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Inspiring Words at Franklin Pierce University’s 2013 Commencement

May 22, 2013

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Gary Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield Farm yogurt company, and his wife, Meg Cadoux Hirshberg, received Honorary Degrees on May 18 at Franklin  University’s 48th Commencement, as did Penny Pitou and Lloyd Astmann. Pitou was the first American to win an Olympic medal in downhill skiing; Astmann is an entrepreneur and chairman of the University’s board of trustees. The four Honorees each received a Doctor of Humane Letters. In addition, Paul Holloway was awarded the Honorable Walter R. Peterson Citizen Leader Award for his lifelong commitment to civic engagement and philanthropy.

Close to 400 graduates attended the Commencement exercises at an outdoor ceremony on the Rindge campus. Dr. Birge, president of the University, urged the close to 400 graduates before him to help solve the problems of the world: “You have the possibility to heal whatever brokenness causes fissures in our world, you can be the salve that eases our discomfort, yours will be the fresh voices of reason amid the cacophony of disagreement and discontent.”

Meg Cadoux Hirshberg, who helped build Stonyfield Farm with her husband and is an author and columnist for Inc. magazine, spoke from experience when she said, “Living an extraordinary life requires leadership, imagination, problem-solving, grit, resilience, optimism, and a never-say-die attitude.” Gary Hirshberg spoke to the graduates of the “power of one”: “Whether as producers, as we have been, or as consumers, you have to remember that you have immense power to change the world. … So whether as producers or consumers, understand that the best way to predict the future truly is to invent it.”

Penny Pitou reflected on posing as a boy in order to participate on her high school ski team, only to be discovered and thrown off the team: “I gritted my teeth and vowed then, as a 13-year-old, to do everything I could to make teams for both girls and boys fair – with the same opportunities offered to both.” Lloyd Astmann exhorted graduates to, “Push yourselves, take the speed bumps in stride, and don’t give up. Like me, you just might reach levels in your life and career which some years earlier you could not have imagined possible!”

Paul Holloway was awarded the Honorable Walter R. Peterson Citizen Leader Award to acknowledge and honor his commitment to public service, contributions to higher education, and high moral character, which Walter Peterson exemplified so well. Holloway spoke glowingly of the late Governor before challenging the graduates: “These problems won’t be solved all at once, but you have to be willing to put forth the effort that Walter Peterson did; the challenge is up to you. You have to become involved in your community, state, and the nation, because it’s not going to get fixed unless you are willing to step forward ... to speak your mind and make a difference.”

Tina L. Cabana, valedictorian for the College of Graduate & Professional Studies, and Sarah E. Tremblay, valedictorian for the College at Rindge, also spoke at the ceremony. Doctor of Arts in Leadership, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Master of Science, Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Education, Master of Business Administration, Master of Physician Assistant Studies, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, and Associate of Arts degrees were conferred on the graduates.





                 An education that matters.

Franklin Pierce University is a regionally accredited university grounded in the liberal arts, with a focus on personal attention and high-quality instruction. The University consists of the College at Rindge and the College of Graduate & Professional Studies with locations in Arizona and throughout New Hampshire. Degrees are offered through the doctoral level. The institutional mission embraces an education that matters: one that achieves academic success through the integration of liberal arts and professional programs. Our community of educators and learners creates an environment that fosters intellectual curiosity and encourages experiential and applied learning. A Franklin Pierce experience enables each student to discover and fulfill his or her own unique potential. We prepare students to become confident, knowledgeable individuals and leaders of conscience.

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