Ayotte, Hassan and Robinson to share insights with UNH graduates

Friday, April 14, 2017

UNH’s Manchester and Durham campuses and the UNH School of Law have announced their commencement speakers for 2017.

On May 20, Gen. Lori Robinson '81, the first woman to lead a major combatant command in the history of the U.S. Armed Forces, will deliver UNH's commencement address on the Durham campus, while Sen. Maggie Hassan will deliver UNH Law’s commencement address in Concord. Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte will deliver the keynote address at UNH Manchester’s commencement on May 18.

Kelly Ayotte

Ayotte served in the U.S. Senate from 2011 to 2017, and received numerous awards for her legislative action.

In 2016, the American Kennel Club awarded Ayotte the AKC Legislator of the Year Award for her sponsorship of the Pet and Women Safety Act, established to help victims of domestic violence find safe accommodations for themselves and their pets. Ayotte has also been honored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars New Hampshire for her work on behalf of veterans and by Save the Children for her commitment to education.

Prior to her election to the U.S. Senate, Ayotte became New Hampshire’s first female attorney general in 2004. In her five years in that role, she focused on seeking justice for victims of violence as well as conservation efforts to protect the state’s public lands and waters.

Maggie Hassan

Hassan, who is the second woman in American history to be elected as both governor and senator, served two terms as governor of New Hampshire.

As governor, she helped ensure New Hampshire’s position as one of the nation’s most livable states: Its unemployment rate was among the lowest in the country while she was in office. She also worked actively to advance public education and healthcare coverage and combat the heroin, fentanyl and opioid crisis.

Hassan, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016, has committee assignments including homeland security and governmental affairs; health, education, labor and pensions; commerce, science and transportation; and the joint economic committee. Hassan was first elected to New Hampshire's senate in 2004 and served as both president pro tempore and majority leader during her three terms in office.

Lori Robinson

In 2016, Robinson took over as commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, after entering the Air Force more than 30 years earlier through the ROTC program at UNH.

Prior to that, Robinson served as commander of the Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii and was the air component commander for U.S. Pacific Command and executive director of Pacific air combat operations staff at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. In addition, she commanded an operations group, a training wing, and an air control wing and deployed as vice commander of the 405th Air Expeditionary Wing.

She has served as an Air Force Fellow at the Brookings Institution and at the Pentagon and has received the Distinguished Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Aerial Achievement Medal, among others.