Elizabeth Dragon


One of Keene’s top officials is headed to a three-week government leadership program, thanks to an award from a statewide organization.

City Manager Elizabeth A. Dragon is this year’s recipient of the Caroline and Martin Gross Fellowship, according to a news release from the N.H. Charitable Foundation.

The award honors an elected or appointed official in New Hampshire “who demonstrates leadership ability and the highest standards of performance in public service,” the foundation said.

With the fellowship, Dragon will attend a three-week program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass.

The program — Senior Executives in State and Local Government — runs from July 8 through July 26 and attracts mayors, senators, governors, police and fire chiefs, and leaders of nonprofit organizations that interact with governments.

In the release, Dragon noted several projects Keene has in the works right now, including efforts to reduce the city’s carbon footprint and to develop a downtown arts and culture corridor. She said she’s excited to talk to other government leaders, adding there’s “huge potential to be creative and collaborative right now.”

Now in its 25th year, the fellowship was established in memory of former House Majority Leader Caroline Gross and Concord Mayor Martin Gross to honor dedication to public service, the release says. The N.H. Charitable Foundation awards the fellowship annually.

Past fellows include former deputy attorney general Orville “Bud” Fitch, Speaker of the N.H. House Stephen Shurtleff, former tax commissioner John Beardmore and longtime state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro.

Dragon has been Keene’s city manager since September 2017. She has also served as city manager in Franklin, town manager in Bristol and town administrator in Plymouth.