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PSU Graduate students receive degrees

Alex Ray honored with Granite State Award

May 20, 2010
PLYMOUTH — More than 330 students were awarded graduate degrees at the Plymouth State University College of Graduate Studies 60th Commencement, Saturday, May 15, in a ninety- minute ceremony at the Foley Gymnasium on Holderness Road. PSU President Sara Jayne Steen, alluding to poet Robert Frost, urged the graduates to strive for excellence in their lives.

"May you continue to dare, and may you know that we–all of us–are working together, whether we are together or apart," said Steen.

Former University System of New Hampshire Chancellor Stephen J. Reno presented the Commencement Address and restaurateur and entrepreneur Alex Ray of the Common Man family of restaurants received a Granite State Award.

Reno served as USNH Chancellor from 2000-2009. Over a 40-year career in higher education he has served as president of Southern Oregon University, and held teaching and senior administrative posts at the University of Southern Maine and the University of Leicester (United Kingdom). He earned both the doctorate and master's degrees in religious studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a bachelor's degree in philosophy from St. John's College, California. Reno urged the graduates to balance work with relaxation, to ensure they understand and enjoy all that life offers.

"I challenge you to be productive and successful, and I also challenge you to set aside time each day," Reno said. "We need to build some time to pause, be still, and see what happens. It is a complex world, and if we don't rest, how will we know what to do?"

Alex Ray, owner of the Common Man family of restaurants is known as much for his tireless philanthropic work in communities across the state as he is for his family-style restaurants across New Hampshire. Ray opened the first Common Man in Ashland, New Hampshire in 1971, and since then he has built a thriving hospitality business throughout New Hampshire including 17 restaurants. Ray is also a long time benefactor of and participant in the award-winning Educational Theatre Collaborative, a community theatre partnership between Plymouth State University, Plymouth Elementary School and Friends of the Arts. The Common Man family of restaurants received a national humanitarian award in 2009 by joining with local business partners in donating more than $45,000 to five Granite State charities. Ray told the graduates he hopes they value time and friendships, and that they share in their life's successes, no matter how large or small.

"Don't be greedy, if you have the resources, share them," Ray said. "I guarantee you that you will see it back."

PSU's College of Graduate Studies presents MAT, MS, MEd, MBA, CAGS and EdD degrees in more than 75 programs and certifications on campus and at more than 15 locations throughout the state.

Varney Smith
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