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City Year Co-Founder to be Keynote Speaker at May 24 Commencement

March 5, 2008

Michael Brown, CEO and co-founder of the youth service group City Year, will be the keynote speaker at UNH’s 138th commencement on Saturday, May 24.

Brown, a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, is the recipient of the Reebok Human Rights Award, the Jefferson Award of the American Institute for Public Service, and the Boston Bar Association's Public Service Award.

In 1988, while a student at Harvard Law School he and classmate Alan Khazei launched City Year, an organization that promotes civic involvement among diverse 17-to-24-year-olds who unite for 10-month terms of community service in various locations around the country and in South Africa.

“Michael Brown’s work exemplifies the essence of service and its positive, transforming effects, which I hope every student will experience during his or her lifetime,” says President Mark Huddleston. “His message will motivate and inspire our graduates as they prepare to make their mark on society.”

Each year, 1,400 young people commit to City Year’s program for a year of full-time service as tutors, mentors and role models who make a difference in the lives of children, and transform schools and neighborhoods. City Year has sites in 18 U.S. locations, including City Year New Hampshire, which last year hosted City Year’s annual convention and featured the largest service day in state history.

Before he was elected president, then-Gov. Bill Clinton visited City Year Boston. The experience partly inspired him in his first term as president to create the national service program AmeriCorps as a way to fund City Year and other similar organizations.

All AmeriCorps members earn an education award while performing service, which can be used to fund education or training or to repay student loans.

Brown was president of the Boston-launched group until 2006. That same year he and Khazei were listed among "America's Top Leaders" in U.S. News & World Report.

A social entrepreneur seeking to bring private sector entrepreneurial concepts to the civic sector, Brown often speaks around the country on issues relating to youth policy, national service, and democracy building.

Prior to founding City Year 20 years ago, he served as a legislative aide for then-Congressman Leon Panetta, public information coordinator for the City Volunteer Corps of New York City, and law clerk for federal Judge Stephen Breyer who now serves on the U.S. Supreme Court.

For information on this year’s commencement, go to http://www.unh.edu/commencement/.

Now is the time to suggest a speaker for next year’s commencement. Go to: http://nominations.unh.edu/ and click on “Nominations for the University of New Hampshire Commencement Ceremony Awards” to nominate deserving individuals who should be recognized for their contributions to society.

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