KEENE - Keene State College President Anne Huot reminded graduates at commencement Saturday that their time is precious and to step up and serve an active role in their communities as they have at Keene State.
Huot said the students have served thousands of hours in community service in the region in just the past year. She also commended 2014 graduate Justin Tracy, who last month pulled a man from a burning house in Swanzey.
"You are great ambassadors for our college," Huot said. "You entered to learn, go forth and serve."
Huot also asked graduates to remember recently deceased members of the college family.
Longtime Keene State groundskeeper Nate DeMond of Fitzwilliam died last month of electrocution from a power line down on a property adjacent to the Keene State College Athletic Complex on Krif Road. And Sean Thomas, a safety and occupational health major and management minor, died this week.
Huot announced Casey's death Wednesday, saying it has been determined to be an accident.
Just under 1,000 students received undergraduate degrees during the ceremony Saturday afternoon. Another 37 received graduate degrees.
John G. "Jack" Dugan, president of the Monadnock Economic Development Corporation, was presented with the Granite State Award.
An honorary doctor of science degree was presented to Dr. Howard W. Smith, who graduated from Keene State in 1942, for his contributions to medicine and to medical education, as well as his commitment to service to others.
Keynote speaker Andrew Robinson, the college's vice president for student affairs, told students to remember and thank family and friends as well as faculty and other supporters at this time.
"We need other people, and they need us," he said.
He also emphasized the importance of perseverance and quoted Calvin Coolidge saying, "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent."
Aaron Testa, president of the senior class, encouraged his fellow graduates to know their efforts and hard work have not gone unnoticed and to carry on achieving. He concluded saying, "In the wise words of 'N Sync, 'Bye, Bye, Bye' and congratulations Class of 2014."