FP Alum Earns a Bahamian Parliament Seat

Jan 1, 2020

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Image Franklin Pierce Alum Shanendon Cartwright '01

The Honorable Shanendon Eugene Cartwright '01 as a student-athlete at Pierce.

The power of language, political engagement and the Pierce experience

Franklin Pierce was not the only institution vying for Shanendon Cartwright’s attention as a top national high school basketball prospect. But Pierce was the school he chose.

“On my recruiting visit, I instantly fell in love with the New England area, specifically the state of New Hampshire and the beautiful Pierce campus, the foliage, the lake, and the prospect of being inundated with snow,” Shanendon recalled.

However, while he is a Franklin Pierce University record holder for the most three-pointers in a game (nine), his time at Pierce cannot be exclusively defined by his prowess on the court. “My experience was diverse and embodied the Pierce journey,” Shanendon said.

An English major with a History minor who graduated with the class of 2001, Shanendon was also a New England Collegiate Conference Academic Scholar-Athlete, Chairman of the Judicial Board, and a recipient of the Franklin Pierce University’s President's Award for Leadership and Contribution. The latter evokes the most pride, because of Shanendon’s belief in service to community and to his fellow man.

Even with such conviction, this young, promising scholar-athlete from the Commonwealth of the Bahamas might never have imagined the position he would hold today, as the Honorable Shanendon Eugene Cartwright, a member of Parliament representing the province of St. Barnabas.

Shanendon has always believed in the power of political engagement to change the lives of his fellow Bahamians and as such, was involved in several municipal and national campaigns over the past fifteen years. During that time, his aspiration to serve in a greater capacity as a member of Parliament grew.

“I’m very passionate about the empowerment of lower income and middle-class Bahamians,” Shanendon said, “and feel it is imperative to strengthen opportunities for lower income families and expand the middle class.”

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Image The Honorable Shanendon Eugene Cartwright
Caption  The Honorable Shanendon Eugene Cartwright

It was this passion that motivated him to run for a seat in Parliament. It was his experience and drive that got him there.

Prior to his political seat, Shanendon enjoyed an eighteen-year journey as a corporate development, hospitality and marketing professional with tenures at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Atlantis Resort and Casino and most recently, as a Senior Executive for DanBrad Limited, a multimillion dollar franchisee holding company in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

He also founded Vision 21, a youth development and community development program, and became heavily involved in other community and civic organizations, all while raising three daughters, Sharyn, Shanead, and Destine.

The Bahamas became an independent Commonwealth in 1973, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. It has a two-party system, with primary representation in Parliament by the Free National Movement and the Progressive Liberal Party.

Shanendon increased his political activity through the Free National Movement, serving as a three-time elected National Trustee and its National Chairman for Membership prior to his recent election. His top three goals for his service to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas as a member of Parliament now include the re-development of the inner cities, education reform, and the diversification and strengthening of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.

Did Pierce prepare him for such a trajectory? “There is no doubt that Pierce prepared me for life on the other side of my degree because of the whole concept of community, thinking critically, developing a perspective with global considerations, and solving the needs of one’s generation and mankind,” Shanendon said. That is the foundation of a Pierce education, he added, and one that has been fully applied in his personal, professional, and political life.

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Image The Honorable Shanendon Eugene Cartwright

The Honorable Shanendon Eugene Cartwright 

“I’ve made lifelong friends through my teammates and other relationships forged on campus,” Shanendon said. “I owe a great deal of gratitude to former coaches Arthur Luptoswki and David Chadbourne, former Athletic Director Bruce Kirsh, and former President George Hagerty for the life lessons to which they exposed me. Professors Dion (both), Professor Burness, Professor Cervo, Professor Ley, and Professor Dangelantonio each challenged me academically and on a personal level to fulfill my potential.”

“I remember Shanendon as having a dynamic, upbeat personality. He was always smiling, always excited about life, charming and optimistic,” Sarah Dangelantonio, Ph.D., Professor of English said, reminiscing on Shanendon’s time as a student at Pierce. “He was fully engaged with all aspects of his life at Pierce, as an athlete, a student and a community member, and he never gave less than his best effort. He was always articulate and thoughtful, with a sharp mind and a true understanding of the power of language to effect change,” Dr. Dangelantonio added.

What advice would Shanendon give himself as a freshman if he could go back in time? “Success is never a singular effort,” he said. “Take advice and show gratitude to those who continue to make your successes possible.”

To the incoming freshman in the fall of 2017, Shanendon offers this additional advice: “Be on two parallel journeys of self-development and national development, and enrich the lives of your fellow citizens wherever possible.”

Learn more about the English major or the History minor at Franklin Pierce, and the current Raven Men’s Basketball team.

Read more about other Franklin Pierce alumni and how to get involved with alumni efforts at Pierce.