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Class Notes

Marie Bergeron Drogue, Millie Shedd, Louise 'PeeWee' Mongeon Toomey, and Pat McMahon Clark photo

Onward to 60 years!

Marie Bergeron Drogue, Millie Shedd, Louise "PeeWee" Mongeon Toomey, and Pat McMahon Clark, all Class of 1954, enjoyed a special reunion last summer marking 59 years since they entered Keene Teachers College and formed a lasting bond.

Millie came from Ann Arbor, Mich., for a week to meet with "the girls" and revisit her native town of Newport, N.H. While she was here, Norma Walker presented her with a Golden Circle medallion.

The quartet spent an afternoon walking around the campus, which they described as "stunning."

Pat Clark wrote, "We even tried to find the commuter room and Mrs. Goodrich's lab. Parker has been modified so much that the windows gave us our only clue to where we were.

A locked door to a utility area seemed the right location for the commuter room. So much for nostalgia!

Marie drove up from Sturbridge one day and we gathered for a picnic at PeeWee's home. Onward to 60 years!"

Harriet Richardson Ames '31,
'2010 B. Ed. (1910-2010)

Harriet Richardson Ames photoDuring the last week of January, people around the world were touched by a story about a 100-year-old woman whose longevity was matched by her tenacity of spirit. Harriet Ames Richardson, who graduated from Keene Normal School with a two-year teaching certificate in 1931, had finally received her four-year Bachelor of Education degree, hand-delivered to her bedside in Concord on January 22.

Harriet died the next day, three weeks past her 100th birthday. More than 500 news outlets in the United States and beyond, including China, Iran, New Zealand, and Europe, picked up the Associated Press story or wrote their own, and Harriet became an inspiring example of a life well lived, a dream fulfilled.

From the time she was in grade school, Harriet Richardson of Barnstead Parade, New Hampshire, knew she wanted to teach. After Keene Normal School, she went off to pursue her dream, eventually landing a position as a teaching principal at the Memorial School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire. She taught first grade there for more than 20 years until she began to lose her eyesight to cataracts, which forced her to retire in 1971.

Throughout her teaching career, Harriet continued to take classes at UNH, Plymouth State College, and KSC to improve herself professionally. She always wanted a B.Ed., but was never sure if she had enough credits.

When Harriet celebrated her 100th birthday on January 2, 2010, Norma Walker '51 visited her to deliver a certificate from KSC President Helen Giles-Gee honoring Harriet's centenarian status. Harriet's health was declining and she was under hospice care. Norma mentioned that the KSC Advancement Office had recently come across Harriet's course records and was working to see if the College could award her a B.Ed. "Harriet was so moved that she started to cry," Norma said. "She asked me if I would read the diploma at her funeral if she didn't live long enough to accept it herself."

However, the wheels were turning. Word of Harriet's dying wish reached President Giles-Gee, who requested that the offices of the provost and registrar act quickly. After a flurry of calls to verify her credits and professional experience, the degree was granted. The College made no special exceptions for her, save speeding up the process.

Norma, Sean Gillery '89 (Development), and Kay MacLean (Alumni and Parent Relations) drove the document to Harriet's bedside on Friday, January 22. Harriet died the next day. Her memorial service was held on January 30 in Pittfield, attended by family, friends, and two generations of first-graders she taught to read during her distinguished career as an educator.

David Gagne, Norma Walker, and Mike Maher photo
Taking the Time to Thank
David Gagne '73

On behalf of the membership of the KSC Alumni Association, Sue Fortier '86 recently presented Alumni Board Past President David Gagne with a beautiful wall clock in recognition of his service as a tireless advocate for alumni and students, and for his four-year term as president of the board (2005-09).

Several "conniving" colleagues helped surprise David and his wife, Pamela, at the Winter Celebration Gala, including Norma Wright Walker '51, Mike '72 and Kitty '73 Maher, Steve Fortier '86, and staff members from the Advancement Division.

Alumni Center image
"All In"
A Spring Update on the Alumni Center Campaign

The "All In" campaign to raise private support from alumni for our new Alumni Center is in full swing. As our first reunion celebration in the new building approaches, we've made good progress toward our $1 million goal, with more than $500,000 already committed by alumni and friends.

Several KSC classes and groups have pooled their gifts to create named rooms in the building.

The class of 1958 was the first to step up, naming the Class of 1958 Alumni Reception Gallery Fireplace. Individuals have also honored loved ones and families whose ties to the College run deep. As of this writing, 11 rooms and spaces have been spoken for, and more are being considered.

Because the College is seeking gifts from all alumni in this campaign, all donors of $100 and up will be recognized on the donor recognition wall in the new Alumni Center. All donations are payable over a three-year pledge period.

Please visit to monitor our progress and check out construction photos. The website also lists our volunteer steering committee, so please feel free to contact any of these alumni or the Development Office for more information.

Thank you.
Ken Goebel
Director of Development

Getting Together with the Principal
(It Can Be Fun!)

Just as Keene State creates an extended family of learners, its graduates go on to re-create that same experience in their own workplaces.

Take Dana Hilliard '95 (he's the one in the black shirt at the right of the photo above). As a KSC student, Dana was a political science major, class president, and participant in student government. After graduation, he taught social studies at Somersworth High School and went on to become vice principal. He is also serving on the KSC Alumni Association board - and keeping tabs on Somersworth High grads who are attending Keene State.

Dana recently had lunch in the Zorn with (from left) Paul Driscoll '12, Chris Lockett '13, Chris Hill '13, Chris Clark '13, and Hannah Gagnon '13. "Knowing my students chose to attend Keene State helps me sleep better at night," said Dana. "I like to stay in touch to be sure the transition from high school to college has been successful."

John Sharpe '98, backstage at the Redfern last winter.

That Old Backstage Magic

John Sharpe '98 has made a career of setting the stage for theatre productions all over New England. His KSC degree was in technical lighting and set design, and John went right to work at United Staging and Rigging in Boston, first in the warehouse and now as general manager.

United Staging (based in Boston and New York) is the premier source of staging and rigging equipment and expertise in the Northeast.

The company has created video walls for the Boston Common on First Night, built 21-tier risers for Boston Lyric Opera, and recently donated all of the rigging equipment for the MTV "Hope for Haiti" telethon.

Last December, John volunteered his time and led a hands-on workshop in the Redfern on the art and science of arena rigging. Students and faculty soaked up John's practical knowledge of stagecraft and how to create backstage magic.

Where in the World

Eight students in Keene State College's Honors Program traveled to South Africa with Professor Anne-Marie Mallon and Dr. Ann Rancourt in May 2009, after studying about apartheid in the spring semester.

They visited the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, Robben Island in Cape Town, and other historic landmarks, and spent a day at Cape Peninsula University of Technology learning about what South African students study and how service learning is happening on a campus on the other side of the world.

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