Commencement Speaker

Gen. Lori J. Robinson

Gen. Lori J. Robinson is commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). NORAD conducts aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning in the defense of North America. USNORTHCOM partners to conduct homeland defense, civil support and security cooperation to defend and secure the United States and its interests.

The country’s highest-ranking female general, Robinson entered the Air Force in 1982 through the ROTC program at the University of New Hampshire. She has served in a variety of positions as an air battle manager, including instructor and commander of the Command and Control Operations Division at the Air Force Fighter Weapons School, and chief of tactics in the 965th Airborne Warning and Control Squadron.

She was named to Time magazine’s list of the year’s 100 most influential people in 2016.

Robinson has commanded an operations group, a training wing, an air control wing and deployed as vice commander of the 405th Air Expeditionary Wing, leading more than 2,000 airmen flying the B-1 Lancer, KC-135 Stratotanker and E-3 Sentry aircraft in operations ENDURING and IRAQI FREEDOM. She was an Air Force Fellow at The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and served at the Pentagon as director of the Secretary of the Air Force and chief of staff of the Air Force Executive Action Group. She also has been deputy director for Force Application and Support, directorate of Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Following these assignments, Robinson was director, legislative liaison, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Robinson also served as the deputy commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command; deputy, Combined Force Air Component Commander, U.S. Central Command, Southwest Asia; and vice commander, Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. Prior to her current assignment, she was commander, Pacific Air Forces and Air Component Commander for U.S. Pacific Command, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

Her personal decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Aerial Achievement Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters.

Honorary Degree Recipients 

Edward C. Dupont Jr. 

Edward C. Dupont Jr. is a former New Hampshire state senator and founder of The Dupont Group, a Concord-based government relations and public affairs firm that he started in 1993 after five successful terms in the state Senate. After stepping away from his day-to-day duties at the firm in 2016, Dupont now serves in an of-counsel role.

Dupont is a lifelong New Hampshire resident. After attending the University of New Hampshire, he founded Strafford Fuels, a distributor of petroleum products and services located in Rochester.

In 1983, he was elected to the New Hampshire State Senate in a special election. While in the Senate, Dupont’s roles included Senate majority leader, vice-chair of the finance committee and a standing member of other committees. He served as Senate president from 1990 to 1992. In 1991, Dupont was named the New Hampshire Alliance on Mental Illness Legislator of the Year.

Dupont co-chaired the joint Senate and House committee that developed the first comprehensive reorganization of state government in more than 20 years, and he established and chaired the first standing legislative committee on economic development in New Hampshire history. 

Dupont was a member of the University System of New Hampshire board of trustees from 2003 - 2013. He held the position of vice-chair for four years and also served as the board chair for four years, where he oversaw the hiring of presidents at two of the four system institutions as well as the hiring of a USNH chancellor. During his tenure, Dupont led the board through the most significant governance changes in the system’s 50-year history, resulting in system institutions becoming more nimble and responsive to intensifying competitive, financial, political and demographic challenges.

In 2014, Dupont received the New England Board of Higher Education’s David C. Knapp Award for Trusteeship, which honors an individual who has made significant contributions as a trustee in providing leadership, guidance and support to an institution of higher education.

Named one of the top 10 most influential people in New Hampshire nine times by Business NH Magazine, Dupont currently sits on the board of directors for Martin’s Point Healthcare. He also is a member of the UNH School of Law’s Rudman Center advisory board, and is a past board member for the UNH School of Law. In May 2013, Dupont was named to the Commission on Innovation, Efficiency and Transparency in State Government.

Dupont has had a lifelong interest in automobiles and aviation and is an instrument rated pilot as well as an avid competitive water skier. He currently resides in Durham with his wife Andrea, and they have two daughters, Lindsey and Ashley.

Maureen (O’Connell) Hurley ’77

Maureen (O’Connell) Hurley ’77 is the former executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Rich Products Corporation, a family-owned company founded in 1945 with the development of the world’s first non-dairy whipped topping. Headquartered in Buffalo, New York, with more than $3.8 billion in sales and with operations and products in more than 100 countries, Rich Products is a leader in the non-dairy segment of the frozen food industry.

During her 31 years with Rich Products, Hurley, who is also a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School, was one of four members of the enterprise strategic leadership team that guided the company’s business strategy. Under her leadership, Rich Products gained national recognition for its workplace ethics.

As a result, in 1996, Hurley received the American Business Ethics Award, which recognizes companies that exemplify high standards of ethical behavior in their everyday business conduct. She also was honored with the Better Business Bureau Regional Award for Marketplace Ethics in 1997 and 1998. 

Hurley’s other awards include the Everywoman Opportunity Award of Excellence; the Emerging Leader Award from the Women’s Foodservice Forum; the Athena Award from the Buffalo Niagara Partnership; the YMCA Young Leaders Award; Business First of Buffalo’s “40 Under 40” Award, which recognizes young leaders in the community; and the University of Notre Dame’s Exemplar Award.

Prior to joining Rich Products, Hurley was an associate in the Pattishall McAuliffe Newbury Hilliard & Geraldson law firm in Chicago. She has been active in a number of charitable and civic organizations, including the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, the YMCA of Greater Buffalo board of trustees and the Bishop’s Council of the Laity. In 2010 she became board chair of the Women’s Foodservice Forum, which today represents more than 2,600 women and men at every management and executive level and in every major sector of the foodservice industry. Hurley also is a member of the board of trustees for the Western New York Public Broadcasting Association.

Since retiring from Rich's in December 2015, Hurley has enjoyed having time to ski, travel internationally and spend time with her three “twenty-something" children. Her husband, John, is the first lay president of Buffalo-based Canisius College, one of the 28 Jesuit Colleges in the country. 

Gov. Christopher T. Sununu

Gov. Christopher T. Sununu is serving his first term as governor of the state of New Hampshire. He is currently the youngest governor in the country.

Sununu, the state’s 82nd governor, served three terms on the New Hampshire Executive Council representing 32 cities and towns in Rockingham and Hillsborough counties. The five-member council provides unique oversight of the state's executive branch, sharing many of the same powers of the governor, and stands as the only one of its kind in the United States.

In 2010, Sununu led a group of investors in the buyout of Waterville Valley Resort, where he worked as chief executive officer, leading an aggressive expansion effort of the ski resort in cooperation with the U. S. Forest Service. Waterville Valley employs more than 700 people in the North Country.

Prior to the Waterville purchase, Sununu was an owner and director of Sununu Enterprises, a family business and strategic consulting group. He focused much of his time on local, national and international real estate development, venture technologies and business acquisitions.

Sununu grew up in Salem, New Hampshire. He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil/environmental engineering and worked for 10 years cleaning up hazardous waste sites.

In 1998, Sununu completed a five-month through-hike of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. He lives in Newfields with his wife Valerie and their three children, Calvin, Edie and Leo.

Granite State Award Recipient

Maureen A. Beauregard ‘87

Maureen A. Beauregard ‘87 is the president and founding director of the Manchester-based Families in Transition, a nonprofit agency that provides shelter and services to individuals and families affected by homelessness.

Beauregard launched the company in 1991, helping five homeless women and their children find shelter. Now, on any given evening, the agency’s residences in Manchester, Concord and Dover house more than 200 individuals and families. Beauregard is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization as well as fundraising and program development. Families in Transition received Business NH Magazine’s 2013 Nonprofit of the Year Award.

From 1989 to 1991, Beauregard worked for the state’s Division of Children and Youth Services, advocating for abused and neglected children in court and establishing a network of services to help children through the recovery process.

Beauregard previously worked as a substance abuse counselor in a halfway house for addicts. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in child and family studies from the University of New Hampshire.

A graduate of Leadership New Hampshire, Beauregard currently sits on the board of directors of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, is a member of the New Hampshire Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness, a past board member of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and past member of the governing council of Housing Action New Hampshire.

During her career, Beauregard has received numerous awards including the Women’s Recognition Award from the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Women, the YMCA Susan B. Anthony Award, the New Hampshire NASW Citizen of the Year Award, Pastoral Counseling Services' Good Samaritan Award, Citizens Bank Good Citizens Award, Girl’s Inc. of New Hampshire's Woman of Achievement Award, New Hampshire Business Review’s Business Excellence Award, and she received the key to the City of Manchester from Mayor Robert Baines. In 2011, New Hampshire Business Review named her one of six Outstanding Women in Business.

Beauregard lives in Strafford with her wife, Donna, and twin children Abigail and Drew. She loves stained glass and being on the water.