New Hampshire Higher Education Advocates Honored for Excellence:
Senator Lou D’Allesandro and Robin DeRosa, Director of Learning and Libraries, Plymouth State University

Concord, NH – The New England Board of Higher Education awarded two Excellence Awards on May 15 at the New Hampshire Legislative Office Building State House, recognizing Senator Lou D’Allesandro, now in his 12th term in the New Hampshire State Senate, and Robin DeRosa, PhD, the head of learning and libraries at Plymouth State University.

Senator Lou D’Allesandro

L-R: Pat D’Allesandro, Sen. Lou D’Allesandro (D-NH), DEINDE Consulting President Thomas R. Horgan, Sen. David Watters (D-NH)

Representing District 20, which includes Manchester Wards 3, 4, 10, and 11 and the Town of Goffstown, D’Allesandro is a lifelong educator, passionate about improving access to higher education.

He recently completed nearly two decades of service as an appointee to the New England Board of Higher Education, a regional congressionally authorized compact founded in 1955 by six New England governors to promote greater opportunities in higher education for New England students. He has served as Chair and Vice-chair of this organization.

D’Allesandro is a vocal advocate for the Regional Student Program coordinated by the New England Board of Higher Education, which enables students across New England to attend a college or university in another New England state at in-state tuition rates if they are pursuing a program not offered at their own state’s educational institutions.

In 2019, Senator D’Allesandro served as national chair of the Council of State Governments, chosen for this role by his colleagues from around the country and Canada. He is the subject of the book Lou D’Allesandro: Lion of the New Hampshire Senate — Thoughts for Presidential Hopefuls by Mark Bodanza.

“Senator D’Allesandro’s long career in public life and education is an object lesson in how much a dedicated legislator can do to create lasting benefits for students and higher education institutions in New Hampshire and across the region,” said Michael Thomas, President and CEO, New England Board of Higher Education. “Senator D’Allesandro’s unwavering support of students has benefited many thousands of accomplished graduates who are now contributing to their communities.”

Robin DeRosa

L-R: NEBHE President & CEO Michael Thomas, Robin DeRosa, Community College System of New Hampshire Chancellor Mark Rubinstein

DeRosa is Director of Learning and Libraries at Plymouth State University and the recipient of the 2020 Excellence Award, which was delayed due to the pandemic.

She was an English professor for fifteen years at Plymouth State University, authoring a book on the Salem witch trials and numerous scholarly articles on American history, literature, and literary theory,
before moving into the field of Interdisciplinary Studies and developing a radically student-centered pedagogy for Plymouth State’s customized major program, which increased enrollments in the program sevenfold.

She founded the Open Learning and Teaching Collaborative, a professional development center that helps Plymouth State faculty innovate in their teaching and create more engaging and inclusive learning environments.

Now as Director of Lamson Learning Commons, she helps sustain an integrated and responsive learning community that centers student needs. DeRosa is also one of the founders of the New Hampshire Open Education Consortium, a group of colleges and universities that are committed to driving down the costs of books and learning materials for New Hampshire students.

A fierce advocate for educational equity and public architectures for learning, DeRosa has consulted at hundreds of institutions across the United States Canada, Europe, and Africa, helping to build a more accessible, imaginative, and hopeful future for higher education.

“This award recognizes Dr. DeRosa’s significant contributions to the Open Educational movement,” said Thomas. “Her work is vitally important to make higher education more accessible, affordable, and impactful, and to address equity in higher education. She is a national leader in supporting the growth of Open Education and in cultivating a new generation of leaders.”