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Keene State College Announces Commencement Speakers

Arnie Alpert
Arnie Alpert (photo: Bill Wilson)

Story Updated April 3, 2020

Keene State College is pleased to announce this year’s commencement ceremony speakers and recipients of the honorary degree and Granite State Award. Both of these recognitions will be bestowed during Keene State’s Commencement ceremony on October 3, 2020.

Arnie Alpert to Receive the Granite State Award

Arnie Alpert, co-director of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in New Hampshire, will receive this year’s Granite State Award, which is dedicated to recognizing people who demonstrate outstanding achievement in their field and have contributed significantly to the welfare or success of our state. Mr. Alpert will retire in June, after nearly 39 years with AFSC’s New Hampshire program, which is a Quaker organization dedicated to social justice, peace, and nonviolent action for change.

Prior to joining the AFSC, Mr. Alpert worked as a volunteer and staff member with the Clamshell Alliance, the organization that popularized nonviolent direct action to halt nuclear power plants. He is also well known for workshops and training throughout New Hampshire on the skills of “peacekeeping,” or conflict de-escalation, for groups organizing demonstrations and rallies.

Serving as communications coordinator for the Martin Luther King Day Committee from 1988 to 1999, Mr. Alpert played a central role in the campaign for a state holiday honoring Dr. King. Legislation establishing the holiday was enacted in 1999 and first observed officially in 2000. Mr. Alpert was also one of the founders of the New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty in 1997. He continued as an active member of its board leading to the passage of legislation repealing the state’s death penalty in 2019.

Mr. Alpert has received awards from groups including the New Hampshire Women’s Lobby, the Martin Luther King Coalition, the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, the ACLU-NH, the Greater Manchester NAACP, Rights and Democracy, and Rivier University. He received a BA in Environmental Science from Wesleyan University in 1977 and an MS in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University in 1995.

Jesse Green to Receive Honorary Doctor of Arts Degree

Jesse Green
Jesse Green

“The Machine” Jesse Green is a world-renowned Master Chainsaw Sculptor, star of National Geographic Channel’s worldwide primetime TV series, “American Chainsaw”, an acclaimed motivational speaker, frontman for cover band Fevah Dream, and author of the forthcoming trilogy book series, “Chainsaws, Cheeseburgers And Rock N’ Roll”. Keene State students are looking forward to Mr. Green’s inspirational presence during this year’s ceremony.

Mr. Green holds a Fine Arts degree in Sculpture/3-D Studies from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He has been awarded honors by both the Massachusetts State Senate and the Massachusetts House of Representatives for his work. He toured the country as the national emcee/showrunner for the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show. He’s also starred in a worldwide commercial series for ESPN.

Mr. Green is the only person to ever hold the title of the official Chainsaw Sculptor of Husqvarna USA. For more than 10 years, he’s created large-scale sculptures for celebrities, musicians, foreign royalty, networks, universities, military organizations, professional sports, travel destinations, corporations, religious groups, cities, towns, art collectors, and many more.

Read more about this year’s Commencement program.

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229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435