For Immediate Release
September 17, 2018

Contact: College Planning & Community Engagement
(603) 227-6612
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Christiana Thornton Named President and CEO Elect of The NHHEAF Network Organizations

Concord, N.H. — On Wednesday, October 3, Christiana Thornton of Pembroke, NH will join The NHHEAF Network Organizations as President and Chief Executive Officer-elect, and will assume the Organizations’ leadership upon the retirement of current Organizations’ President & CEO René A. Drouin in February 2019. Ms. Thornton, currently the President & CEO of the New Hampshire Bankers Association (NHBA), will become the fourth president of The NHHEAF Network Organizations.

The NHHEAF Network Organizations are comprised of three active 501(c)(3) nonprofit agencies - New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF), Granite State Management & Resources (GSM&R), and New Hampshire Higher Education Loan Corporation (NHHELCO).

"With Christiana’s extensive experience directing the activities of the NHBA and its associated entities, as well as her legislative background, we are confident Christiana will continue to guide the Organizations as the organization continues to support New Hampshire students pursuing higher education," said Cornelius Joyce, Chairman of Granite State Management & Resources Board of Trustees. "On behalf of our employees, we welcome her to the Organizations."

Ms. Thornton has served in her current capacity at the NHBA since 2011. Prior to joining the NHBA in 2008, Ms. Thornton served as a legislative aide to former United States Senator John E. Sununu, with work in the areas of education, finance, healthcare, and community development. She is a graduate of Rollins College.

"I am pleased for this opportunity to join the dedicated team at The NHHEAF Network Organizations. As a first-generation college student from New Hampshire, I appreciate the challenges our students and their families face as they pursue higher education," stated Ms. Thornton. "The services provided by the Organizations for over 55 years are critical to our state’s students as they aspire to further their academic dreams. I look forward to working with our employees to further our mission of helping New Hampshire families plan and pay for college."

Mr. Drouin, President & CEO since July 1997, began his work with the Organizations in December 1978. "A passionate and effective advocate for the Organizations in state and national government, René has enabled The NHHEAF Network Organizations to thrive and distinguish themselves in fulfilling our mission and to assure quality service to educational and financial institutions who support our mission," said Mr. Joyce.

During his years of service to the Organizations, Mr. Drouin has also served the Chairman of the Program Operations Committee of the National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs in Washington, D.C. and served as Chairman of the Board of the National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs in 1999 - 2000. In October of 2003, Mr. Drouin received a Congressional appointment to the United States Department of Education’s Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance for a three-year term and was reappointed for an additional three-year term in July 2006. In addition, Mr. Drouin was named Business Leader of the Year in 2007 as part of the Concord (NH) Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Pinnacle Awards.