Colby-Sawyer will celebrate its 180th Commencement on Saturday, May 5, graduating approximately 265 undergraduate students and recognizing them and other individuals for academic excellence, outstanding contributions to society, and service to the college and community. The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. on the college’s front lawn.

Colby-Sawyer will also graduate its first cohort of graduate students in its Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. The 21-month MSN program, developed in collaboration with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, meets the demand for the education of the advanced generalist nurse as a Clinical Nurse Leader and is structured around the quality and integrity standards of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education’s Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing.

Community Awards

Colby-Sawyer will recognize these members of the college and greater community for outstanding contributions to the life of Colby-Sawyer and its students.

For her dedication to the state of New Hampshire, for her leadership and service to its citizens, and for being a champion of access to quality education at all levels, Colby-Sawyer is proud to recognize U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. Senator Shaheen will offer remarks during the Commencement ceremony.

Senator Shaheen is the first woman elected both Governor and U.S. Senator in American history. She completed three terms in the New Hampshire Senate before winning her first of three terms as Governor in 1996. After serving as director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government, she was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008, where she is a member of the Senate Committees on Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Appropriations, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Known for her fiscal responsibility and common-sense leadership, Senator Shaheen is dedicated to enhancing the lives of the middle class. Her work to make higher education accessible and affordable aligns with Colby-Sawyer’s mission to prepare students for their professions and lives of ongoing learning so that that they can thrive in, and make a positive impact upon, a dynamic, diverse and interdependent world. An educator who taught high school in Mississippi and New Hampshire, she has made improving K-12 and higher education a priority throughout her career. As Governor, she worked to strengthen New Hampshire schools and fought to expand kindergarten access, making it possible for more than 25,000 additional children to realize a strong start to their education. In the Senate, she works to make college more affordable, invest in STEM education and to strengthen job training programs. Senator Shaheen has fought to increase the maximum Pell Grant to help low-income students attend college and to curb climbing student debt.

Senator Shaheen holds an undergraduate degree in English from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and a master's degree in political science from the University of Mississippi. She resides in Madbury with her husband, Bill. They have three daughters and seven grandchildren.

Peggy A. Stock, the sixth president of Colby-Sawyer College, will receive the college’s highest award, the Susan Colgate Cleveland Medal for Distinguished Service. Often called “the president who saved Colby-Sawyer,” Stock was the first female president of the college and served from 1986 to 1995. Under her guidance, enrollment grew; the college’s first campaign, the Campaign for Colby-Sawyer College, exceeded its goal of $25 million and raised $27.5 million; the Dan and Kathleen Hogan Sports Center and Rooke Hall were built; and Colgate Hall, Ware Student Center and the residence halls were renovated.

Assistant Professor of Exercise and Sport Sciences and Director of Colby-Sawyer’s Athletic Training Education Program Theodore “T.J.” Smith will receive the Jack Jensen Award for Excellence in Teaching, the college’s highest faculty award, and deliver the Commencement Address, “Learning Among Friends.” Smith is a resident of Georges Mills.

Graduating Student Awards

Morgan Forrest, a business administration major from Brewer, Maine, has been selected as the Senior Commencement Speaker and will deliver an address titled “History Has Its Eyes On You.”

The Colby-Sawyer Award, given to the senior who exemplifies the college’s ideals of personal dignity, intellectual growth and contributions to campus life, will be presented to Curtis Warren, an exercise science major from Morrill, Maine.

The David H. Winton Baccalaureate Award, which recognizes the graduating student with the highest cumulative grade point average, will be announced at Commencement.

To learn more about the award winners, visit