March 25, 2010
Michele D. Perkins, President of New England College, announced today that Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, will be the speaker at the College’s 63rd Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 15, 2010. Secretary Mabus will receive the honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Laura Knoy, host of The Exchange on New Hampshire Public Radio, will receive the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. The honorary Doctor of Laws degree will be awarded posthumously to California Congressman Tom Lantos. Accepting the degree on behalf of Congressman Lantos is his daughter Katrina Swett, a Trustee of New England College.
As Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus is responsible for developing and implementing initiatives that address the national security policies established by the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense. His responsibilities include overseeing programs directed at recruiting, organizing, supplying, equipping, training, and mobilizing nearly 900,000 personnel of the Navy and Marine Corps with a budget of more than $150 billion. Prior to his role as the 75th United States Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Mabus served as the youngest governor of Mississippi in more than 100 years. Recognized for his dedication to education, Mr. Mabus passed one of the most comprehensive education programs in the country’s history and was named one of the top ten education governors by Fortune Magazine. In 1994, Mr. Mabus was appointed Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by the Clinton Administration. He has also served as the Chairman and CEO of a major manufacturing company, was elected State Auditor of Mississippi, and while in the Navy, served aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock. Secretary Mabus holds degrees from the University of Mississippi, Johns Hopkins University, and Harvard Law School. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards and honors.
Laura Knoy has served as the host of New Hampshire Public Radio’s daily call-in program The Exchange since its inception in 1995. She is well known throughout New Hampshire for her award-winning in-depth coverage of the most pressing issues facing Granite Staters today, and is widely regarded for her insightful interviews of presidential candidates. The only statewide program of its kind, The Exchange is the recipient of numerous national and state awards. Ms. Knoy has been honored many times for her work and was named New Hampshire Broadcaster of the Year in 2007 by the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters. She has been named to the Union Leader’s annual “Forty Under Forty” list of the state’s most influential leaders, and to Network Publication’s list of “New Hampshire’s Most Powerful Women.” She is also the recipient of the College For Lifelong Learning’s “Granite State Award.” Ms. Knoy’s career in broadcasting includes work as a reporter and announcer for WAMU and as a newscaster for NPR. She has been a researcher for USA Today’s “Money” section, and a research assistant at the Institute for International Economics. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from George Washington University.
The honorary Doctor of Laws degree will be awarded posthumously to fourteen-term California Congressman Tom Lantos. Congressman Lantos, who died in 2008, was a lifelong champion of human rights. He was the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. Following his death, the Caucus was established as a permanent part of Congress, renamed the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and dedicated to promoting, defending, and advocating for internationally recognized human rights in a non-partisan manner. Throughout his career, Congressman Lantos supported numerous efforts to protect religious freedom, preserve the environment, and reform the country’s health care system. He is the only Holocaust survivor to serve in the US Congress. He served as the chair of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and was the ranking member of the International Relations Committee. After his death, he was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. The honorary degree will be accepted on behalf of Congressman Lantos by his daughter Katrina Swett. Dr. Swett, a Trustee of New England College, is the President and CEO of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.
“The New England College community looks forward to recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of Secretary Mabus, Laura Knoy, and Congressman Lantos,” stated Dr. Michele Perkins, President of New England College. “Their careers are marked by significant contributions to improving the quality of life both locally and globally. They have demonstrated the highest degree of civic engagement and social responsibility, the foundation of the educational experience at New England College.”
New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire was founded in 1946 to serve the educational needs of veterans returning from WWII. The college now offers 31 on-campus undergraduate programs and 12 master’s degree programs that are delivered online, through residencies, and in cohort groups. A member of Project Pericles, the College is committed to education that promotes civic engagement and social responsibility. At New England College, students find a creative and supportive learning environment that challenges them to transform themselves and their world. More information may be found at www.nec.edu.