Former Los Angeles Times Editor and Gateway Community College President to Deliver Commencement Addresses

Former Los Angeles Times Editor and Gateway Community College President to Deliver Commencement Addresses

by Dave Cranshaw
UNH Today Editor


Katie Deslandes '15 M.S.
Communications and Public Affairs Graduate Assistant

John Carroll, the former editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun and the Lexington Herald-Leader, will be the keynote speaker at UNH’s morning Commencement ceremony at the Toyota Presents Oakdale Theatre on Sunday, May 18.

(L-R) John Carroll and Dorsey Kendrick

Carroll will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Business graduates, which starts at 10 a.m.

Dorsey Kendrick, president of Gateway Community College, will deliver the address at the afternoon Commencement ceremony for graduates of the Tagliatela College of Engineering and the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences. Kendrick will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the ceremony, which will begin at 3 p.m. 

UNH is awarding 729 bachelor’s degrees and 340 master’s degrees at the ceremonies.

Carroll has spent more than four decades in the journalism field. He is now chairman of the News Literacy Project and a member of the Advisory Board of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University and the Journalism Advisory Board of ProPublica. He is currently writing a book of narrative nonfiction that deals with journalism and elite college sports.

Kendrick has been president of Gateway since 1999. In her first eight years, Gateway’s enrollment grew 100 percent. Today, Gateway is the largest of Connecticut’s 12 community colleges, serving more than 12,000 undergraduates each year. The crowning achievement of Kendrick’s tenure at Gateway has been the college’s new LEED Gold-certified campus in downtown New Haven, which opened in 2012. Gateway has been listed in The New York Times as the top community college in Connecticut for incoming freshmen.

At the morning ceremony, honorary Doctor of Business Administration degrees will be awarded to Shelly Frank ’66, a prominent restaurant executive who is best known as the former president, CEO and chairman of the  Chi-Chi’s restaurant chain, and Michael Gianoni ’92 EMBA, the chief executive officer and president of Blackbaud Inc., the leading global provider of software for nonprofit organizations. An honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree also will be awarded to Diana Atwood Johnson, an accomplished artist, dedicated community advocate and distinguished business owner, who was a member of the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts board of trustees for 33 years.

In less than 10 years, Frank led Chi-Chi’s growth from a single Minneapolis location into – at the time – the fastest-growing restaurant chain in the country.

During that decade, he developed Chi-Chi’s into an industry leader with more than 225 restaurants in 40 states, Canada and Europe that made nearly $700 million in annual revenue. At its peak, it was the 15th largest full-service restaurant chain in the country based on sales per unit.

In 1983, Frank was named the Wall Street Transcript’s Restaurant CEO of the Year. The same year, he won the Gold Chain Award given by Nation’s Restaurant News to recognize bold and innovative restaurant leaders.

Gianoni joined Blackbaud in January. He has more than 25 years of diverse business experience in the e-commerce, software and computer manufacturing industries.

Prior to joining Blackbaud, Gianoni served as executive vice president and group president of the financial institutions group at Fiserv Inc., a $4 billion global technology provider serving the financial services industry. He previously served as president of the investment services division at Fiserv, where he was responsible for product development, technology, sales, finance, operations and strategic planning.

Johnson was the chair of the Lyme Academy College’s Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2003, a period during which the college became accredited and opened a new academic center. She also served as chair from 2010 to 2013 and is now chair emerita.

She opened the Old Lyme Inn in 1976 and operated it for 25 years. She was the founder and past chair of the Mystic Coast and Country Travel and Leisure Council. Additionally, she is a former director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association and a past director at INNCOM International, a provider of energy management systems for hotels and motels worldwide.

An additional honorary degree will be awarded at the afternoon ceremony. Kenneth Biermacher ’76, one of six founding directors of Kane Russell Coleman & Logan, a prominent Texas law firm with offices in Dallas and Houston, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

The firm’s most senior member of its litigation group, Biermacher is annually listed among the best business litigation attorneys in Texas Super Lawyers and Texas Monthly. He also has been recognized by Chambers USA to be among the “Leading Lawyers for Business” and is listed in Best Lawyers in America, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession.

As a civil trial attorney, Biermacher represents clients throughout the United States in a diverse range of complex business litigation matters. He is admitted to practice in Texas and Iowa, as well as before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Eighth circuits and many federal district courts nationwide.

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