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Franklin Pierce University to present three honorary degrees

Feb 2, 2012

image textFranklin Pierce University will present three honorary degrees as it celebrates its forty-seventh commencement on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. on the Rindge, N.H. campus.

World-famous animal scientist and Franklin Pierce alumna Dr. Temple Grandin ‘70, environmentalist Bill McKibben and The Right Reverend Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, will each receive a Doctor of Humane Letters at this year’s commencement.

Dr. Grandin is a doctor of animal science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, and consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. As a person with high-functioning autism, Grandin is also noted for her work in autism advocacy. She has designed livestock handling facilities with humane animal-handling equipment in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries.

Grandin is listed in the 2010 Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world in the category "Heroes." She was named a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers in 2009. Grandin is the focus of a semi-biographical HBO film, titled Temple Grandin. The movie was released in 2010, was nominated for 15 Emmys, and received five awards.

She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Franklin Pierce in 1970, her master's degree in animal science from Arizona State University in 1975, and her doctoral degree in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989.

McKibben is considered one of the most widely respected writer’s on the environment and global warming today. He has written a dozen books over the past 20 years. His first book, The End of Nature, is regarded as the first book published (1989) about climate change for the general public and has been written in over 20 languages. His books range in topics from global warming to local communities to genetic engineering to family. He edited and provided the introduction for a soon to be released book, The Global Warming Reader, which features the writings and testimony of numerous believers in global warming as well as a few doubters.

He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign, which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. Time Magazine called him 'the planet's best green journalist' and the Boston Globe said in 2010 that he was 'probably the country's most important environmentalist.'

A Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, he holds honorary degrees from a dozen colleges, including the Universities of Massachusetts and Maine, the State University of New York, and Whittier and Colgate Colleges. In 2011, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
McKibben has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000. He has honorary degrees from Green Mountain College, Unity College, Lebanon Valley College and Sterling College.

Bishop Gene Robinson was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire on June 7, 2003, having served as Canon to the Ordinary (assistant to the bishop) for nearly 18 years.

He is a past member of the Board of the New Hampshire Endowment for Health, which works for access to health care for the uninsured, and he currently serves as a trustee of the Church Pension Fund. He holds two honorary doctorates and has received numerous awards from national civil rights organizations. His story is featured in the 2007 feature-length documentary, “For the Bible Tells Me So,” and his book In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God (Seabury Books, New York) was released in 2008.

Bishop Robinson has been particularly active in the area of full civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Working at the state, national, and international levels, he has spoken and lobbied for equal protection under the law and full civil marriage rights. He has been honored by many LGBT organizations for this work, including the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, GLAAD, and the Equality Forum. His forthcoming book, God Believes in Love: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage, will be published by Alfred Knopf in May 2012.

Robinson graduated from the University of the South in 1969 with a B.A. in American studies and history. In 1973 he completed the M.Div. degree at the General Theological Seminary in New York, and was ordained deacon and then priest, serving as curate at Christ Church, Ridgewood, N.J.

Visit the Commencement webpage for more information.


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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