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UNH Celebrates 141st Commencement

By Lori Wright, Media Relations
May 25, 2011

Know yourself and don’t be afraid of change was the message delivered at the University of New Hampshire’s 141st commencement Saturday, May 21, 2011, where more than 2,400 students ranging in age from 19 to 73 years old and representing 26 foreign countries received degrees.

“Be honest with yourself and face reality. Know who you are,” commencement speaker David Cote said. “Develop personal credibility in your dealings. ‘Do what you say’ is not an empty phrase. Stand for something and have values.”

Cote, a 1976 UNH graduate, is chairman and chief executive officer of Honeywell, Inc. The New Jersey-based company has nearly 130,000 employees in more than 100 countries.

In 2007, Cote received the Corporate Social Responsibility Award from the Foreign Policy Association for Honeywell’s Hometown Solutions program whose program’s initiatives include helping to rebuild in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and “Got2bSafe,” a partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“If a decision doesn’t seem right, change it,” Cote said. “Better the embarrassment of a changed mind than the lifetime penance of a bad decision. The greatest learning occurs where you’re uncomfortable because you don’t know it all. Push yourself. Be willing to take a chance, take a risk with something new.”

Saying UNH had transformed them, UNH President Mark W. Huddleston told students they were equipped with the best education the world has to offer.

“You are innovators, engaged citizens, problem solvers, and entrepreneurial thinkers. You cultivate the best in yourselves, and those around you in ways that make us all proud,” he said. “It makes me especially proud, I have to say, because you are, in a sense, my classmates. We arrived here at UNH at the same time, four years ago, and together we have touched and been touched by this wonderful institution.”

James and Donna-Belle Garvin, authors of numerous books and articles on New England history, and Patricia Rainboth, cofounder and executive director of the Joan Ellis Victim Assistance Network, Victims Inc., received UNH’s 2011 Granite State Awards, given in recognition of outstanding community service.

Florence Reed, founder of Sustainable Harvest International; Nancie Atwell, a national leader in literacy instruction; and Cote, received honorary degrees.

David Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell International, Inc., and 1976 alumnus, was the keynote speaker at the University of New Hampshire's 141st commencement at Memorial Field Saturday, May 21, 2011. (Mike Ross/UNH Photographic Services)
Graduates applaud as Edward Hinson, faculty senate chair and associate professor and chair of mathematics, introduces Christina Caiazza, student body vice-president, at the University of New Hampshire's 141st commencement at Memorial Field Saturday, May 21, 2011. (Mike Ross/UNH Photographic Services)
2011 UNH Honors Convocation 05202011
2011 UNH Honors Convocation 05202011
2011 UNH Honors Convocation 05202011
UNH Alumni Association seniors lobster bake at Lundholm Gymnasium on Friday, May 20, 2011.
UNH Alumni Association seniors lobster bake at Lundholm Gymnasium on Friday, May 20, 2011.

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