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Cote named commencement speaker

Honeywell CEO a ‘76 WSBE graduate

Staff Writer

Published: Friday, March 4, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02

David Cote

Courtesy

David Cote has been selected as UNH's 2011 Commencement speaker.

This May, Honeywell CEO David Cote will join the list of previous commencement speakers at UNH, such as Mike O'Malley, President Clinton and President Bush, Sr., at the 2011 graduation.

David Cote has a long history with executive and high leadership positions in a plethora of companies, including General Electric, where he served as vice president, president and CEO for GE Appliances, before accepting tenure.

Cote was selected from a variety of nominees that students requested through UNH's website, which also included many celebrities, like Bono and Stephen Colbert from The Colbert Report.

A lot of students want to nominate who they see on TV," explained Susan Entz, director of University Events and Programs. "That's typical year after year."

Entz is head of the Committee of Honorary Degrees and Granite State Awards, which reviews the nominees suggested by students.

Nominated speakers have to fulfill numerous requirements in the eyes of the committee when being reviewed as potential candidates for the commencement speaker.

The committee consists of 12 elected members and Entz, as well as Provost John Aber.

The committee includes representatives from each college, who are selected by that college's dean, as well as representatives from UNH Manchester, the UNH foundation and the Alumni Association. Each of these representatives serves a five-year term on the committee.

The student senate also chose one student representative from both the junior and senior classes of that year to be on the committee to represent the interests of the undergraduate student body. The Graduate Student Organization selects a graduate student to be on the committee as well. 

None of the committee's elected members were allowed to comment on the selection process or matters concerning the committee because of confidentiality agreements. However, Entz explained the selection process and noted that the student's perspectives were crucial.

"At the end of the day, they really help us make our decision," Entz said.

One of the reasons Cote was chosen was because of his commitment to philanthropy and his impact on global affairs.

This includes working with several other CEOs from major corporations to join in a relief effort mission for the Sichuan Province of China after earthquakes terrorized the land in May 2008.    

Cote serves on the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Policy Association, a position he was appointed to by President Obama.

Cote was also a UNH alumnus who graduated from WSBE in 1976.

Entz said the fact he was an alumnus was vital in his selection as commencement. While it is not a requirement to be a UNH alumnus in order to be chosen as a commencement speaker, Entz believes an alumnus offers a crucial insight that no other speaker can offer, and delivers a direct connection to students because he or she once stood where the students do.

"They look at him and say ‘that could be me,'" Entz said. "They want to know if there's hope that they can apply their education in way that they will be successful and do wonderful things in the world."

Provost John Aber said he was happy with Cote's selection.

"I do think he is a great choice and will be a very interesting speaker," Aber said.

President Mark Huddleston, who met Cote at a WSBE reunion in New York City this summer, was also pleased with the committee's choice.

"Mr. Cote exemplifies many of the characteristics that we embrace at UNH:  an entrepreneurial spirit, a global outlook, and a commitment to public service," Huddleston said.

David Cote was unable to be reached for comment. His commencement speech will take place at Memorial Field at 10:00 a.m. on May 21.   

    

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14 comments

Anonymous
Sun May 1 2011 19:42
David Cote is a controlling greedy man with no regard for your future or anyone's life for that matter.
This is apparent in his current irresponsible behavior as the CEO of the chemical plant Honeywell owns. It is
the ONLY plant in the nation that processes raw uranium for use in the nuclear power plants throughout the country.
Uranium I am sure you know, is a highly toxic material. The plant has known problems. Many of the current employees have cheated and sat in while others were being tested to pass the exam to work there.
Many were coached during the exams. since these events have taken place Mr. Cote has refused to admit
there are problems, although, since these people have been working there, several 'events's have taken place which cause the nearby communities to become fearful. Toxic accidents caused chemicals to be released into the air and into the Ohio River. Honeywell has downplayed each event.
Now, if you feel he is a good example of a corporate leader, we are in serious trouble. This man care about nothing other than how he can increase the company profits so his yearly bonus will increase.
Even the EPA and OSHA have documented issues. He was told many times by experienced employees of the dangers regarding storage of waste products several years ago. He ignored these people. Recently something was done about it and Honeywell was fined 12 million dollars. Instead if supporting the employee and praising hum for his safety concerns, that employee was told not to come back on Honeywell grounds.
Now, you can google this and find it all. Why has he not been thrown out? What if you or I would put thousands of people in danger with irresponsible use of nuclear materials? We would be in prison. But remember this is a billionaire who can and does, buy his way out of problems, or, simply ignors them until he is forced to correct them.
What a guy. Sad but true. U feel sorry for you all for being forced to listen to him. You should all walk out as he approaches the podium. Maybe then the media, that is afraid of him, will have to expose him for what he is. A sociopath.
Anonymous
Mon Mar 28 2011 13:58
Who can we get to inspire these college graduates, who are in debt and unsure of the stability of their futures?

Oh, a billionaire. Sweet.

Anonymous
Wed Mar 9 2011 11:03
Want to read some more about what a great guy Cote is? Read about how he locked out 230 nuclear workers in Metropolis, Illinois. www.usw7-669.com
Also, follow these workers on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/honeywelllockout
Anonymous
Mon Mar 7 2011 13:01
I know the type of person you are Graduating 2011. I went to school with one of you while I was at UNH. You claim that everyone is a follower and label them morons, as do I, for believing every trend is the greatest thing in the world. However, the difference between you and I is that you rebel against anything that could possibly result in someone being richer than you. You see corporate execs as pigs, whether they have contributed to society or not. You see actors, musicians and such as cool because they tell everyone that they do good things for the world. Heck, I bet you even take the side of the democratic party because to you republicans are probably a bunch of fat white old men...So don't think for one minute that I am jealous of you...but I digress.

There probably could have been a hundred different choices for speakers (I hope Dirk Diggler mentioned Sheen as a joke) who would have been better speakers but the fact that Cote has followed his dreams and goals makes him a good choice. All he needs to do is give a speech on setting ideal situations in life and following them through and he will be golden. In fact, why not find some old man or woman who has reached a big goal in their life. I don't think it should have to be someone famous, everyday people you meet may have just as helpful words of wisdom as do billionaires and celebrities!

Dirk Diggler
Sun Mar 6 2011 14:16
Come on; yeah sure he has worked his way up the corporate ladder and knows it in and out, but what, you think he is going to divulge the secret to becoming a millionaire in a 20 minute commencement speech?!? You don't learn anything from a commencement speaker, they are supposed to make you feel better about not raging 24/7 anymore. Charlie Sheen, he would be a winning commencement speaker.
Graduating 2011
Sun Mar 6 2011 10:33
"Are you kidding me?!? Not inspiring??? Bonuses aside, he's made an unbelievable amount of money doing what he went to school for...running a business. He worked his way up to the top of how many companies??? He knows his stuff and has devoted his entire life to it. If that doesn't inspire a good work ethic among those just joining the workforce, tell me...what does? Although he has made some bad choices in his career no doubt, he should demand respect for the enormous achievements he has made. Nice try though... "

Nice try for what? Being condescending really won't strengthen what you have to say... That aside, no he isn't inspiring to me because I'm not a business major. I don't find being a rich corporate executive to be any sort of position worthy of any respect. He also doesn't stand as any prime example of someone with outstanding work ethic... I know nothing of the man. When UNH gets people like Mike O' Malley, we as students can connect with him. When David Cote speaks at my graduation, I'll be vigorously checking my watch waiting for him to wrap it up.

"You're real funny "Disgusted" but you are the transparent one here. Could you be any more obvious in revealing how jealous of Cote's success you are???"

Imbecile, you are. Being critical of someone automatically implies jealousy? What are you in some corporation's pocket yourself or something?

Anonymous
Sat Mar 5 2011 10:43
"As a member of the class of 2011 I must express my profound disappointment in having a rich, corporate exec speak to me as a young graduate. He's not what I would call 'inspiring' and I could not relate to this man whatsoever. I'm sure he's a nice guy, but there's not a dime of respect or connection to this man found here."

Are you kidding me?!? Not inspiring??? Bonuses aside, he's made an unbelievable amount of money doing what he went to school for...running a business. He worked his way up to the top of how many companies??? He knows his stuff and has devoted his entire life to it. If that doesn't inspire a good work ethic among those just joining the workforce, tell me...what does? Although he has made some bad choices in his career no doubt, he should demand respect for the enormous achievements he has made. Nice try though...

Anonymous
Sat Mar 5 2011 10:37
You're real funny "Disgusted" but you are the transparent one here. Could you be any more obvious in revealing how jealous of Cote's success you are??? No, the bonuses were not right and I'm also against the highly excessive salaries some CEO's make, but when it comes to the business world, you can't ridicule him for being an executive. This man knows his stuff and he has put his life into his work. People across the country do it every day and some make it to the tops of big companies like this while others are just as happy staying in a smaller setting. He is obviously an intelligent and well educated man who made some bad choices but some good ones too. He's straightening himself out again and you can't be critical of that.
Anonymous
Sat Mar 5 2011 10:31
Curious that the article doesn't mention Cote's position on the Board of J. P. Morgan Chase (that of a $25 Billion bailout from the Federal government). And what did J. P. Morgan Chase do with the money it got from taxpayers? Lend it out to small businesses, homeowners, entrepreneurs, to stimulate the economy? Noooooo! Turned around to expand and consolidate its own financial power by buying up other companies, banks, and securities.

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/25/business/25nocera.html?_r=4&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin.

Cote will probably get an honorary degree, but I don't see what's honorable about what J.P. Morgan Chase did.

Graduating 2011
Fri Mar 4 2011 21:50
"Haha, this is what the money that generous donors like Cote give is going to, to teach people like the ignorant student above to hate capitalism and business?"

The only ignorance being shown is yours, kind individual. "Generous donors"? Jesus, I feel nauseas just reading this bollocks. Just because people don't want a big corporate head speaking to 2011 graduates they immediately "hate" capitalism? Ludicrous, I am offended by your arrogance.

As a member of the class of 2011 I must express my profound disappointment in having a rich, corporate exec speak to me as a young graduate. He's not what I would call 'inspiring' and I could not relate to this man whatsoever. I'm sure he's a nice guy, but there's not a dime of respect or connection to this man found here.

Anonymous
Fri Mar 4 2011 16:12
I did not see them mention in this article that during the midwest ice storm of 2009 Dave Cote did nothing to help employees in need some who went with out power for over a month and actually gave employees attendance demerits for missing work when they couldn't get out their front door, much less their driveways. It also does not mention that Cote has had 230 working men and women locked out of the nations only uranium conversion plant for over 8 months despite their willingness to go to work. See you in may Dave;)
Anonymous
Fri Mar 4 2011 12:32
More opinion here: http://storify.com/tgounley/how-unh-students-and-others-reacted-to-the-announc?awesm=sfy.co_1eS&utm_campaign=tgounley&utm_content=storify-pingback&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter&utm_source=direct-sfy.co
Anonymous
Fri Mar 4 2011 10:15
Haha, this is what the money that generous donors like Cote give is going to, to teach people like the ignorant student above to hate capitalism and business?
Disgusted
Fri Mar 4 2011 08:08
Oh Surprise Surprise, yet another fat-cat corporate executive chosen as commencement speaker. Could the venality of the UNH administration be any more transparent? While the economy was tanking and while people all over NH were losing homes and jobs, Cote pulled down a $17.5 Million BONUS in 2008! Why not simply run an auction next year and give the job to the highest bidder. Commencement for Sale! Hey, maybe we'll be able to get the Koch brothers!




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