UNH Announces 2018 Granite State Award and Honorary Degree Recipients


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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

DURHAM, N.H. – A Boston mayoral candidate, the chairman of L.L. Bean and the first woman to earn an advanced degree in physics from the University of New Hampshire will be recognized for their achievements at UNH’s commencement ceremony Saturday, May 19, 2018.

Margaret Shea ’58, G’61, the first woman to earn an advanced degree in physics from UNH, Boston city councilor and mayoral candidate Tito Jackson ’99 and commencement speaker Shawn Gorman ‘89, the second chairman in L.L. Bean’s century-plus history, will receive honorary degrees.

In addition, Andrew Lietz will receive the Granite State Award for his work in support of higher education in the state. A successful businessman, Lietz served as chair of the University System of New Hampshire board of trustees and the state’s Business and Industry Association. Believing that high-quality education was the basis for long-term growth, he shepherded the 2001 Knowledge Economy Education Plan for New Hampshire (KEEP-NH) through the legislature, helping to secure a $185 million package of capital renovations to the university system’s aging science, engineering and technology facilities.

Shea began her research career as an undergraduate, monitoring cosmic rays on Mt. Washington and in Durham. After brief stints at the University of Hawaii and AVCO Corporation, she joined the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories at Massachusetts’ Hanscom Air Force Base, where she forged a 50-year career researching the interplay between cosmic rays and the Earth’s magnetic field. Among other achievements, she developed the geomagnetic cutoff rigidity tables that are the international standard used by NASA and the FAA to determine radiation exposure of astronauts and airline crews in flight.

Jackson served in the administration of Deval Patrick, Massachusetts’ first African-American governor, served on the Boston City Council for seven years and mounted a historic campaign to become Boston’s first African-American mayor. While he ultimately lost to incumbent Marty Walsh, his 34 percent showing was regarded as groundbreaking. His passion for public service and political activism were forged at UNH, where he earned a degree in history. He played a central role in reviving the university’s Black Student Union, helped to spearhead efforts to increase campus diversity and was later voted student body president.

The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH’s research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.