Keene State College has restored prayer to Saturday's graduation ceremony after a week of criticism from Gov. Judd Gregg.

The ceremony will include an ecumenical invocation and benediction led by a student and a faculty member, said college spokesman Ronald Paradis.But the school held firm on moving a religious service traditionally held on campus the night before graduation to an off-campus church.

Gregg had harshly criticized the school's decision to drop prayer from commencement and to move the service scheduled for tonight off campus.

On May 1, the governor called for the firing of the school's president, Judith Sturnick, accused school officials of rejecting God and said university system trustees were "weak-kneed." The change had been made in response to complaints from former Keene State professor Arpad Toth, a member of the group American Atheists.

Toth argued that tax money shouldn't be used for religious purposes.

On Wednesday, Gregg said his call for Sturnick's dismissal was too severe.

"I guess in retrospect that might have been a bit much," he said, calling it a "hyperbole of the moment."

Sturnick said last week that Gregg misunderstood the college's actions. She said the change to an off-campus ceremony had been designed to clarify "an appropriate legal separation between church and state."