More than 10,800 family members, friends and colleagues filled Harold Alfond Sports Arena May 9 for the two ceremonies of the 213th Commencement at the University of Maine.
An estimated 1,687 undergraduate and graduate students participated in Commencement, one of the largest graduation events in the state. This year’s Commencement is part of UMaine’s 150th anniversary celebration.
Commencement speaker M. Peter McPherson, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, told members of the Class of 2015 that they are now part of UMaine’s 150-year legacy — and have a role to play.
“This institution’s work and commitment to bettering Maine are found in its students and in every corner of the state,” McPherson said. “The University of Maine is committed to its public purpose of seeking new knowledge, and helping to solve problems throughout Maine and beyond.”
The University of Maine has lived up to the vision of the Morrill Act, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, to enable every state to have a land grant college with a statewide mission of teaching, research and public service, McPherson said.
“This land grant, sea grant and flagship university will continue to change, but it also will continue to be more than the sum of its parts,” McPherson said. “No other institution in Maine is in position to play the same leadership role in academic, research and engagement within the system and for the whole state.”
UMaine’s land grant mission is “at the center of its being” and imparts an obligation on its graduates to be “constantly working to make a more fair, just and prosperous world.”
“Being from a land grant institution, particularly one as notable as the University of Maine, means that you have an obligation to carry that land grant status with you — and as part of you — for the rest of your life,” said McPherson.
“The University of Maine sweatshirt you now have should not just be a sign of where you’re from, but where you’re going,” McPherson said.
The morning Commencement ceremony included the College of Education and Human Development, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Division of Lifelong Learning, and the Maine Business School. The afternoon ceremony includes the College of Engineering, and the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.
Honorary doctorates were awarded to McPherson, and alumni Dana Connors of Gray, Maine, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, and Dennis Rezendes of Boulder, Colorado, who pioneered the hospice program in the United States.
This year’s valedictorian is Gwendolyn Beacham of Farmington, Maine, a biochemistry major and honors student. The salutatorian is Katelyn Massey of Waterville, Maine, a psychology major with a concentration in development and a minor in communication sciences and disorders, and a member of the UMaine women’s ice hockey team.
Also honored were four faculty members in civil engineering, philosophy, history and communication who received UMaine’s highest awards:
The 2015 Distinguished Maine Professor is Bill Davids, the John C. Bridge Professor of Civil Engineering. The annual award is presented by the University of Maine Alumni Association in recognition of outstanding achievement in UMaine’s statewide mission of teaching, research and economic development, and community engagement.
Kirsten Jacobson, associate professor of philosophy, is the 2015 Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award winner; Richard Judd, Col. James C. McBride Distinguished Professor of History, the 2015 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award; and Laura Lindenfeld, director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and associate professor of communication, the 2015 Presidential Public Service Achievement Award.ads reminded of their role in carrying the land grant mission forward.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
Nathan Rockwood, a second-year economics major at the University of Maine, started his college career while he was a student at Ellsworth High School.
The University of Maine Academ-e, the first early college distance education program in Maine, allowed Rockwood to take three courses for university credit before he finished high school.
The online program is open to Maine high school juniors and seniors who are nominated by principals, guidance counselors and teachers. All Maine high schools are eligible to have students enroll in Academ-e on a first-come, first-served basis.
Academ-e consists of courses representing mathematics, sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences.
Through Academ-e, Rockwood took Principles of Microeconomics taught by economics professor Caroline Noblet; American Government with political science professor Richard Powell; and Introduction to World Politics with G. Paul Holman, adjunct professor of political science and Libra Professor of International Affairs.
What was your favorite course and why?
My favorite was Introduction to World Politics. It really gave me a great knowledge base for why certain world events occur, as well as a greater urge to get involved in world politics once I graduate and finish my schooling.
How did you benefit from Academ-e?
Academ-e allowed me to work at my own pace and set my work ethic. Of course, Academ-e wasn’t the only class that prepared me for college. My Advanced Placement U.S. history class also helped establish work ethic, allowing me to complete homework assignments and study properly for exams.
How would your college experience be different if it weren’t for Academ-e?
I don’t think I would have adjusted as quickly to the intensity of the college workload if I had not taken Academ-e.
Would you recommend this program?
I would absolutely recommend the Academ-e program. I would recommend the program to any high schooler — be they junior or senior — who wants to find out what they want to do in college or at least get some general education credits or preparation for college before they enter.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I would like to use my economics degree to get involved in government. Some graduate school could be in the cards as well to insure that my job placement is firmed up a little more. If I could go to graduate school, I would get an international affairs or political science degree.
The Bangor Daily News published a report about Carol Kim, vice president for research and dean of the graduate school at the University of Maine, testifying before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. Kim spoke about UMaine’s multidisciplinary initiatives focused on helping elders to age and thrive in place. A lot of UMaine’s aging research focuses on helping to prevent seniors from falling and helping to mitigate injury upon a fall, according to the report. Kim testified at the hearing titled “Aging in Place: Can Advancements in Technology Help Seniors Live Independently?” at U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ request, the article states. MobiHealthNews also reported on the hearing.
Members of the University of Maine community spoke with WABI (Channel 5) about their time at the University of Maine and the university’s 150-year legacy ahead of Commencement. Katherine Musgrave, who taught nutrition at UMaine from 1969 until last year, spoke about what campus looked like when she first arrived. “When we walked across the campus at the University of Maine for the first time and I saw those stately brick buildings, well arranged but very sedate, there was nothing glitzy at all,” she said. “I immediately fell in love with it.” Senior Peter Violette spoke about the community’s friendliness. “The campus is really accepting and inviting, and you can really go and talk to anybody you wanted to and strike up a conversation,” he said. University of Maine College of Engineering Dean Dana Humphrey spoke about the univeristy in relation to its 150th anniversary. “To be able to look up and see Fogler Library on one end and Memorial Gymnasium on the other; that’s an image of the University of Maine I think will remain for the next 150 years, and that’s exactly as it should be,” he said.
The Bangor Daily News published a feature on University of Maine senior Luke Morrill. Morrill is a South Thomaston native and member of the UMaine baseball team. He graduates Saturday with a degree in business management after a year juggling school, baseball and fatherhood. Morrill has a 10-month-old son with his fiancee Bri Hammond, who completed her degree in child development last semester and works as part of UMaine’s student-athlete academic support staff, according to the article. Morrill took three summer classes a year ago to make sure he would graduate in four years, which he calls his biggest accomplishment at UMaine, the article states. Coach Steve Trimper said Morrill has demonstrated considerable personal growth and improved baseball skills while at UMaine. “Luke has matured and grown up in four years,” Trimper said. “He’s one of those guys that if he’s made a mistake, he’s learned, and it’s made him a better person.”
The Portland Press Herald reported the University of Maine will present an honorary doctorate degree to alumni Dana Connors of Gray, Maine, during the 213th Commencement. Connors is the longtime president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and serves on the boards of the Maine Economic Research Institute, the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership and Maine & Co., according to the article.
University of Maine graduate student and Fort Kent native Lisa Lavoie’s master’s thesis on her borderland community was the focus of a Bangor Daily News column titled “French, family connections endure in Valley despite changes at border crossing.” Lavoie’s thesis, which she defended in April, looks at changes along the Fort Kent-Clair border since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “Since 9/11, the people living in the Fort Kent-Clair borderlands have experienced a sea change in their habitual and casual border crossing,” Lavoie wrote. “The United States transformed a border that had been essentially a non-entity for 200 years into a barrier as a response to real or perceived threats to the country after 9/11.” Lavoie enrolled at UMaine in a master’s degree program in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in Maine studies, according to the article. “The opportunity [distance learning] presents for those of us in the north country is amazing,” she said.
The Castine Patriot reported on a guide that shows communities how to start a wood bank that was written by Sabrina Vivian, a senior in the Ecology and Environmental Sciences Program who grew up in Surry and Blue Hill, and Jessica Leahy, an associate professor of human dimensions of natural resources in the School of Forest Resources. “A Community Guide to Starting & Running a Wood Bank” provides guidance for establishing a wood bank, as well as topics to be considered, including types of wood banks, location, legalities, security, eligibility, firewood sources, volunteers, processing, distribution and equipment. Wood banks are similar to food pantries, but instead of providing food for those in need, they provide firewood at little to no cost for those who rely on wood to heat their homes.
The Cape Cod Times and CapeNews.net reported the Maine Steiners, the University of Maine’s oldest a cappella group, will perform in A Cappella Fest at Falmouth High School in Falmouth, Massachusetts on May 14. The group is scheduled to perform with the high school’s Soulfege and the Bluestockings from Amherst College, according to the reports. The Steiners have performed in Falmouth two times in the past three years, including at last year’s A Cappella Fest, according to CapeNews.net. The group has recorded several CDs, with the most recent release being last spring. They perform mostly in the barbershop tradition, the article states.
Tips from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension were included in the Farm Dairy article, “How to plant a square foot garden.” The report cited the UMaine Extension bulletin “Gardening in Small Spaces,” which offers suggestions on how many plants to put in each square and how to protect square foot gardens from pests, the sun and frost. UMaine Extension suggests using bent metal hangers to support garden fabric as a shield from the sun, chicken wire or netting to keep wildlife away, and adding a row cover supported with bent metal hangers to extend the growing season, according to the article.
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine news release about the Black Bear Beauties Plant Sale that will be held in the Roger Clapp Greenhouses from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 16–17. Students and faculty in UMaine’s Environmental Horticulture and Sustainable Agriculture programs grow the plants that are sold at the sale. Proceeds fund Grower of the Year scholarships for the best student growers in the programs. The sale will feature tomatoes, peppers, herbs, annuals and a limited number of woody plants.
The University of Maine is one of nine arts groups in the state that will receive nearly $900,000 in federal money through the National Endowment for the Arts, according to the Portland Press Herald. UMaine was awarded $25,000 for a traveling exhibit on fiber folk arts, which is led by Maine Folklife Center Director Pauleena MacDougall. Maine Fiber Folk Arts will consist of four free-standing panels with photographs and text describing a traditional fiber art from the state. The content will come from fieldwork and the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History. The panels will travel around the state through the interlibrary loan system. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree announced the funding at a grants workshop in Augusta with staff from the NEA, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, according to the article.
Jim Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WLBZ (Channel 2) about the arrival of ticks now that the weather is beginning to warm up. Despite the cold weather in winter, ticks are able to survive throughout the year, according to the report. “When you get a long winter like we had, everybody’s going, ‘Oh yeah, it was really really cold this winter, is that going to take care of the ticks?’ Unfortunately, they’re under about two or three feet of snow so they’ve not been active because it never got above 40 degrees,” Dill said, adding the snow can act like a blanket, insulating the ticks from the cold. He said summer offers the best chance of killing off some of the pests. “Moisture’s very important to ticks, especially during the summer months,” he said. “If we have a long dry summer a lot of times that can actually really impact their numbers.”
The University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (CCAR) in Franklin was mentioned in an Ellsworth American article about Sea & Reef Aquaculture, a company housed in the facility. Sea & Reef provides aquacultured tropical marine fishes to the saltwater aquarium trade. The company’s owner Soren Hansen is a native of Denmark who earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. in marine biology at UMaine, according to the article. He currently is raising 50 species of saltwater tropical fish at CCAR.
Engineering News-Record mentioned the University of Maine in an article about the world’s first composite floating bridge in Brookfield, Vermont. The 318-by-20 feet, single-lane bridge employs a fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) flotation system with a 100-year design life, according to the article. The $2.4 million bridge is set to be completed by Memorial Day weekend. Since design codes for FRP bridges do not exist, the team worked with UMaine and the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) to develop a set of criteria, the article states.
The Bangor Daily News reported the University of Maine and Maine Army National Guard held a ceremony outside Nutting Hall to mark the ninth anniversary of the death of Maine Army National Guard Staff Sgt. David Veverka. Veverka, a UMaine senior from Pennsylvania, and Staff Sgt. Dale Kelly Jr., 48, of Richmond were killed in an attack on May 6, 2006, in Iraq, according to the article. The event was the eighth annual ceremony held at the memorial tree, stone and bench outside the building where Veverka studied, the article states. Daniel Harrison, a wildlife ecology professor at UMaine, spoke about Veverka and said part of his legacy is a scholarship that allows students to attend conferences and workshops. While at UMaine, Veverka was president of the student chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology, vice president of The Wildlife Society’s student chapter, a National Science Foundation teaching fellow and a recipient of a College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture undergraduate research grant, according to the article. The university awarded him a posthumous bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology in 2006.
The Black Bear Beauties Plant Sale will be held in the Roger Clapp Greenhouses on campus from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 16–17.
Students and faculty in UMaine’s Environmental Horticulture and Sustainable Agriculture programs grow the plants that are sold at the sale. Proceeds from the sale fund Grower of the Year scholarships for the best student growers in the programs.
The sale will feature tomatoes, peppers, herbs, annuals and a limited number of woody plants.
For more information, contact Stephanie Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 581.2837.
The University of Maine has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for a traveling exhibit on fiber folk arts in Maine.
The project, which is led by Maine Folklife Center Director Pauleena MacDougall, will receive $25,000 from the NEA.
Maine Fiber Folk Arts will consist of four free-standing panels with photographs and text describing a traditional fiber art from the state. The content will come from fieldwork and the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History. The panels will travel around the state through the interlibrary loan system.
“The exhibit will give the public an opportunity to learn about the state’s traditions and to interact with local people who practice those arts,” MacDougall says.
Accompanying the panels will be an online handbook that will give suggestions for putting together a public event relating to the panels and a list of fiber folk artists from around the state. The panels also will be accompanied by an audio CD, which will provide information about the exhibit to seeing-impaired members of the public.
Maine Folklife Center staff plan to visit a few libraries around the state to conduct public events to promote the exhibit when it arrives. The events likely will include a hands-on workshop and panel discussion with fiber artists from the library’s region.
NEA funds will be used to support a graduate student who will assist in conducting research and writing the narrative for the panels.
Through its grant-making to thousands of nonprofits each year, the NEA promotes opportunities for people in communities across America to experience the arts and exercise their creativity.
UMaine’s grant is among 1,023 NEA awards totaling $74.3 million nationwide in the second major grant announcement of the fiscal year.
More information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement is online.
On May 6, Technology and Caring for aging seniors was the subject of a hearing before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, chaired by Sen. Susan Collins. Among the academics and experts asked to testify on technology advancements in caring for aging seniors was Carol Kim, UMaine vice president for research and dean of the graduate school. Kim testified about UMaine’s multidisciplinary initiatives focused on helping elders to age and thrive in place. The Committee testimony is on C-SPAN.
When Margaret McCollough graduates from the University of Maine at the institution’s 213th Commencement on May 9, her immediate family will hold nine degrees from the university.
McCollough, who will earn a bachelor’s degree in sustainable agriculture, is the daughter of Catherine Elliott and Mark McCollough of Hampden, who met at UMaine in the 1980s.
Elliott, a sustainable living specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, came to UMaine in 1980 to pursue a master’s degree in wildlife management, which she completed in 1983. As a student, she met her now-husband, Mark McCollough, who also was working on a master’s in wildlife management, which he earned in 1982.
The pair stayed at UMaine to complete their doctoral degrees in wildlife. Mark McCollough earned his Ph.D. in 1986 and Elliott earned hers a year later.
In 2011, the couple’s son Aaron McCollough completed a bachelor’s degree in computer and electrical engineering while also a student of the Honors College. He continued at UMaine to earn a master’s degree in computer engineering in 2013. While pursuing that degree, he became engaged to Morgan Burke, who completed her bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology in 2012 and brought the family’s degree total to seven.
Margaret McCollough’s boyfriend Garth Douston, who she also met at UMaine, has a bachelor’s degree in sustainable agriculture, which he earned in 2014. With Margaret McCollough’s graduation, the family will hold nine UMaine degrees among six members.
“Margaret’s graduation will be wonderful,” her mother says. “Going to college was not at the top of her list of things to do when she completed high school, so having her graduate from a program she has loved is incredible. And to have had her at UMaine for the past four years has been icing on the cake. We are very proud of her.”
Margaret McCollough says she hadn’t planned to go to college after graduating from high school. She worked for a summer on a couple of farms out west before she discovered that UMaine had a sustainable agriculture program. She decided it was time to make a change and came back to enroll in the program that fall semester.
The program provided her with opportunities to network and build relationships with those already working in agriculture throughout Maine, she says.
“To be a good farmer you have to have a good working understanding of multiple disciplines. It won’t happen for you just out of a love of nature and an ability to do physical work. UMaine has provided me with a breadth of knowledge and analytical skills that will certainly serve me well as I work to build both a sustainable and profitable farm,” Margaret McCollough says.
Margaret McCollough and Douston now run Sweet Thyme Farm in Arundel, Maine. This past summer was the pair’s first season. They planted about 1.5 acres of crops and plan to add another acre this year. The farm, which has been certified by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), produces a variety of vegetables and some herbs, as well as raises ducks and chickens for eggs.
Margaret McCollough credits two student-run agricultural programs for giving her and Douston the confidence to start the farm. For two summers, Douston managed the Black Bear Food Guild, a student-run community supported agriculture (CSA) program; and she managed UMaine Greens, a winter greens production program run by student volunteers.
“Both of these programs require those students who participate to take on a lot of responsibility,” she says, adding they allow students the chance to grow at production scale while managing customers and co-workers, meeting deadlines, staying on budgets and keeping accurate records.
Margaret McCollough says UMaine has allowed herself and her family to do work that makes them happy.
“My mom, dad and older brother love the work that they do; they’re so passionate about their disciplines, and also really good at what they do,” she says. “I will feel proud to join them in doing good work in a field that I feel really passionate about. I know that my parents are really proud of my brother and I; recognizing the value in education.”
While Elliott, Margaret McCollough’s mother, was finishing her Ph.D., she was hired as a research associate in the Department of Wildlife Ecology. After graduating, she became a faculty member with UMaine Cooperative Extension. By June, Elliott will have been employed by UMaine for 29 years.
Elliott’s husband Mark McCollough works on endangered species recovery at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Ecological Services Maine Field Office in Orono.
“My parents still gather with a large group of friends that they made while studying here, and they’ve become mentors and basically extended family members to my brother and I growing up,” Margaret McCollough says.
Aaron McCollough and his fiance Burke live in Manchester, New Hampshire where Burke is pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy at Franklin Pierce University. Aaron McCollough works for L-3 Insight as an embedded software engineer. They will be relocating to Portland, Maine in June while Burke does clinical rotations to complete her degree.