School of Law Commencement speaker: Hon. Margaret Wood Hassan
Doctor of Laws
Throughout her illustrious career in public service, New Hampshire Governor Margaret Wood Hassan has championed common-sense, bipartisan solutions to address the complex challenges confronting her state and the New England region.
First as a state legislator, and now as the second woman to be elected chief executive in the Granite State, Gov. Hassan’s leadership has been marked by her ability to bring people together to find common ground around core issues such as education, healthcare, and jobs.
Elected governor in 2012, she is the driving force behind “Innovate NH,” a jobs plan focused on building a strong workforce, providing targeted tax credits to businesses, and providing businesses with technical assistance in order to enhance New Hampshire’s competitive position in the global economy. She also is working with lawmakers from both parties to develop a balanced budget that keeps taxes low while protecting New Hampshire’s vital public services.
Gov. Hassan’s ability to get things done led Business NH Magazine to name her one of the state’s most powerful people in 2010, when she was majority leader of the state Senate.
The Boston native and Northeastern University School of Law alumna was first elected to the New Hampshire Senate in 2004. During her three successful terms in office, she focused her legislative efforts on expanding access to healthcare, improving K–12 education, creating regional approaches to meet infrastructure needs, and developing the foundation for a green economy in the state.
Under her leadership, New Hampshire enacted universal kindergarten, increased the high school dropout age to 18 to address a rising dropout rate, and established alternative education programs.
When the Great Recession struck the state in 2008, she led the passage of New Hampshire Working, a nationally recognized effort to aid businesses and workers. That same year, she sponsored New Hampshire’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, created by states and provinces in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the development of renewable energy sources.
Gov. Hassan began her career in public service in 1999, when then-New Hampshire governor Jeanne Shaheen appointed her to a state commission studying the adequacy of educational resources for New Hampshire’s public education system. Gov. Hassan’s invaluable experience as an attorney and as the parent of a child with disabilities allowed her to bring a unique perspective to the commission’s work.
She began her law career at the law firm Palmer and Dodge before working as associate general counsel for Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Partners Healthcare of Boston. Gov. Hassan earned her Bachelor of Arts from Brown University.