Huddleston also praised the marathon volunteers, seven students who helped another who had a heart attack, and several other students who helped burn victims when a pipe carrying hot water burst in a dormitory.
“But the character that propelled those heroic acts is not rare at the University of New Hampshire,” he said. “We have many others who constitutionally run toward the explosion. We have other bone marrow donors and first responders.”
Huddleston and Legere told the graduates that what they accomplish in life is up to them.
“You are here now to do great work and make a difference,” Legere said.
Legere, 52, is a New Hampshire native who oversees 58,000 soldiers and civilians in the Army’s military intelligence corps. She has commanded at every level of the Army.
But instead of talking about her prestigious 31-year military career, Legere’s lighthearted speech focused mainly on her own graduation from UNH.
“I got really depressed when I realized none of you were born when I graduated from college,” she said. “I sincerely hope you are proud of what you accomplished.
The proud graduates included many students from Southern New Hampshire — ecstatic that graduation day had finally arrived.
“It’s exciting, but I worked pretty hard for it,’ said Laura Dennison, 21, of Windham.
Dennison, an English major, said she’s still considering potential careers. So is theater major Dan Pelletier, 22, who went to Pinkerton Academy in Derry.
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said of graduating. “I’m not sure where to go from here. What do you do with a BA in theater?”
But other students already have jobs lined up.
Jeff Garside, 22, of Londonderry begins his job Monday as a financial representative for Fidelity Investments in Merrimack.
“It’s fast track here,” he said.
His fiancee, Shannon Peddle, 21, of Londonderry, has a new job there as well.