Sylvio Dupuis has led Manchester, CMC
"We bought the time, but that never became a public story," he said.
Those twin roles - public servant and cultural ambassador - have earned him one of this year's Granite State Legacy Awards, presented by the New Hampshire Union Leader and sponsored by Centrix Bank.
"I think Syl has been a singular force in the community and is someone any number of institutions can call on him if they need help," said Zachos, who served together with Dupuis on a few nonprofit boards, including the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. "He's always willing to help you."
"It was like getting a Ph.D. without getting a Ph.D. because no optometrist that I know of ever would have been asked to be president of Catholic Medical Center," Dupuis said. "Not because he was an optometrist, but because they wouldn't think he had the background. No optometrist would have been picked out of his practice on Hevey Street to be the commissioner of Health and Human Services or to be the insurance commissioner."
In 1971, Dupuis won his first term by 264 votes and secured reelection with 89 percent of the vote.
"They really needed, I called it sort of glue, is you needed someone who would be outside in the community and who knew all the different communities and could be more the ambassador of why this was a good thing and why it would be good for the city," Dupuis said.
Even at age 79 (today is his birthday), Dupuis leads a busy life. One recent day he attended breakfast and lunch meetings, a newspaper interview and a late-afternoon board meeting involving the Palace Theatre. He remains involved in the state's health care matters, among other things advising the president of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, which has a Manchester campus.
"It's an honor shared with every organization that you've worked with because it isn't the president that does it. He may direct or he may lead, but when you are successful, it's because when you look over your shoulder, there are 10 or 20 or 100 or sometimes at the state 3,000 people who are working to carry out the mission," Dupuis said.