Photo caption: Tom Raffio and his wife Ellen. Tom will be honored October 1 with the Walter R. Peterson Award for Education and Public Service from the Community College System of New Hampshire. (Photo courtesy of Northeast Delta Dental)

Community College System of NH to Honor Tom Raffio with the Walter Peterson Award

Concord, N.H. (June 27, 2024) – The Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) will honor Tom Raffio, with the Walter R. Peterson Award for Education and Public Service. Raffio, a respected business and civic leader, will be recognized on October 1 on the campus of NHTI – Concord’s Community College. The Walter R. Peterson Award for Education and Public Service is presented to an individual whose contributions best exemplify the values of public service and dedication to higher education.

“Throughout his career, Tom has been singularly focused on how he can help build community across New Hampshire, and selfless in dedicating his talent and energy to improving the lives of others,” said Mark Rubinstein, CCSNH Chancellor. “He lifts people up, he cares about the Granite State, and is determined to help others succeed. Tom strongly supports our students and the work of our colleges on many levels, and his values around education and public service align with those demonstrated through the life and work of Governor Peterson.”

Raffio is the president and CEO of Northeast Delta Dental, a not-for-profit dental insurance company serving New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. Under his leadership, the organization spearheaded the creation of the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation, which supports oral health programs in northern New England.

As an engaged civic leader, Raffio is recognized for providing innovative leadership to several local non-profit and community organizations. His volunteer and board service covers a broad range of causes, including the New Hampshire Coalition for Business and Education, the Arthritis Leadership Council of Northern New England, Early Learning NH, and the New Hampshire Business Committee for the Arts. He is also an active Big Brother for Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Hampshire. These organizations represent only a partial list of his philanthropic endeavors.

“Tom’s philanthropic impact spans the state, across all communities and nonprofits, and our Foundation is no exception,” said Tim Allison, executive director of The Foundation for NH Community Colleges. “His dedication to supporting worthy causes personally and in his role with Northeast Delta Dental has directly impacted thousands of New Hampshire citizens. We are lucky to have his leadership and passion at all levels.”

Northeast Delta Dental, under Tom’s leadership, has been a steadfast supporter of New Hampshire’s community colleges, with corporate support that has exceeded $1.5 million over the years. Tom and his wife, Ellen, have also made significant personal commitments to NHTI Athletics that have helped student-athletes compete nationally and in the classroom. He has also spearheaded significant investments in NHTI’s dental hygiene program to address the demand for and shortage of dental hygienists and dental assistants in New Hampshire and across the region.

The Walter R. Peterson Award recognizes individuals who reflect the late governor’s values, his legacy of public service and his commitment to higher education. Peterson served as New Hampshire’s governor from 1969 to 1973 and remained a strong supporter of higher education throughout his life, including as a trustee of CCSNH. Past recipients of this award include former Governors John Lynch and Jeanne Shaheen, Barbara Couch of Hypertherm, Alex Ray of The Common Man, Paul Holloway of Holloway Motors, and technology entrepreneur Jeremy Hitchcock.

Business, civic and political leaders will join the CCSNH family of colleges to honor and recognize Raffio on October 1 at NHTI – Concord’s Community College. Additional details and invitations will be shared later this summer. If you have questions about the event, please contact the Foundation directly via the website, by clicking the Contact Us link on the main page.

The Walter R. Peterson Award is presented through The Foundation for New Hampshire Community Colleges. The Foundation provides greater access to educational opportunities through financial assistance for student scholarships, program development, and enhancements to facilities across New Hampshire’s seven community colleges and actively seeks contributions from public and private sources to create scholarships and program partnerships that prepare students for in-demand, skilled jobs to meet the needs in the workforce.