School of Law alumna elected N.H. governor

Maggie Hassan, a 1985 graduate of the School of Law, will be New Hampshire’s next governor. She said her Northeastern education, including her co-op experiences, will serve her well in leading the Granite State.

“My time at Northeastern was remarkable in a lot of different ways,” Hassan said in an interview Wednesday evening. “More than anything, what I learned in law school was that everybody counts, and one of the things that lawyers at their best do is make sure different people’s voices are heard. That’s been an important thing I have carried with me since law school, and I know many of my classmates have too.”

Governor-elect Hassan, a 54-year-old Democrat, is New Hampshire’s former Senate Majority Leader. At the end of an often-contentious campaign, Hassan reached across the aisle in her victory speech Tuesday night, pledging to work with both parties. She defeated Republican Ovide Lamontagne, winning the support of 54.6 percent of New Hampshire voters.

“I’m really grateful to the people of New Hampshire for the trust they’ve put in me and I’m excited to work with them to move forward,” said Hassan, who ran on a plan to develop a more robust and innovative economy and ensure the state has the strongest workforce in the nation.

Hassan is the university’s second law school graduate to become a state governor. The first was John O. Pastore, L’31, who served as Rhode Island’s governor from 1945 to 1950.

A resident of Exeter, Hassan earned her bachelor’s degree from Brown University. She and her husband Tom, the principal of Phillips Exeter Academy, have a son Ben, 24, and daughter Meg, 19. Hassan entered public service in 1999, serving as an advocate on the Advisory Committee to the Adequacy in Education and Finance Commission, and was elected to the New Hampshire Senate in 2004, serving for six years. She worked to pass universal kindergarten in the state and, according to the Concord Monitor, played a key role in New Hampshire’s legalization of marriage equality.

Hassan said her co-op experience through Northeastern — in fields including criminal justice, government and a large private law firm — made her more aware of the ways the legal system can be leveraged to improve the lives of many disadvantaged people.

“I was able to get experience in many of kinds of law, and I think those opportunities have served me very well,” Hassan said. “As I went through law school and gained experience through the co-op program, it gave me the foundation to move forward to my time practicing the law and created the foundation for being a state Senator.”