Supreme Court Justice Sings African American Anthem next Wednesday

Henniker, NH – On Wednesday, January 20, New England College will begin its 70th year with a reflection on its history and a celebration of diversity.  The College’s annual Founders Day will be highlighted in both song and remarks by noted alumnus and current New York State Supreme Court Justice, W. Franc Perry, III.  Justice Perry graduated from New England College in 1983 and later became the youngest member as well as the first African American to join the College’s Board of Trustees.  As part of his address, Justice Perry will sing a powerful and moving acapella version of the African American Anthem.


“Justice Perry embodies both the mission and the spirit of New England College,” says Michele Perkins, President of New England College.  “He is the ideal role model for our students in that he has achieved tremendous professional success, dedicated his life to public service, and continued to embrace the arts and humanities.  Franc is the true product of a liberal arts education and is a perfect example of a life well lived.  We are deeply honored that he continues to be engaged with New England College and we are thrilled to celebrate his return to Henniker as our Founders Day Speaker.  Our students and indeed our entire community look forward to hearing more about his personal and professional journey.”


New England College was recently recognized by Time Magazine as one of the top 25 institutions nationally for growth in diversity of its student body.  In 1990 NEC’s student population mirrored that of the State’s with 2% of its enrollment composed of students of color.  Today, that number is above 35% for its undergraduate population and growing steadily through strategic outreach efforts.  It is generally accepted that colleges with student populations made up of wide-ranging economic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds provide an educationally stimulating experience for students.  “We are proud to be a leader in our State and in our region for the richness of culture and experience our student body exemplifies,” continues President Perkins.


Franc Perry III attended George Washington University’s National Law Center and concentrated in International Law.  After receiving his Juris Doctor degree with Honors, Justice Perry worked as a medical malpractice defense attorney and was later appointed as a Principal Court Attorney to the Appellate Term, First Department of the State of New York.  In 2001 Justice Perry took a sabbatical leave to earn a Masters of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary where he concentrated in Church History and Homiletics.  After becoming an ordained Pastor, Justice Perry returned to law as a Principal Court Attorney for the Manhattan Civil Court and was elected as a Judge of the Civil Court of the State of New York where he presided over Custody, Visitation, and Family Offense Cases.  He was recently appointed Acting Supreme Court Justice of the State of New York.  Justice Perry has served on numerous boards and been a role model for the community.  On Founders Day he will be awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws.


The celebration of Founders Day was instituted to honor the vision and leadership of those who founded New England College.  Founded in 1946 to serve the educational needs of the country’s military men and women returning from World War II, New England College sought to expand the horizons of a new generation of students.  Today the College offers over 30 undergraduate programs, dozens of graduate and professional programs, and one doctorate program.  Nearly 35% of New England College’s incoming on-campus undergraduate class identify themselves as students of color.  The College also enjoys undergraduate enrollment that includes the highest percentage of African American students in the State.


Founders Day represents one of the three major academic events of the year that also includes Commencement in May and Convocation in September.  The ceremony is designed to acknowledge the many accomplishments of the College, its students, faculty, and staff over the past year and will be held in Bridges Gym on 14 Grove Street, Henniker.

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