When Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord found out Franklin Pierce University wanted to bestow her an honorary degree, she had one question.
“I asked, ‘Why?’” Lord said. “It’s not something you get asked to do every day. They wanted to make sure I would accept it.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event. I respect the university. We’ve had a great relationship for quite some time. I appreciate the recognition, but this is really a recognition of the city and the councilmembers. I accepted under the auspices of the city.”
The Rindge, New Hampshire-based Franklin Pierce University has a campus at 14455 W. Van Buren Street, Building A, Suite 100, in Goodyear.
President Dr. Kim Mooney and Provost James W. DuMond Jr. awarded honorary degrees to a visionary New England business leader and two mayors of cities that are home to Franklin Pierce University graduate and professional studies centers beyond the Rindge campus. Lord was one of the mayors.
Joyce H. Craig, the 48th mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire, and the first woman to hold the office, received a Doctor of Public Administration in recognition of her efforts to improve employment and quality of life in the state’s largest city through collaboration with businesses and universities.
Lord received a Doctor of Public Administration in honor of the impact of her energy and vision on the people and sustainable future of one of the fastest-growing cities in the country.
Publisher James R. Trowbridge, president and CEO of Yankee Publishing in Dublin, New Hampshire, received a Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his leadership transforming a venerable family-owned business into a 21st century media enterprise.
The Honorable Walter R. Peterson Citizen Leader Award was presented to Martha R. Pappas, Ed.D., a writer, educator and philanthropist who has spent her life working to improve the health, education and well-being of young people and their families in communities throughout New England.
Franklin Pierce University opened a campus in Goodyear after, Lord said, the city received numerous requests to open a higher-education facility in the city.
“Franklin Pierce has been around since 2008,” she said. “They hung in during the downturn when the rest of the schools left because they couldn’t sustain themselves during that really tragic time,” she said.
The university, she added, has a 100% graduation rate, “which is pretty amazing. During this process, they farm the students to different medical groups around the city and Phoenix area so they actually practice.”
Lord said she hopes Franklin Pierce University will have its own building at some point. She enjoyed being on its New Hampshire campus.
“It was magnificent,” she said. “It’s surrounded by trees.
“In Michigan, where I’m from, we have a lot of water there. They have lakes with no names because there’s so much water there. That part was very pleasant.”
At the New Hampshire campus, all of the students live there, which, Lord said, lent to a “totally different atmosphere during graduation.”
“As each student came up to get their degree, all the young people would cheer them on and yell things,” said Lord, who attended Michigan State University and Lansing Community College. “The entire group became very close. It gave me a more intimate feeling of the relations of the university.”
Lord’s family came with her, which made the honorary degree ceremony “very meaningful.
“It’s really hard for me — and I think any mayor or councilperson — and it made me very torn,” she said. “I didn’t do this alone. There’s a big team here (at the city). I was really excited about the honorary degree, but I do feel like I’ve been helped by everyone here at city hall.
“The staff, the mayor when I was on the council, and the city managers all helped me represent the city of Goodyear.”