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Plymouth State University graduate to give commencement speech; three to be honored

PLYMOUTH — Plymouth State University’s 143rd Commencement ceremony on May 17 will feature honorary award recipients who have made significant achievements in the fields of law, medicine, and education, including one Plymouth State alumnus.

The university has announced that child-abuse prosecutor Stephen J. Sedensky III, bionic limb innovator Hugh Herr, and educational leader Stephen J. Reno will be the guest speakers.

PSU president Sara Jayne Steen said the three guests share “a commitment to excellence.”

Sedensky will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the university. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Plymouth State in 1980, Sedensky attended law school and has had a successful career as a prosecutor in his native Connecticut, where he is the state’s attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury.

Herr will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree. He leads the biomechatronics research group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, which creates bionic limbs that emulate the function of natural limbs and allow recipients to perform normal activities.

In 2011, Time magazine described Herr as the “Leader of the Bionic Age” because of work that marries human physiology with electromechanics. Herr lost both legs in a climbing accident in the White Mountains 30 years ago, and has designed his own bionic legs and the world’s first bionic foot and calf system called the BiOM.

Reno will receive the Granite State Award for exceptional contributions to New Hampshire. He is the executive director of Leadership New Hampshire, a program in which leaders learn about the state in order better to respond to its issues. He has created initiatives such as Stay, Work, Play New Hampshire, designed to attract and retain young workers in the state, and has served as a consultant to many New Hampshire non-profit organizations.

For nine years, Reno was the chancellor of the University System of New Hampshire.

Trace Adkins
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