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Deborah L. Birx, MD, to deliver keynote address at PSU commencement

PLYMOUTH — Deborah L. Birx, MD, former White House coronavirus response coordinator, will deliver the keynote address and be recognized by Plymouth State University  at its undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 8 at 10 a.m. Pamela Diamantis, principal and partner at Curbstone Financial Management Corporation and former trustee of the University System of New Hampshire, will be the featured speaker at PSU’s graduate Commencement on Friday, May 7, at 6 p.m. Both ceremonies will recognize graduates from the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Deborah Birx back to campus as we honor PSU graduates from last year and this year and celebrate their accomplishments,” said President Donald L. Birx, Ph.D. “Students from both classes have experienced a slew of challenges over the past 14 months, yet they have persevered with determination and grace. As someone who was at the forefront of the nation’s response to the pandemic, who provided sage advice to me throughout, and who encouraged our students to keep up their efforts to remain safe and healthy, Dr. Birx is a fitting speaker to help us mark this special milestone.”

Dr. Birx will address undergraduate students and will be honored by PSU with an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service for her service to the country during the HIV/AIDS epidemic and, most recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Birx is a world-renowned medical expert in clinical and basic immunology, infectious diseases, pandemic preparedness, vaccine research and global health. She has spent her career serving the nation, first as an Army Colonel, and later, running some of the most influential programs at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S Department of State. Most recently, Dr. Birx served as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, making recommendations to top officials based on complex data integration.

Dr. Birx is also the sister of PSU President Donald Birx.

Pamela Diamantis will address students who have earned graduate degrees and certificates from PSU. Diamantis will also be presented with the Granite State Award for her commitment to investing in her local community. Diamantis has been a principal and partner at Curbstone Financial Management Corporation since 2006. She previously served as the regional president for U.S. Trust Company, N.A. and is the former president of State Street Bank & Trust Company of New Hampshire. She is also a general partner at Impact New Hampshire Fund, an angel investor fund for women entrepreneurs, which she co-founded in 2016.

Diamantis is a native of Manchester, New Hampshire, and has been a dedicated volunteer in her community and served as Chair of the Board of USNH. 

“Pamela Diamantis is not only an accomplished professional, but a volunteer who has devoted her time and expertise to numerous New Hampshire non-profit organizations over the years. She truly embodies Plymouth State University’s motto, “Ut prosim — That I may serve,” said President Birx. “Pamela played a key role in PSU’s move to a new integrated form of education, PSU Clusters, which uniquiely positions our graduates for the 21st Century. As co-founder of the Impact New Hampshire Fund, an angel investor fund for women entrepreneurs, and as a judge for our annual entrepreneurial student competition, the Panther Pitch, Pamela demonstrates a passion for helping others succeed. We are honored to welcome her as this year’s graduate Commencement speaker.”

Nearly 2,100 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees will be awarded between PSU’s two commencement exercises, which will take place outdoors on Mary Lyon Lawn. Attendance will be limited to graduates, speakers and University officials, and both ceremonies will be live-streamed for family and friends.