Commencement Speaker

Shawn Gorman '89
Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient

Shawn Gorman in front of LL Bean Boot in the snow

Shaw Gorman '89 was appointed chairman of the board of Maine-based outdoor retailer L.L. Bean, the company founded by his great-grandfather, Leon Leonwood Bean, in May 2013. He succeeded his uncle, Leon Gorman, who served as president and chairman of the board for more than four decades, and was named executive chairman in December 2015.

Gorman grew up in Exeter, New Hampshire, and graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in English. His L.L. Bean career began in 1991, when he joined the company's marketing department as an advertising analyst. He went on to hold a number of leadership positions in marketing, international, e-commerce, partnership marketing and creative. His accomplishments include introducing the company to online and email marketing, shaping how the company's international customers experience the L.L. Bean brand, and leading L.L. Bean's cobranded credit card program, now in its 21st year. His final operational role was as SVP of brand communications, where he integrated brand strategies across all selling channels to ensure consistency and customer focus.

Gorman is very active in the community and serves on the boards of Gulf of Maine Research Institute, the University of New Hampshire and the Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts. He also chairs the John T. Gorman Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides funding to better the lives of disadvantaged people in Maine. Gorman is an outdoors enthusiast, and like his great-grandfather, believes that time spent in the outdoors adds both quality and quantity to one's life.


Honorary Degree Receipient

Tito Jackson '99

Tito Jackson ’99 worked in the administration of Massachusetts’ first African-American governor, Deval Patrick, and subsequently served for seven years as Boston’s District 7 city councilor. In 2017 he mounted a historic campaign to become Boston’s first African-American mayor. While he ultimately fell short of unseating the incumbent, his electoral support was groundbreaking, and he is widely credited for changing the conversation in Boston around issues of inequity for the better.

The son of community activists Herb and Rosa Jackson, Jackson is a lifelong resident of Roxbury’s Grove Hall neighborhood. As city councilor, he represented all of Roxbury and parts of the South End, Dorchester and Fenway neighborhoods. As a champion of children and families he served as chair of the Boston City Council’s committee on education. He also served as vice chair of the committee on government operations. His work on these and other committees emphasized the equitable economic revitalization for all of Boston’s residents and has he worked tirelessly to ensure Boston residents, especially those from underrepresented communities, participate in the civic process, no matter their socioeconomic status or age.

Jackson’s 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 voted student body president. He’s remained active in the UNH Alumni Association and received the group’s Young Alumnus/Alumna Achievement Award in 2011. In 2017, he was named to the Root 100 List as one of the country’s 100 most influential African Americans.


Honorary Degree Receipient

Margaret "Peggy" Ann Shea '58, '61G

Matriculating to UNH in 1954, 17-year-old Margaret “Peggy” Ann Shea ’58, ‘61G was one of only three female students signed up for what was then known as the College of Technology. She earned her undergraduate degree in physics and went on to become the first woman to earn an advanced degree from UNH in the subject in 1961. Cementing her role as a path-breaker, in 2001 she earned her doctorate in physics from the University of Tasmania, Australia, at the age of 64.

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, solar particles and the Earth’s magnetic field.

She authored or co-authored more than 400 scientific papers, edited the journal Advances in Space Research and won numerous awards, including the American Geophysical Union’s Waldo E. Smith medal for extraordinary service to geophysics, the Soviet Union Academy of Science’s commemorative medal honoring 100 years of international geophysics, and the COSPAR Distinguished Service Medal.  She was selected as a foreign associate of the Royal Astronomical Society and is an Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics.  Among her scientific 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.

At the time just the second woman to earn a senior medal from the AGU, Shea was hailed by her colleagues as “a human dynamo, a great colleague and a smart lady.” She worked with her husband, Dr. Don Smart, almost her entire career.


Granite State Award Recipient

Andrew Lietz

A successful businessman with a passion for infrastructural excellence in higher education, Andrew Lietz served as the chairman 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 in the state, he helped to shepherd the 2001 Knowledge Economy Education Plan for New Hampshire (KEEP-NH) through the Legislature, resulting in an $185 million package of capital renovations to the university system’s aging science, engineering and technology facilities.

The Rye, N.H.-based Lietz has held senior executive roles at Hadco Corporation, IBM, Clare Corp, and Safeguard Scientific and founded and served as managing director for Rye Capital Management. A Wayne State University graduate, he has served at UNH as a member of the Whittemore School of Business and Economics (now Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics) business advisory board and headed up President Mark Huddleston’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Intercollegiate Athletics. During the quiet phase of UNH’s largest comprehensive campaign, CELEBRATE 150, Lietz extended his commitment to UNH athletics as chair of the Athletics Campaign Steering Committee.

A loyal Wildcat sports fan and season ticketholder for multiple sports, Lietz helped the university realize a range of athletics-related capital improvements, including the renovation of Lundholm Gymnasium and build-out of the Watkins Center for Student-Athlete Excellence and Wildcat Stadium. In 2016, he received UNH Athletics’ Joan Leitzel Award, which honors a member of the community who has significantly enriched the lives of UNH student-athletes.  He received an honorary degree from the university in 2013.