Ted Kennedy Jr. and Senator Chris Murphy to Address Graduates
Ted Kennedy Jr. and Senator Chris Murphy to Address Graduates

By Karen Grava
Director of Media Relations

Ted Kennedy Jr., a lawyer and advocate for people with disabilities, will be the keynote speaker at UNH’s morning commencement ceremony at the Toyota Presents Oakdale Theatre on Sunday, May 19.

Kennedy will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the ceremony, which starts at 10 a.m.

A second ceremony at 3 p.m. will feature a commencement address delivered by Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), who will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

(L-R) Ted Kennedy Jr. and Senator Chris Murphy.

UNH is awarding 37 associate degrees, 760 bachelor’s degrees and 388 master’s degrees at the May 19 ceremonies.

Kennedy is the president and co-founder of the health care-centric financial services and consulting firm Marwood Group, which advises asset managers, hospitals and pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies on market trends and regulatory issues. For the past 15 years, he has served as a board member of the American Association of People with Disabilities, the country's largest disability civil rights and public policy organization.

Murphy was elected to the United States Senate last fall and, at age 39, is the youngest sitting senator. He serves on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee and the Joint Economic Committee.

Murphy previously served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives for Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District. While a congressman, he helped to shape the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, which was created in 2008.

At the morning ceremony, Lubbie Harper Jr., a retired Connecticut Supreme Court associate justice, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, and the late Richard Kaufmann will be posthumously awarded an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree.

Harper, who received an associate degree from UNH in 1963 and a Bachelor of Science degree in public administration in 1965, was appointed to the Connecticut Superior Court in 1997 and the state Appellate Court in 2005.

He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2011 by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and served until the end of 2012. He currently sits by designation on the Appellate Court.

In 2008, while serving on the Supreme Court in a temporary capacity, Harper cast the swing vote in the court’s ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in Connecticut.

A former member of the UNH Board of Governors, Harper is the chairman of Connecticut’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity. He received UNH’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003.

Kaufmann, who earned his bachelor’s degree from UNH in 1967, died in 2012. His degree will be accepted by his children, Kenneth Kaufmann and Laura Miranto.

Kaufmann founded Thermal Engineering of Arizona, a company that designs and installs systems to heat and clean water used in the commercial laundry and textile industries. The 36- year-old company has built more than 1,500 of the largest commercial laundry facilities in the U.S. The inventor of a continuous flow laundry system, Kaufmann held five U.S. patents. He also designed the fire house in North Madison, where he served as president and was a longtime volunteer.

Two additional honorary degrees will be awarded at the afternoon ceremony. Rosa Gatti, former senior vice president, communications counsel and corporate outreach at ESPN, and Stephen Tagliatela, co-owner of the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, will be awarded honorary Doctor of Business degrees. Both are members of the UNH Board of Governors.

Gatti recently retired after a 33-year career as an executive at ESPN. She oversaw numerous publicity efforts for the company’s coverage including SportsCenter, the America’s Cup and the National Football League.

Earlier this year, she was named one of the Sports Business Journal's “Pioneers and Innovators in Sports Business.”

Tagliatela also is a principal at Franklin Enterprise, a construction, development and real estate company started by his grandfather, Francesco, nearly 100 years ago.

He is a member of the UNH Center for Family Business and is a generous benefactor of the university's Tagliatela College of Engineering.

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