UMaine President Paul Ferguson and Athletic Director Steve Abbott have announced that Abbott will be leaving the position of Athletic Director this fall after three years of service. Abbott will be returning to serve as Chief of Staff to United States Sen. Susan Collins, a position he formerly held from 1997–2009.
“I have greatly enjoyed working with Steve to further the success of Black Bear Athletics. We have worked diligently together to support our student athletes, enhance our athletic facilities and manage a fully compliant Division I Program,” said President Ferguson. “I look forward to continuing our working relationship in his role with Senator Collins.”
During Abbott’s tenure the university completed a $5.5 million renovation of the Alfond Arena, constructed a walkway to connect the first-year student dorms to the Arena and other playing fields, constructed the $500,000 Paul J. Mitchell Batting Pavilion, and began a $15 million renovation to the Memorial Gym and Field House, the first phase of which is expected to be completed this December. The university will also play men’s and women’s basketball in the new $65 million Cross Insurance Center.
Abbott expressed a deep appreciation for his experience at UMaine and for the working relationship that he has had with University of Maine President Paul Ferguson. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to have worked with President Ferguson and his Cabinet,” said Abbott. “The President has been a great partner for me and all of us in the athletics department. His leadership and his vision for the university as articulated in the Blue Sky Plan, makes me very optimistic for UMaine’s future.”
“The University of Maine is a special place to me and my family,” said Abbott. “Given our family history and my lifelong affinity for Black Bear athletics, I am especially pleased to have been a part of the Athletics Department these past three years. I have great respect for the staff and coaches, and I continue to be impressed by the commitment and the work ethic of our student athletes. They are a real credit to this institution.”
“I have been a Black Bear fan since before I was a ball boy for the football team four decades ago and I look forward to returning to the stands as a fan of all our teams as soon as my employment here ends,” Abbott said.
Abbott highlighted the significance of the relationship that the university has formed with New Balance, which provided a $5 million naming gift for the Field House renovation. The gift was the largest corporate gift in UMaine history.
“This is a terrific relationship with a company that has almost 1,000 employees in Maine. The Davis family is incredibly generous and has built an organization that shares our values. The UMaine-New Balance relationship will continue to grow in the future and will greatly benefit both entities,” said Abbott.
Ferguson commented that one of the most significant contributions that Abbott made to UMaine Athletics was his work with other athletic directors, their staffs, and the conference staffs for the three conferences in which the University of Maine competes. Abbott agreed, “The athletic directors in our conferences are a group of people who are committed to the student-athletes, have great perspective on the role of athletics at academic institutions, and recognize both the value and the joy of athletic competition.”
During Abbott’s tenure the Colonial Athletic Association added Stony Brook University and the University at Albany, as well as retaining the University of Rhode Island, establishing geographic balance in the conference and placing all four football-playing schools in the same conference.
At the same time Hockey East added Notre Dame and the University of Connecticut as members, further solidifying its position as the strongest league in college hockey.
Abbott also served on the search committee for the America East Conference Commissioner and was chair of the Athletics Directors Council when the America East added UMass Lowell to the league, a traditional rival whose location is the second closest to the Orono campus in America East.
In reflecting on Abbott’s departure, America East Commissioner Amy Huchthausen said that, “It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Steve. He’s served as chair of the AD Council over the past year, providing steady leadership during a critical time for the conference. He quickly gained the respect of his peers and I know they join me in wishing him the very best in the future.”
President Ferguson has begun the process for a national search to replace Abbott.
University of Maine sociologist Amy Blackstone shared her research findings for a piece that ran Sept. 6 on The Loop, which asked if feminism had become “uncool.” “Despite media proclamations of the death of feminism, many young women in fact support feminist goals, even if they don’t label themselves feminist,” the chair of the UMaine sociology department told the online Canadian news source.
Rick Kersbergen, sustainable dairy and forage systems educator with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was mentioned in the latest post of the Portland Press Herald blog, “The Root: Dispatches from Maine’s food sources.” Kersbergen moderated the “Meat, Milk and the Future of Livestock Farming in Maine” panel during the Maine Farmland Trust’s Maine Fare Event in Belfast.
The University of Maine student group, Male Athletes Against Violence, was recognized by the U.S. Marshals Service for its work to educate others about violence and its effort to stop it during the group’s first meeting of the semester.
The group received a certificate of appreciation for its work including its new public service announcement, “I Want to Live in a World.”
Noel March, U.S. Marshal for the district of Maine, attended the meeting and spoke to the group of 10 male student-athletes about the importance of men being involved in anti-violence work.
MAAV Student Coordinator Spencer Wood, a graduate student studying human development, and Sandra Caron, professor of family relations/human sexuality and the group’s founder, accepted the certificate on behalf of the group.
Six former Black Bear student-athletes will be inducted into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame on Friday, Sept. 13.
The inductees are Francois Bouchard, who played men’s basketball; Jack Capuano, men’s ice hockey; Gerard LaFlamme, track and field; Susan Lizzotte, swimming; Carleton “Speed” Merritt, football; and Chad White, baseball.
A reception in the Hall of Fame lobby of the Memorial Gym will begin at 6 p.m. Dinner will be held at Wells Conference Center at 7 p.m. followed by the induction ceremony.
Tickets are $40 and may be purchased by calling the Black Bear ticket office at 207.581.BEAR or 800.756.TEAM. Tickets for the ceremony must be purchased by noon Wednesday, Sept. 11.
The honorees will also be recognized during halftime of the UMaine football game against Bryant on Saturday, Sept. 14.
Professor David J. Neivandt Named Director of UMaine Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering
University of Maine Professor David J. Neivandt has been named director of the UMaine Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering (GSBSE), effective Sept. 1. Neivandt was named to the post by UMaine Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jeffrey Hecker.
Neivandt replaces Carol Kim, who was named UMaine Vice President for Research Sept. 1.
“I am very pleased that professor Neivandt has agreed to step into this important position on short notice,” says Hecker. “He was the unanimous choice among the leadership team. David has a thorough understanding of GSBSE and is well-positioned to build on the foundation established by Carol Kim.”
“I am delighted to assume the role of director of the GSBSE,” Neivandt says. “The program is unique in its interinstitutional nature, and exists solely to educate and train graduate students in the field of biomedical sciences and engineering. These students are the future of the state of Maine, and of the nation — I am honored to serve both them, and the University of Maine.”
Neivandt has been a member of the GSBSE faculty since it was created, he is the inaugural chair of the steering committee, and has chaired the admission committee since its formation. GSBSE is a unique graduate program that includes the University of Maine as the Ph.D.-granting institution and five cooperating academic and research institutions in Maine. GSBSE students conduct research in such areas as molecular and cellular biology, biomedical engineering, bioinformatics and genomics, toxicology and neuroscience.
Neivandt, a professor of chemical engineering and bioengineering, came to the University of Maine in 2001.
From 1998–2001, Neivandt was an Oppenheimer Research Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, where his research focused on interfacial laser spectroscopy. He received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Melbourne in 1998.
In his research, Neivandt uses traditional and novel spectroscopic and microscopic techniques to study the surfaces of materials. He focuses on the determination of the interfacial orientation and conformation of protein and lipid species, including the study of protein transport across cell membranes, and studies the gelation, dispersion and phase separation of natural and synthetic polymeric species.
Neivandt’s pulp and paper-related research has included the creation of biodegradable grease-resistant coatings, carbon nanofibers from lignin, and retention-aid systems. His work with protein transport is shedding light on how cell membranes interact with specific proteins. Understanding the process could lead to the design of therapeutics that could control diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.
In 2005, and again in 2010, Neivandt received the College of Engineering Dean’s Excellence Award. In 2006 he received the college’s Early Career Research Award.
Posted September 9, 2013
Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI) and Wildlife Ecology doctoral student Kristine Hoffman was featured recently in a news broadcast on Bangor TV stations Fox 22 and ABC 7. The UMaine student is studying researching the breeding ecology, habitat selection and life histories of the blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale), including the distance they emigrate from vernal pools. The broadcast featured highlights from Kristine’s research focusing on the conservation and habitat of the salamander. In recent years, vernal pools have become a topic of discussion and concern due to a worldwide decline of amphibians, some of which breed in the vernal pool in which they were born. Hoffmann says data from her research may inform proposed legislation about zones of consultation in Maine. As Hoffman’s research continues, she will investigate research a new type of blue-spotted salamander to see what effects genotype (different genetic compositions), female body size and environmental factors have on egg mass structure and fertility. Additionally, she will examine which environmental factors — pond depth, canopy density, distance to roads and presence of other breeders in the pool — impact breeding site selection. And she’ll explore whether juvenile habitat choice differs between the genotypes. Kristine is a member of SSI’s Protecting Natural Resources at the Community Scale project. For more information, check out the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s feature on Hoffman here.
The Press Herald article “What are these animals telling us?” about sentinel species and what they reveal about the effects of pollutants, includes quotes from University of Maine researchers. Sarah Nelson, a biological geochemist at UMaine; Andrew Pershing, a research scientist at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and UMaine professor; and Jeff Runge, biological oceanographer at UMaine and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, spoke about their research on sentinel species and its importance in relation to the Earth’s future.
Jason Bolton, assistant extension professor and food safety specialist at the University of Maine, was interviewed for the Bangor Daily News article “Local food ‘incubators’ could ease burden of regulation on Maine farmers, food producers.” Bolton said food production incubators such as Coastal Farms and Food Inc. in Belfast, which offers cold and freezer storage space, kitchen and equipment rentals and food processing services, could easily be applied to other agricultural operations such as dairy or slaughtering. He said he expects to see more food incubators open in Maine as farmers and food producers seek larger markets.
WVII (Channel 7) spoke with University of Maine students and Gianna Marrs, director of financial aid for UMaine, about student loans and the importance of staying informed about the process.
James McConnon, economics professor at the University of Maine, spoke with the Portland Press Herald for the article “Department store fills void at Maine Mall.” McConnon said the arrival of Bon-Ton Stores Inc. at the South Portland mall will likely generate some interest and foot traffic in the short term. He also said the growth in retail sales in South Portland has outpaced sales growth for the state as a whole.
Amy Blackstone, chair of the University of Maine’s sociology department, was featured in a WABI (Channel 5) report on women with professional careers who are on the Central Maine Derby team. Blackstone called roller derby “cathartic” and said she thinks there are few opportunities for women who aren’t professional athletes to do this kind of sport with other women.
WABI (Channel 5) spoke with new and returning University of Maine students during the first week of classes of the fall semester. Students said they enjoy being back in Orono and upperclassmen gave freshmen advice such as “do your homework,” “don’t give up,” and “try new things.”
The Bangor Daily News article “UMaine alumni, fans celebrate football friendships at Gillette Stadium,” focused on the former teammates, family members and fans that traveled to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., to watch the University of Maine football team take on UMass.
Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke about the state’s apple crop for the Bangor Daily News article “Four generations of growers working at Etna orchard as Maine Apple Sunday approaches.” Moran said orchards south of Bangor benefited from the rains because the wet weather didn’t occur during bloom season.
The latest column in the Portland Press Herald’s Maine Gardener series mentions jams as an easy way to make berries last longer. The article cites a new low-sugar recipe recommended by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, about the $150 million in borrowing that’s to go before Maine voters this fall. Brewer said voters tend to look at bond proposals skeptically and are more likely to pass the transportation and state armories upgrade bonds than the three bonds benefiting the state’s public higher education institutions totaling $35.5 million.
WVII (Channel 7) reported the University of Maine is one of 17 recipients to split $16 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund projects related to efficiently capturing energy from waves, tides and currents. UMaine received $394,000 to study fish interactions with a power system in Cobscook Bay to predict the probability of fish naturally encountering deployed energy devices.
SmartPlanet recently published an article, “How to build a bridge in 10 days,” that focuses on the Bridge-in-a-Backpack technology that was developed at the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center.
The Free Press reported the University of Maine and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will be two of 18 exhibitors at Bug Maine-ia at the Maine State Museum in Augusta on Sept. 11. The exhibitors will provide hands-on displays and demonstrations for visitors of all ages at the free event.