2019 Honorees

Commencement Speaker

David Brooks
Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient

Shawn Gorman in front of LL Bean Boot in the snow

David Brooks is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, a position he has held since September 2003. He is also an executive director at the Aspen Institute, where he leads Weave: The Social Fabric Project. He is currently a commentator on “The PBS NewsHour,” NPR’s “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”


Brooks began his media career as a police reporter for the City News Bureau in Chicago before he joined the Washington Times in 1984, where he contributed editorials and film reviews. Two years later he joined The Wall Street Journal, initially editing the paper’s book reviews and briefly serving as a film critic. He then worked from the paper’s Brussels office as an editor and foreign correspondent. By the end of his tenure at the Journal in 1994, he was an editor of the paper’s opinion page. He became a senior editor at The Weekly Standard magazine at its inception and was also a contributing editor of Newsweek.


Brooks is the author of “The Road to Character” and “The Second Mountain,” which was released in April. He is on the faculty at Yale University and a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.


Honorary Degree Receipient

Julie Palais ’78 will be awarded an honorary degree during the Durham ceremony Saturday, May 18 for her contributions to climate change research studying volcanic fallout in ice cores from both Greenland and Antarctica. For more than 26 years she served as program director of the Antarctic glaciology program at the National Science Foundation’s Division of Polar Programs. She made 28 trips to Antarctica and three trips to Greenland to understand the history and dynamics of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Palais Glacier and Palais Bluff are two features in Antarctica which have been named in her honor and in 2017 the International Glaciological Society awarded her the Richardson Medal for “insightful and steadfast service to the U.S. and international glaciological and ice core science communities by enabling discoveries that have impacted the course of climate science and enlightened understanding of the important role of glaciology and the polar regions in global climate change.”

Granite State Award Recipient

The Granite State Award for outstanding contributions to the state will be presented to retired New Hampshire Superior Court Justice and World War II Veteran Arthur Bean.  Bean, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday, attended UNH from 1936 to 1940, leaving the university one semester shy of receiving his degree to enter the U.S. Army Air Corps. As a B-17 bomber pilot, he led 29 missions over Germany, and was part of the first wave of bombers when the 8th Air Force launched its 1,300-aircraft assault on Berlin in March 1945. After earning his law degree from Boston University, Bean was an assistant attorney general in the state before opening his own law practice. Named to the N.H. Superior Court in the 1970s, he retired from the bench in 1988, but still worked as a mediator and arbitrator, participating in over 700 cases and working into his 80s.