The University of New Hampshire at Manchester is pleased to announce the keynote speaker and Granite State Award winner for the college’s 31st annual commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 19, 2016.
Kate Luczko, president and CEO of Stay Work Play New Hampshire, will deliver UNH Manchester’s 2016 commencement address. Luczko has an enduring relationship with the college, graduating with a business degree in 2008 and subsequently serving as a member of the adjunct faculty and the college’s Business Advisory Board.
“As a graduate of UNH Manchester, I’ve experienced first-hand the degree of professionalism and career-focused preparedness that goes into every course. Students are not only educated academically, but with real-world insight and experience that makes them strong communicators, thoughtful collaborators and effective leaders,” Luczko said. “I am honored to be delivering this year’s commencement address, and to be able to share my experience and insight with New Hampshire's next generation of leaders.”
Stay Work Play NH is a non-profit focused on encouraging young people to pursue careers and make their homes in the Granite State. Its mission resonates with Luczko, whose role as president and CEO puts her at the helm of day-to-day operations as well as the strategic vision and direction of the organization.
Outside of her work with Stay Work Play, Luczko has consistently demonstrated her passion for community involvement. She serves on the board of directors for Brew NH, Manchester Young Professionals Network, New Hampshire Scholars and Miss New Hampshire Scholarship Organization, and is a member of the New Hampshire Coalition for Business and Education, New Hampshire Public Radio’s Sounding Board, the Palace Theatre’s Community Advisory Board and NH Public Television’s Advisory Board. Luczko is also a corporator for Canterbury Shaker Village, a co-founder of the Manchester Food Co-Op, a participant in Leadership Greater Concord and an active volunteer for an array of initiatives throughout the state.
An alumna of Leadership Greater Manchester, Leadership New Hampshire and Leadership Seacoast, Luczko’s commitment to the state has not gone unnoticed. Luczko was named one of the “Five Leaders for the Future” in 2014 by Business NH Magazine, and in 2012 she was appointed to the Job Training Fund Grant Review Committee by Governor John Lynch and named “Young Professional of the Year” by Manchester Young Professional Network. Luczko was also featured in “Who’s Who: Big Players of 2010” by The Hippo and the Union Leader’s “40 Under Forty” class of 2011.
Lillye Ramos-Spooner has been selected to receive the 2016 Granite State Award for her significant contributions to the people of New Hampshire. A bilingual advocate for social and economic justice, Ramos-Spooner has dedicated her human services career to promote the holistic development of her colleagues, clients and community through leadership and service.
Since 2000, Ramos-Spooner has served as Director of Operations for the Greater Manchester AIDS Project, the largest AIDS service organization in the state. She has a long professional history in case management and crisis intervention, with a fundamental mission to help families and individuals from diverse backgrounds navigate difficult life transitions stemming from illness, disability, unemployment, substance abuse, mental health challenges and more.
Ramos-Spooner was the first Latina woman to be appointed to the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Women and the New Hampshire Democratic Party Executive Committee. She is a founding member of Vote Now New Hampshire Hispanics, and has served on the Governor’s Commission on Latino Affairs and chaired the Latin American Center. A member of the Merrimack Valley Juvenile Diversion Program for 16 years, Ramos-Spooner also served on the boards of the New Hampshire chapters of City Year and Girls Inc. She is actively involved in a number of other civil liberties advocacy groups, including the Martin Luther King Coalition.
Ramos-Spooner received citations from Governor John Lynch in recognition for her work in the field of HIV and AIDS as well as her involvement with the Mental Health Commission. In 2004, she was presented with the prestigious Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award, and in 1996 she received the Award of Excellence for Ten Years of Outstanding Service to Disadvantaged Citizens of New Hampshire. A 2008 graduate of Leadership New Hampshire, Ramos-Spooner’s history of and passion for service remains an inspiration to the community.