2013 Commencement Honorary Degree Recipients Announced

Feb 26, 2013

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Commencement Ceremony

Gary Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield Yogurt; Meg Cadoux Hirshberg, nonfiction writer; Penny Pitou, the first American to win an Olympic medal in downhill skiing; and Lloyd Astmann, outgoing chairman of the board of trustees of Franklin Pierce University are each scheduled to receive a Doctor of Humane Letters from Franklin Pierce University. The Honorary Degrees will be conferred at the University’s 48th commencement on Saturday, May 18, at 10:30 a.m. on its Rindge campus. The recipients are well known for their entrepreneurial spirit and close ties to the state and will offer brief remarks upon receipt of their Honorary Degrees.

Gary Hirshberg, an optimist known for his inspirational views on sustainability, organic agriculture, and the profitability of green business, is chairman and co-founder  of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s leading organic yogurt company which is based in Londonderry, N.H. Hirshberg grew the company from a seven-cow operation in 1983 to a world-renowned company generating $370 million in annual sales. He is the author of Stirring it Up: How to Make Money and Change the World, a book about how a business can make an environmental commitment that not only promotes a healtheir planet but also produces a healthy company. A New Hampshire native who lives in the state with his wife, Meg Cadoux Hirshberg, and their three children, Hirshberg has won numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership and serves on several corporate and nonprofit boards.

Meg Cadoux Hirshberg is a highly regarded speaker and writer who recently authored For Better or for Work: A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and Their Families, a well-received book offering strategies and insight into building a business and a family simultaneously and the consequent impact on both the business and relationships. Cadoux Hirshberg worked in the Stonyfield Farm business for several years in sales and yogurt production prior to embarking on her writing career. She currently writes an Inc. magazine column called "Balancing Acts" that explores work-life balance in an entrepreneurial setting. Cadoux Hirshberg has also written two yogurt cookbooks and has been published in Yankee Magazine, the Boston Globe magazine, New Hampshire Magazine, and other publications.

In a year when the 40th anniversary of Title IX (providing equal opportunities for women in sports), is being celebrated, it is particularly fitting to honor Penny Pitou, a trailblazer in the sport of women’s skiing. Pitou was the first American – man or woman – to win an Olympic medal in downhill skiing in 1960, capturing Silver medals in the Downhill and in the Giant Slalom. A native of New Hampshire, Pitou is also a successful entrepreneur who runs Penny Pitou Travel Inc. in Laconia with a branch in North Conway, in addition to operating the Penny Pitou Ski Schools at Gunstock, N.H., and at Blue Hills, Mass. Pitou also excelled in tennis, notching crowns in Manchester, New Hampton, Concord, and throughout the state. She has received numerous honors, including election to the National Ski Hall of Fame in 1961 and induction into the New England’s Women’s’ Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. Pitou has served on several boards, including the International Skiing History Association, the United States Ski Association National Historical Committee, and the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame & Museum Board. She has chaired seminars on drug and alcohol abuse and has spoken before various organizations on women and travel.

In 2010, Lloyd H. Astmann, a successful entrepreneur, became Franklin Pierce University’s first alumni to serve as chairman of its board of trustees, on which he continues to serve. "My over 30 years of experience on the board of trustees has not only been fun keeping in contact with so many wonderful people I met while attending Pierce," Astmann says, "but it has also been personally rewarding, enlightening, and enriching. I have had the opportunity to work with many brilliant, caring trustees and have learned so much from all of them." A member of the Class of 1969, Astmann is currently a managing partner of NHA Realty, LLC, a New Jersey-based commercial real estate holding company. Previously, Astmann founded and served as the president of The Jilson Group, Inc., a conglomerate of companies that imported industrial hardware and distributed those products throughout North America. Astmann and his wife, Helen, also a ’69 alum, were instrumental in founding the Franklin Pierce Alumni Association; Astmann served on the Alumni Board from 1974 to 1981. In 1990, he was awarded the Alumni Participation Award, and in 2004 he and his wife received the Alumni Leader of Conscience award. In 2011, with the support of the Astmanns, the Lloyd and Helen Ament Astmann ’69 Career Center opened on the Rindge campus, providing easy access for Franklin Pierce students to receive assistance in choosing a career path and setting realistic goals for the future.

The Honorary Degrees will be presented as part of the Commencement exercises, where graduates of the Rindge campus, online programs, and Franklin Pierce University’s College of Graduate & Professional Studies in Concord, Lebanon, Manchester, and Portsmouth will receive their diplomas.


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