Arthur E. Bean Jr. can say he’s done a lot of things. Superior Court judge. Assistant attorney general. Bomber pilot who flew 29 missions with the 8th Army Air Force during World War II. Recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. Centenarian. The one thing the New Hampshire native couldn’t say was that he’d graduated from UNH. Until now.
Bean was the 2019 recipient of the university’s Granite State Award, traditionally presented during UNH commencement. But this year, Provost Wayne Jones Jr. took the honor to Bean and at the same time, presented him with a long overdue honorary diploma.
The Deerfield resident, who turned 100 last November, attended UNH from 1936 to 1940, leav- ing the university to join the service a semester shy of finishing his degree. While he went on to attend Boston University School of Law (following the war, many schools employed a “close enough” policy with regard to college degree requirements) and enjoy a successful law practice, he always regretted not getting that diploma.
“I couldn’t say, yes, I graduated from the University of New Hampshire, and that was not easy, to not say that; I would avoid it. Now I don’t have to avoid it,” Bean says.