WATERVILLE — Peter Vigue, the president of Pittsfield-based construction company Cianbro, has been chosen as the 2013 commencement speaker for Thomas College.

College President Laurie Lachance said the choice reflects Vigue’s embodiment of the college’s ideals and principles.

On May 11, Vigue will address a crowd including 160 graduates. He also will receive an honorary doctor of science degree in business administration.

Lachance said Vigue, who was born in Caribou and worked his way up in Cianbro after being hired in 1970  into an entry-level position, is representative of Thomas’ ideals.

“The work ethic, the can-do attitude and the integrity he has shown,” she said, are values that all college graduates should strive toward.

Vigue has been the main champion of the $2 billion proposal for a 220-mile, east-west toll road from the Calais area on the New Brunswick border to the Coburn Grove area on the Quebec border.

Lachance said Thomas has no official position on the east-west highway or on any political matter.

“There’s no implied position,” she said. “We’re talking about Peter Vigue as a businessman and a very inspirational one.”

Lachance pointed to the benefits that Vigue has brought to the state through large-scale projects that have stimulated the economy, as well as in his capacity as mayor of Pittsfield, chairman of the Maine Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Maine Economic Research Institute, among other positions.

“Business uses the end-product of education,” Vigue, who was not available for comment on Tuesday, said in a prepared statement. “We need to take a leadership role, provide the resources and define the expectations we have for our future employees.”

The commencement ceremony, the 119th for the college, will take place at 1 p.m. in the college’s Harold Alfond Athletic Center.

During the commencement activities, which will take place on May 10 and 11, there will be several other speakers.

• Alumnus Kelley Shimansky, a vice president for WEX, formerly Wright Express, will speak at 4:30 p.m. May 10 at the honors convocation in the Laurette Ayotte Auditorium. Shimansky is also a member of the college’s Board of Trustees.

• Alumnus John Brown, a medical sales professional and leadership coach, will speak to the graduating class at the commencement dinner, also on May 10.

• In addition, Waterville resident Dr. Kenneth Green, who served as chief anesthetist for MaineGeneral Medical Center for many years, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

Among the students, Steven Beane, of North Attleboro, Mass., will represent the day division as he graduates cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education; and Nate Marquis, of Fairfield, will represent the graduate division as he graduates with a master’s degree in business administration.

The three class marshals are Shelby Gilcott, of Norridgewock, who graduates magna cum laude with a major in general studies and a minor in sport management; Nathan Mitchell, of Gardiner, who is graduating magna cum laude with a major in psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology; and Owen Becker, of Rowley, Mass., who is graduating cum laude with a major in criminal justice and a minor in political science.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287
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