Jerry Marx

Senior Vice Provost P.T. Vasudevan (left) and Honors Program Director Jerry Marx (right) presented the 2017 Honors Alumni Award to Geoffrey Cardner '93 (center).

On April 28, 2017, Geoff Cardner recalled interviewing for his first post-college job 24 years before. "My Honors thesis got me my first job," he told a group of graduating Honors students, gathered for a senior reception and award presentation. After doing research on a NH banking crisis for his Honors thesis is Business Adminstration, he was well prepared for a job at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. (His thesis advisor, Professor Ahmad Etebari, attended the award presentation.) He later moved to Sun Life Financial, holding positions in both the United States and Hong Kong, and earned an MBA from Babson College. He is currently the Director of Federal Tax Audits at Sun Life. Married to a fellow UNH graduate, he has two children. 

Since graduating with Honors in Business Administration, Mr. Cardner has supported the Honors Program, initiating LinkedIn and Facebook groups, and volunteering to connect with current students as well as through financial contributions. "Connect with me on LinkedIn," he offered, and concluded by advising the graduating class to keep in touch with the UNH community, and give back when they can.  An interview with Mr. Cardner is available at www. .


Casey Otis earns second annual Honors Alumni Award

Casey Otis receiving her award from Dr. Jerry Marx

Casey Otis receiving her award from Dr. Jerry Marx, the UHP's Faculty Director (Photo: Peter Otis,

The second annual Honors Alumni Award was presented to Casey Otis ’97 at a reception for graduating seniors in May. Otis is the Director of Custom Programs in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education department.  Otis spoke to students about her decision to attend UNH, her political science major, and her career journey. Otis previously worked for Harvard’s Kennedy School, where she helped to build the Gleitsman Program in Leadership for Social Change. She has also been an education policy analyst and the chief of staff for Massachusetts’s Department of Early Education and Care; a donor steward at MIT; and a grassroots organizer for the National Safety Council.  Otis holds an MBA from Boston College and an Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education.  She has long supported the Honors Program through payroll donations and by volunteering as an alumni mentor.


Honors Program recognizes alumnus Patrick Closson '95

Lisa MacFarlane, Patrick Closson, and Jerry Marx
Provost Lisa MacFarlane and Honors Director Jerry Marx presented the inaugural Honors Program Alumni Award to Patrick Closson


The University Honors Program presented its inaugural Alumni Award to Patrick Closson, Class of 1995. The award is presented to "an exemplar for the students of the University Honors Program, in celebration of a distinguished career, dedicated service, and generous support."

The fellow alumnus who nominated Mr. Closson for the award wrote that "Pat is a passionate and ardent supporter of UNH. I've often heard him speak of his experience in the Honors Program, how it augmented his academic achievement at UNH and also gave him skills which translated into his professional life. He is a very smart guy who is also a great friend and a wonderful reflection of UNH and the Honors Program."

Mr. Closson graduated with University Honors in History in 1995. He went on to Boston College Law School and became a business lawyer with the firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson, and Middleton, where he is now Managing Director of the Portsmouth office and chair of the healthcare group.

In addition to his active professional life, he has offered his time and expertise to organizations including City Year, Child and Family Services,  and the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce. He is a past participant and present board chair of Leadership Seacoast. He is also a past lecturer at UNH and has joined the Alumni Board of Directors.

He attended the May 5th ceremony with his wife, Angela, a healthcare-administration consultant who is also a graduate of UNH. Provost Lisa MacFarlane presented the award before an audience of Honors seniors. Mr. Closson counseled the graduating students to appreciate the special scholarly opportunities afforded by the thesis, recalling an instance in which his seemingly esoteric work on European history had enabled an unexpected connection.

The Honors Program will solicit nominations for the 2016 Alumni Award next spring.