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Honorary Degree, 2009 Granite State Awards Presented at Keene State College's Commencement May 9

KEENE, N.H., 5/4/09 - President Helen Giles-Gee will award associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees to more than 900 graduates at Keene State College’s Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 9. The event begins at 1 p.m. on Fiske Quad.

Lewis M. Feldstein, president of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. The 2008 Granite State Award will be presented to Michael E. J. Blastos, former Mayor of the City of Keene.

Mr. Feldstein led the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to its place as a dominant force for change and the principal source of venture capital for the state’s nonprofit community. Under his stewardship, the Foundation has become the largest funder of nonprofit organizations in northern New England, with assets growing from $25 million in 1986 to $375 million at the end of 2008.

Prior to coming to the Charitable Foundation, Mr. Feldstein served as provost of the Antioch/New England Graduate School. He is a graduate of Brown University and holds a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from Tufts University. He worked with the civil rights movement in Mississippi and served for seven years in senior staff positions to New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay. Mr. Feldstein serves on several boards and co-chaired the Harvard University three-year Executive Seminar, “Civic Engagement in America,” with Robert Putnam. The two also co-authored the book Better Together: Restoring the American Community.

In his eight-year tenure as mayor, Mr. Blastos worked to improve the quality of community services. In 2001, he convened a Taskforce on Childcare to research the current state of childcare in the local area, with the charge of making recommendations for improvement. This led to the creation of Child First, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting childcare.

His commitment to a cleaner environment made the city of Keene a national leader when, in April 2000, Keene signed onto the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign, creating a plan to identify ways in which the greater Keene community could lower greenhouse-gas emissions. The goal was to reduce the City’s transportation, energy consumption, and solid waste emissions by 10 percent.

Mayor Blastos also formed the Town-Gown Committee, with members representing both the College and the city, to maintain strong, supportive, and responsive relationships.

The Commencement Ceremony is the culmination of graduation activities at Keene State. On Friday, May 8, the Spring Honors Convocation will be held at 4 p.m. in the Main Theatre of the Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond. The Convocation recognizes excellence in student scholarship and leadership, the recipients of undergraduate Academic Honors, the Leo F. Redfern Outstanding Citizen, and discipline and endowment awards in American studies, biology, chemistry, communication, economics, education, English, geology, history, Holocaust studies, modern language, mathematics, performing arts, management, safety studies, psychology, sociology/anthropology, and women’s studies.

All events are free and open to the public. The ceremony will also be broadcast on closed-circuit television in the Mabel Brown Room in the Student Center and in Morrison Hall on the quad. For information on Commencement activities, call Pauline Dionne at 603-358-2106 or e-mail

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435