DURHAM — The University of New Hampshire hosted a series of small commencement ceremonies Friday, May 20 to Sunday, May 22 on Memorial Field to recognize its 2022 graduates. President James W. Dean Jr. offered welcoming remarks to the graduates, their families and commencement guests.
Martin Kimani ’96, Kenya’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations, delivered the commencement address at the undergraduate ceremonies and was awarded an honorary degree. He also serves as the Kenyan president’s special envoy for countering violent extremism and is the immediate past director of Kenya’s National Counter Terrorism Centre. Previously, he served as permanent representative to the UN Environment Programme and the UN Human Settlements Programme. Earlier in his career, he was a director at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism in Ethiopia.
In his remarks, Kimani talked about his work with the 193 member states of the United Nations, leadership and ongoing conflicts throughout the world, beginning with the war in Ukraine.
“This is only a partial snapshot of the horrors being visited on innocent men, women and children all over the world,” he said. “What every single one of these crises reflects is a deficit in leadership. Solving every single one of them requires leadership that is intellectually honest enough to not interpret every fact using a flattening, black-white, dogmatic ideology.”
“The actions of these leaders have massive consequences for their countries and the world, but they are not the only ones who can destroy…. The same thinking that gets the world in trouble can be reflected in you who are sitting here for commencement. It can lead you to destroy value in your company that leads to life-altering job losses. It can lead to unethical management. It can feed hatred and division in your community. The world is crying out for leaders—at the global and local levels—who can be bold in their actions while being responsible and humble about their limits. You have been given the intellectual tools to incorporate in your personal conduct. It is now up to you to transform them into a practice in your careers.”
Kimani closed by saying “never in human history have we had more wealth, technology and knowhow. Every single major challenge our communities, countries and the world are facing can be solved. Every one of them is an opportunity for you to make your career and reputation.”
Josephine Lamprey was also awarded an honorary degree for her contributions to climate research and education, philanthropy and volunteer service that have had an enduring impact on the university and the state. As the owner of Lamprey Brothers, a heating and cooling company her family founded in 1923, she watched the climate change documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and it inspired her to refocus the company from just selling oil to helping customers explore cleaner energy solutions. She also helped launch the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Climate Action Fund. In 2012, she established The Josephine A. Lamprey Professorship in Climate and Sustainability at the UNH Sustainability Institute.
Granite State Awards, for outstanding contributions to the state, were presented to JerriAnne Boggis, executive director of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire and the Huntington Family, owners of Pleasant View Gardens.
Boggis is the executive director of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, founder and director of the Harriet Wilson Project and formerly served as director of diversity programs and community at UNH. She began advocating on behalf of New Hampshire’s Black history after she discovered that Milford, where she lives, was also the home of Harriet E. Wilson, one of the first African Americans in North America to publish a novel. To commemorate Wilson’s achievement, Boggis established a nonprofit organization to erect a statue of Wilson, the first statue in New Hampshire to honor a person of color. She served on the advisory committee for New Hampshire Listens and currently serves on the board of the N.H. Charitable Foundation.
The Huntington Family started Pleasant View Gardens in 1976 and it is now one of New England’s largest wholesale greenhouse businesses with facilities that cover 40 acres. PVG is a founding partner of the Proven Winners cooperative, the top consumer plant brand in America. PVG is also a founding partner of WinGen, a genetic plant breeding business, and Ticoplant, a stock facility in Costa Rica. In 2017, PVG launched lēf Farms, a hydroponic greens business. Many family members are UNH graduates, and Huntingtons have served on the COLSA Development Board, the UNH Business Advisory Council and the UNH Alumni Association Board of Directors. They also helped create the UNH Center for Family Business.
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