An Uncommon Commencement
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Among the estimated 22,000 people attending UNH's 137th commencement were some who just wanted to see the pair of former presidents. Meredith Anker's son graduated from UNH in 1995, but she drove to Durham from Schenectady, N.Y., anyway, towing along a friend. "I've heard Bill Clinton is the most charismatic person in the world, and I wanted to see him in person," said Anker, who was seated in the bleachers by 6:30 a.m., wishing she had remembered her binoculars, although in a couple of hours, the giant screen to the right of the platform would provide a continuous up-close and personal view of graduates and speakers.

"I can't even remember who spoke at my own commencement, but I'll remember this day," said Dave Townson, associate professor of animal and nutritional sciences, as he prepared to march onto the field with the other faculty members.

Kerry Powers '05 of Newmarket, N.H., earning a master's degree in education, probably would have passed on commencement except for the speakers. Her classmate, Katherine Crosby of Dover, also might have chosen not to walk, but she had heard Clinton was going to play the saxophone. (He didn't.)

But it was the graduation, not the speakers, that clearly was the main event for the majority of relatives sitting in the stands. Many had umbrellas at the ready--rain was forecast but managed to hold off--and covered themselves with blankets. Some opted for the warmth of Lundholm Gymnasium or the Whittemore Center, where simulcasts were shown on big screens.

NOTABLES: Interim President Bonnie Newman, above left, talks with Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton and New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch '74 in the driveway of the UNH president's house. In his remarks, President Clinton commented on the singing of the national anthem by English department lecturer Reginald Wilburn, above center, and an "admonition" by Faculty Senate chair Jeffrey Salloway, right, who observed that parents, not knowing how to say "I love you," instead caution, "Be careful crossing the street." Salloway concluded, "There's a lot of traffic today, so on behalf of the UNH faculty, please be careful crossing the street."
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