Speakers, Marshals, and Honorary Degree Recipients

We are proud to announce this year’s Class Speakers, Class Marshals, and Honorary Degree Recipients. Congratulations to all.

2022 Class Speakers

Undergraduate Speaker

Rajhan Munnings

Representing the Undergraduate Division as Class Speaker will be Rajhan Munnings. Munnings is from South Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands and will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. After graduation, he plans to continue playing hockey in Europe or move back to his hometown and focus on entrepreneurship.

Graduate Speaker

Nathaniel White

Representing the Graduate Division as Graduate Class Speaker will be Nathaniel White. White is from Waterville, Maine, and will be graduating with a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Health Care Management. White currently works in Materials Management Procurement for MaineGeneral Health.

2022 Class Marshals

Assisting the graduating class this year as marshals will be Sydney Pinkham from Poland, Maine, and Steele Young from Freeport, Maine.

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Pinkham is graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in Industrial – Organizational Psychology at East Carolina University.

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Young is graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Entrepreneurship/Small Business Management. After graduation, Young will start his new job as a Management Trainee at Copart in New Hampshire.

Commencement Speaker & Honorary Degree Recipient

Gregory W. Powell
Chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation Board of Trustees
CEO and President of Dexter Enterprises LLC

Greg Powell will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at this year’s Commencement ceremonies.

Gregory W. Powell is the chief executive officer and president of Dexter Enterprises LLC, a wealth management firm, and executive chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation, the largest charitable foundation in Maine. Under Powell’s strategic leadership, the Foundation has awarded over $450 million in grants to build the strength of Maine families, communities, and institutions. This has included significant investments in higher education, health care, and the city of Waterville, as well as in the Harold Alfond College Challenge, a first-in-the-nation program to provide $500 higher education grants for all children born in the state. In 2020, Powell announced over $500 million in additional grant commitments to help grow Maine’s workforce and economy, including grants to Thomas College, the University of Maine System, Colby College, the Maine Community College System, and the Roux Institute. Powell also serves as the chief executive officer and president of Dexter Private Trust Company LLC, an officer and director of multiple Alfond family-held businesses, and an officer of the Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation. He has served on the boards of Fairholme Trust Company and Spinnaker Trust Company, and currently serves on the boards of Maine Hardware and Count & Crush. Powell is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the University of Maine School of Law. In addition to an honorary degree from Thomas College, he holds honorary degrees from the University of New England and Colby College. Powell is a native of Waterville, Maine, where he attended Waterville public schools. He currently resides in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, with his wife Amy. They have two grown daughters.

Honors Convocation Speaker & Honorary Degree Recipient

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Donna Loring
author, broadcaster, and former Senior Advisor on Tribal Affairs to Governor Mills

Donna will be recognized with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Thomas College’s 128th Commencement ceremonies.

Donna Loring is an author, broadcaster, and former Senior Advisor on Tribal Affairs to Governor Mills. She is currently the host of Wabanaki Windows Radio. Donna received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1986, her Law Enforcement Certificate from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in 1978 and is an International Policy Fellowship 2008 Graduate of the Eleanor Roosevelt Global Leadership Institute. Donna was the first woman to serve as police chief in the state of Maine. She also served as Chair of the Women Veterans Commission for the Office of State of Maine Governor Angus King. She has received numerous awards including the ‘Courage is Contagious Award’ from the University of Maine Law School, and the Maine Community Foundation Service Recognition Award.

Honorary Degree Recipients

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Charles W. Hays, Jr. M.B.A. ’02
President and CEO of MaineGeneral

Chuck Hayes will be recognized with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Thomas College’s 128th Commencement ceremonies.

Charles W. “Chuck” Hays, Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer of MaineGeneral Health. He graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy with a degree in Marine Engineering. After working in the field in Connecticut and Massachusetts, he and his wife Maria moved to Maine to raise their family in 1995, and Chuck joined what is now the state’s third largest healthcare system, MaineGeneral Health.

In 2007, Chuck was named President and CEO of MaineGeneral Medical Center, and in 2012, he became President and CEO of the parent company, MaineGeneral Health. Under his leadership, MaineGeneral Medical Center has been recognized with national quality awards and was listed in 2022 as one of the best hospitals in the world by Newsweek Magazine.

Chuck received his Master’s in Business Administration at Thomas College in 2002. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Professionals, Maine Hospital Association, American Hospital Association, and served on many national and local boards. He is currently on the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce Board, Kennebec Savings Bank Board (Vice Chair), Alfond Youth and Community Center Board, Maine Health and Higher Education Funding Authority, and the Maine Dartmouth Residency Board.

Chuck and Maria live in Manchester, Maine, and have two grown children and two grandchildren.

Allen Ryan H’08 (posthumous)
former Thomas College Trustee and philanthropist

Allen Ryan will be recognized with a posthumous honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at this year’s Commencement ceremonies.

Thomas College Trustee Howard “Allen” Ryan, of Manchester, Maine, passed away on September 21, 2019, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. His posthumous recognition at this year’s Commencement marks the first such award, and the first time anyone has earned a second honorary degree from Thomas.

Allen graduated from Bowdoin College in 1964, and soon thereafter, moved to Maine and founded NorthCenter-Performance Foodservice Corporation in Augusta. He often noted that while he was an incredibly proud Bowdoin alumnus, he loved Thomas College because its graduates helped him to grow his company. As a lifelong learner and dedicated volunteer, he took great interest and pride in serving on the boards of both institutions, joining Thomas College in 1994. As a Trustee, he was known for his wit, wisdom, and leadership, and for tirelessly championed the institution. He was instrumental in the growth of alumni relations efforts, noting how important graduates are to the school’s spirit and longevity. One of the most special days of the year for Allen was Commencement and the opportunity to witness students realizing their educational dreams.

Together with his wife Dianne, the Ryans’ generosity led to the naming of the H. Allen Ryan Baseball Field, the H. Allen and Dianne Ryan Field House inside the Harold Alfond Athletic Center, and the H. Allen Ryan School of Business. Through their endowed scholarship fund, they have helped students attend and graduate from Thomas more affordably and will continue to support them in perpetuity.