CONCORD, NH (PRESS RELEASE) – Terence Pfaff, chief of staff for the New Hampshire House of Representatives, has been named the 2017 recipient of the Caroline and Martin Gross Fellowship. The fellowship was established in memory of the late House Majority Leader Caroline Gross and the late Concord mayor Martin Gross to honor dedication to public service. It is awarded annually by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
Foundation President Richard Ober and 2015 fellowship recipient and state representative Stephen Shurtleff presented the fellowship award on Thursday, May 4, in a ceremony at the Statehouse.
The fellowship enables a New Hampshire public servant to attend the three-week Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
“This fellowship honors two truly great public servants and has helped to strengthen a whole generation of civic leaders for New Hampshire,” Ober said.
The fellowship, now in its 22nd year, honors an extraordinary elected or appointed official in New Hampshire state or local government who demonstrates leadership ability and the highest standards of performance in public service.
Pfaff has served as the chief of staff of the New Hampshire House of Representatives since 2014, and also held that post from 2001-2004. The chief of staff is appointed by the speaker of the house and manages 12 administrative divisions with 54 employees serving 400 elected officials. He manages policy administration for the speaker and daily operations of the House of Representatives.
Pfaff is a retired Manchester firefighter who represented Hooksett in the New Hampshire House for four terms.
As chief of staff for the House of Representatives, Pfaff said, “it is my job to help the speaker build consensus on things.” In a political climate that is increasingly polarized worldwide, Pfaff hopes that he can learn from other program attendees – who come to Harvard from all over the country and the world – about how they have built consensus. “It’s a unique time to be in the Kennedy School to see what other people are using as tools to bring people together,” he said. “That’s going to lend itself to helping me be a better chief of staff.”
As a freshman representative, Pfaff was mentored by Caroline Gross – making it particularly meaningful to him to receive the fellowship in her name. She taught him, he said, “to go forward with passion but with a pace and a measured approach.” He also learned, he said, to emulate Gross’s respect for her colleagues. “You are all colleagues, you are not just one party or another,” he said. “Even if you disagree on one particular vote, you can agree on the next issue.”
Caroline L. Gross was a New Hampshire native who devoted her adult life to public service, serving in numerous capacities in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, the Governor’s office, and as a state representative from Concord. In 1989, she was appointed House Majority Leader, a position she held until her death in 1993. Her husband, Martin Gross, along with friends, family and colleagues, established a fund at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to provide permanent funding for the Caroline L. Gross Fellowship. When Martin Gross passed away in 2016, the fellowship was renamed the Caroline and Martin Gross Fellowship. Martin Gross’ wife, Deirdre Sheerr-Gross, made a generous gift to the fund to sustain the fellowship.
Previous fellowship recipients include: George Bald, John Beardmore, Gina Belmont, Philip Bryce, Joan Callahan, Christopher Clement, Lou D’Allesandro, Sylvio Dupuis, Orville “Bud” Fitch, David Hess, Jason Hoch, Beverly Hollingworth, Tricia Lucas, Tina Nadeau, Marilee Nihan, Merelise O’Connor, Catherine Provencher, Alan Robichaud, Todd Selig, Kathleen Sgambati, Stephen Shurtleff, Mary Beth Walz and Craig Welch.
About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is New Hampshire’s statewide community foundation, founded in 1962 by and for the people of New Hampshire. The Foundation manages a growing collection of more than 1,800 funds created by generous individuals, families and businesses, and awards nearly $40 million in grants and scholarships every year. The Foundation works with generous and visionary citizens to maximize the power of their giving, supports great work happening in our communities and leads and collaborates on high-impact initiatives. For more information, please visit www.nhcf.org or call 603-225-6641.