Granite State College Celebrates the 2020 Graduation of over 500 Students and Presents Awards to Faculty and Community Leaders

Granite State College Graduates.

May 30, 2020

Concord, NH – Granite State College is thrilled to celebrate the graduation of over 500 students from its bachelor’s, associate, and master’s degree programs. The College will formally honor the Class of 2020 during next year’s ceremony scheduled for May 15, 2021.

In a video message shared with the Class of 2020, president of Granite State College, Dr. Mark Rubinstein, expressed:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the opportunity for us to afford you the public celebration that you deserve with all the pomp and circumstance that goes with it—and we still plan to do that when conditions allow. We know that Granite State College students rarely take the easy road. This is just one more obstacle for you to overcome, but we know you will. And it’s that resilience that’s made you a member of the Class of 2020. It hasn’t let you down, and neither will we.”

In addition to celebrating the Class of 2020, the College was elated to virtually welcome 49 students into its honor society, Alpha Sigma Lambda, during the 2020 Honors Convocation, held via Zoom on May 18, 2020. During the ceremony, Granite State College presented 6 members of the community with prestigious awards, including the Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters and Distinguished Faculty Awards.

In a message to the Class of 2020, Cathy Duffy Cullity, CEO of Girls, Inc. of New Hampshire and recipient of the Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters shared:

“Although I have never met you, I know what it takes to go back to school as an adult. I know the juggling of your schedule and the courage you had to find to take that first step. I know once you began your courses, you were not going to let anything stop you from graduating. I know because I have been there.”

Cathy Duffy Cullity added:

“Although you cannot walk today in the graduation ceremony you have earned, you can walk the rest of your life with the knowledge that you are part of a very distinguished group who—in the worst of times—has accomplished your goal!”

2020 Granite State College Graduates & Student Honors

Class of 2020 (PDF)

Sorted alphabetically by City with New Hampshire communities listed first, followed by other states.

Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society Inductees, 2019-2020

The following students were inducted into Alpha Sigma Lambda, the distinguished honor society that aims to recognize the special achievements of adults who accomplish academic excellence while facing competing interests of home and work.

John Adams of Laconia, NH
Whitney Antonelli of Center Conway, NH
Andrew Baney of Dayton, OH
Lisa Bashaw of Belmont, NH
Isabella Bigos of Rochester, NH
Kyle Burbach of Plumas Lake, CA
Tammy Canney of East Wakefield, NH
Patricia Carr of Londonderry, NH
Philip Charbonneau of Enfield, NH
Nolan Chretien of Farmington, NH
Crystal Coan of New Boston, NH
Sylvie Couture of Gilford, NH
Deanna Demoree of Ossipee, NH
Cherish Dempsey of Colorado Springs, CO
Rebecca Desjardins of Manchester, NH
Cora Donovan of Londonderry, NH
Bernadette Douzanis of Weare, NH
Andrew Dumais of Manchester, NH
Andrew Dumais of Manchester, NH
Grace Flynn of North Haverhill, NH
Kimberly Gagne of Goffstown, NH
Michelle Grabowski of Woodsville, NH
Hedy Graybill of Pittsfield, NH
Shannon Grever of Center Conway, NH
Gregory Gush of Hudson, NH
Rachelle Henningsen of Honolulu, HI
Bethany LaHaye of Hartland, VT
Lucy Levitow of Northwood, NH
Sibvon Marshall of Amherst, NH
Blake Moore of San Antonio, TX
Jeremy Poole of Center Barnstead, NH
Madison Reit of Montville, NJ
Jake Roger of Barrington, NH
Daniel Rogers of Rollinsford, NH
Mariana Rogers of Alton, NH
Sarah Sartory of Fryeburg, ME
Adrienne Scadova of Peterborough, NH
Charlotte Scott of Exeter, NH
Olivia Sias of Hebron, NH
Christina Souza of Salem, NH
Jerome Speare of Biddeford ME
Alyson Stark of Georges Mills, NH
Sabra Stephens of Lisbon, NH
Elizabeth Sullivan of Manchester, NH
Denise Terwilliger of Rye, NH
Michele Thomas of Claremont NH
April Tucker of Somersworth, NH
Tan Tulgar of Andover, NH
Hannah Wells of Berlin, NH

2020 Award Recipients

Honorary Doctorate

Cathy Duffy Cullity
CEO of Girls, Inc. of New Hampshire

A leader, mentor, and advocate for children and families, the professional contributions of Cathy Duffy Cullity have made a lasting impact on the state of New Hampshire through the thousands of girls’ lives who’ve benefited from her leadership of Girls, Inc. of New Hampshire.

Since her appointment as CEO of Girls Inc. in 1996, the organization’s reach has expanded from one center in Nashua that served 40  girls a day, to a network of locations that covers three states—New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont. As the only Girls Inc. affiliate in the nation with a regional reach, Cathy is honored among her peers and was the first ever recipient of the Excellence in Leadership Award by the Girls Inc. national organization for her commitment, professionalism, and passion.

For her exemplary citizenship and significant impact to our community, Granite State College is proud to award Cathy Duffy Cullity an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters.

Granite State Award

SOS Recovery Community

Granite State College is proud to select SOS Recovery Community Organization as the recipient of The Granite State Award, an award conferred by the University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees, and given each year to recognize an outstanding contribution to New Hampshire.

Between 2012 and 2017, the number of deaths in New Hampshire resulting from misuse of drugs nearly tripled. This unprecedented rise in fatalities associated with substance misuse, particularly opioids, drew the collective attention of those in working on the front lines of healthcare, public safety, government leaders, and New Hampshire’s citizens. In a small state, virtually no communities and few families were insulated from the direct effects of substance misuse. It was in this environment that the important work of SOS Recovery Community Organization has become more visible and more valued by the State of New Hampshire, and the College is thrilled to honor their important work with the 2020 Granite State Award.

Victor Montana Award

Susan M. Ford ’06
Executive Director of My Friend’s Place

Susan Ford’s impressive professional accomplishments as the Executive Director of My Friend’s Place, a homeless shelter based in Dover, New Hampshire, are reason alone to distinguish her as an exemplary representative of the College’s alumni community. However, Susan’s remarkable journey and intrepid spirit help make these achievements even more meaningful.

Following the death of her father when she was just 10 years old, Susan’s otherwise happy childhood became difficult. This early trauma led to other challenges well into her young adulthood. By the time she was 29, Susan found herself homeless and in crisis with her two children. She and her children found refuge within My Friend’s Place, which gave her young family the opportunity to turn their lives around. Living in the shelter and using its resources and support was a profoundly life-changing experience that led to Susan’s decision to dedicate her career to improving the quality of life for others.

Susan enrolled at Granite State College, known then as The College for Lifelong Learning, to pursue a postsecondary degree. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 2006 after six years of taking classes while working full-time and balancing her role as a single parent. With several years of experience and her degree completed, Susan was eventually named the Executive Director at My Friend’s Place. To be in charge of the homeless shelter where she had been a client so many years before was surreal. Susan uses her education and personal experience in her work each day and hopes to inspire those with whom she works.

For her leadership, professionalism, and passion, Susan Ford embodies the extraordinary qualities that the Victor Montana Award recognizes and Granite State College is honored to name her the 2020 recipient.

Todd J. Leach Award for Innovative Leadership

Geoff Vercauteren
Director of Workforce Development at Network4Health / Catholic Medical Center

Over the course of more than 25 years, Geoff Vercauteren of has dedicated his professional life to helping individuals and organizations thrive. Mr. Vercauteren currently serves as the Director of Workforce Development at Network4Health. With Catholic Medical Center as the lead agency, Network4Health is a 43-partner integrated delivery network established as part of New Hampshire’s 1,115 Medicaid Transformation Waiver, serving 18 communities surrounding Greater Manchester, Derry, and Salem. 

In this role, Geoff is responsible for organizing, designing, and implementing initiatives that help to build the behavioral health workforce, responding to the severe and pervasive healthcare crisis that has gripped New Hampshire for the past several years and that is certain to persist when the shadow cast by COVID-19 has passed. These efforts are strengthening the State’s behavioral health workforce and creating vital capacity to respond to the needs of New Hampshire’s citizens.

For his work on behalf of Network4Health and those who are served by that program, the College is pleased to confer the Todd J. Leach Award for Innovative Leadership.

Distinguished Faculty Awards

For excellence in teaching, Granite State College is proud to award Gina Abudi and John Gagnon with the 2020 Distinguished Faculty Award. These recipients exemplify an impeccable standard of excellence by sharing their knowledge in a challenging and supportive learning environment, while inspiring lifelong learning in their students.

Gina Abudi, M.B.A. | Graduate Studies Adjunct Faculty

Gina Abudi of began teaching within the Project Management master’s degree program at Granite State College in 2013. Students welcome her high levels of engagement and appreciate her personalized lessons that allow them to learn concepts and theories through the lens of their own experiences and backgrounds.

Outside of her work at the College, Gina has made her name known throughout the global project management community. Gina is a frequent speaker at project management, business analysis, and leadership conferences, and has served as a frequent keynote speaker. She recently published her third book, “Implementing Positive Organizational Change: A Strategic Project Management Approach”, which has received early critical acclaim from leaders in the project management industry.

Gina is the epitome of a quality instructor. She is student-focused and knowledgeable in her field of expertise. This focus and expertise are what make Gina a tremendous recipient of the College’s 2020 Distinguished Faculty award.

John Gagnon, M.B.A. | Undergraduate and Graduate Studies Adjunct Faculty

John Gagnon serves as an adjunct faculty for both the undergraduate Health Care Management program and the graduate Leadership program. As an alumnus, John embraces the College’s mission to increase access to education to adults of all ages and he strives to create learning communities that are inclusive and engaging for all.

John’s passion for health care and improving the health care workforce has helped improve the curriculum in both undergraduate- and graduate-level courses. His many years of experience in health care allow him to connect real-world principles to academics across a range of topics, such as health care management, health and wellness, allied health leadership, nursing, and business. In his classes, students appreciate how John ties concepts to real-life situations that they can relate to their careers and goals. John’s dedication to our students and lifelong learning are what make him an asset to Granite State College and one of our 2020 Distinguished Faculty members.