The University of New Hampshire will welcome eight speakers at its commencement ceremonies this May. Speakers will also be awarded honorary degrees. All of the ceremonies will take place between Friday, May 19 and Sunday, May 21, 2023, in the Whittemore Center Arena except UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law’s ceremony, which will remain in Concord’s White Park.
“We’re excited about this new model that celebrates our graduates through their collegiate academic homes,” said Provost Wayne Jones. “We successfully piloted this approach during the pandemic and found that it allowed students and their families a more intimate and personal ceremony to celebrate the success of our graduates.”
The commencement speakers are as follows:
UNH College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Denise Saltojanes ’95, Managing Director at Golden Seeds
Saltojanes is a co-chair and managing director of Golden Seeds, a national early seed investment group whose mission is to invest in female-led start-up companies. She is also an investor with NuFund Venture Group out of San Diego, California. She retired in 2020 from a civilian role with the Department of Defense as division chief of cost estimating at Hanscom Air Force Base. Prior to this, Saltojanes was a vice president of Investment Banking at Medical Capital Advisors from 2007-2008, and Laboratory and Financial Manager at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2004-2006. Saltojanes joined Cambridge Polymer Group (CPG) in 2000 where she headed up operations. In a collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital, they developed and sold a formula for durable polyethylene material for use in hip and knee arthroplasty products.
UNH College of Health and Human Services
Alyson McGregor ’95, Associate Dean of Clinical Faculty Affairs & Development and Professor of Emergency Medicine at University of South Carolina and Co-Founder for the Sex and Gender Women’s Health Collaborative
McGregor will serve as associate dean for faculty affairs and development at the School of Medicine Greenville. She was the co-founder and director for the division of sex and gender in emergency medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University from 2010-2021, where her research on the roles sex and gender play in emergent conditions has made her a spokesperson and advocate for women around the world. Her TEDx talk “Why Medicine Often Has Dangerous Side Effects for Women” has over one million views and she published the book “Sex Matters: How Male Centric Medicine Endangers Women’s Health and What We Can Do About It.”
UNH College of Liberal Arts
Jackie MacMullan Boyle ’82, Journalist
MacMullan is an award-winning sports journalist who has worked for both newspapers and television sports networks. She was a writer, columnist and associate editor for the Boston Globe, an ESPN correspondent and a Sports Illustrated senior writer. MacMullan was also a contributing writer for CNN/SI and a correspondent on both Boston’s WHDH-TV and the New England Sports Network. She is especially notable for her reporting on the game of basketball, a sport in which she herself excelled as a player for UNH. She played basketball at UNH for four years and was team captain during her senior year. She has collaborated with numerous professional athletes to author best-selling books on the sport, including Larry Bird, Shaquille O’Neil, Earvin Magic Johnson, and Geno Auriemma.
UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture
Elle Purrier St. Pierre ’18, U.S.A. Track and Field Athlete
Purrier St. Pierre is an American track and field athlete who specializes in middle-distance and long-distance running. In 2022, she earned her first global medal, winning silver in the women's three thousand meters at the 2022 World Indoor Championships in Belgrade. Purrier St. Pierre represented the United States at the 2019 World Athletics Championships, competing in the women's five thousand meters. On February 8, 2020, she set the American record for the indoor mile, with a time of 4:16.85 at the Millrose Games. On February 13, 2021, she ran a time of 9:10.28 to break the American indoor two-mile record. Purrier St. Pierre grew up on a dairy farm in rural Vermont and still works there today.
UNH Graduate School
Ruth Varner, Professor, Earth Sciences and Recipient of the UNH Graduate Mentor Award
Varner is a professor in the Earth Systems Research Center of the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space at UNH. Her research is on trace gas emissions from terrestrial, aquatic and human-managed ecosystems. In her early career she focused on developing novel methods to measure very low concentration, reactive halogenated trace gases. Over the past several decades she has established and maintained long-term measurements of methane emissions from wetlands and permafrost peatlands. She currently collaborates with microbial ecologists, remote sensing specialists and modelers to address questions of scaling processes from regions to the globe. As the director of UNH’s Leitzel Center, she develops and participates in professional development for K-12 STEM teachers.
UNH Paul College of Business and Economics
Tim Collins ’85, founder and CEO of EBSCO Information Services
Collins was a student in 1983 when he co-founded Popular Magazine Review, a company specializing in indexing and abstracting periodical information. The company was purchased by EBSCO Industries, Inc. in 1987. He has overseen the explosive growth that has taken EBSCO from a niche provider of print indexes in the 1980s to one of the world’s most important for-fee Internet research services. Collins has a personal collection of historical artifacts that he tours and lends to schools. The collection spans revolutionary times to the present and includes propaganda posters, military uniforms, presidential signatures, powder kegs and other original artifacts from historic periods of war. He is also an adjunct instructor in Paul College.
UNH Manchester/Granite State College – College of Professional Studies
Laura Knoy, New Hampshire journalist, writer, speaker and former host of NHPR’s The Exchange
Knoy hosted New Hampshire Public Radio’s live, daily news and public affairs call-in show, The Exchange, for 25 years. She is known for her in-depth coverage of critical issues that affect New Hampshire residents. Her interviews have covered a wide range of topics—from talking to local politicians about education funding, discussing the opioid crisis with healthcare workers and families, or hosting debates with presidential candidates. In 2021, Knoy shifted her focus to finishing her first novel “The Shopkeeper of Alsace.” She also launched ReadLocalNH, a podcast that celebrates New Hampshire's authors, independent bookstores and their loyal readers and is community engagement director at the Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership & Public Service at UNH’s Franklin Pierce Law School.
UNH Franklin Pierce Law School
Dana Remus, Former White House Counsel and Counsel at Obama Foundation, Lawyer for Covington & Burling
Remus joined Covington after serving as assistant to the President and White House counsel for President Biden. In this role, she led the administration's efforts to confirm Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first African American woman on the U.S. Supreme Court. Remus also advised on a range of matters and policy initiatives, including the administration's COVID-19 strategy; voting rights; high-profile congressional investigations, including the January 6th Committee; and immigration reform. Prior to serving as White House counsel, she led the Biden-Harris campaign's legal team as general counsel. In the Obama administration she served as deputy assistant to the President and deputy counsel for ethics.