University of Maine News
The University of Maine’s 212th Commencement will be held May 10 in Harold Alfond Sports Arena on campus.
Held in two ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., the university’s Commencement is one of Maine’s largest graduation events. An estimated 1,660 students — undergraduates, master’s and doctoral — are expected to participate in the event.
Both ceremonies are ticketed events. All students marching were offered up to five guest tickets. Live streaming of the ceremonies will be available online for friends and family worldwide. In addition, live streaming of both ceremonies can be viewed on a big screen in the Bear’s Den in the Memorial Union on campus.
For the second consecutive year, in keeping with UMaine’s leadership as a nationally recognized “Green campus,” each graduating student attending one of the ceremonies will receive a digital Commencement program on a commemorative 2GB USB flash drive. The full program will contain the names of all degree-earning undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a welcome message from the University of Maine Alumni Association.
At the ceremonies, an abbreviated print version of the program will be available for audience members. The Commencement website that day will feature the full program with the names of all graduating students.
The 10 a.m., ceremony is for graduating students in two colleges: Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Education and Human Development. Joining them will be students graduating from the Maine Business School and the Division of Lifelong Learning.
The 2:30 p.m., ceremony is for graduates in the College of Engineering and the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture.
The honorary degree recipients and Commencement speakers will be two icons in literature and music in Maine — international best-selling author Tess Gerritsen of Camden and singer-songwriter David Mallett of Sebec. Mallett will address the 10 a.m. ceremony; Gerritsen will address the 2:30 p.m. ceremony.
This year’s valedictorian and salutatorian are Sierra Ventura of Belfast, Maine, and Jennifer Chalmers of Foxborough, Mass., respectively. Ventura will receive a bachelor’s degree in music education. Chalmers will receive two bachelor’s degrees in English and in history. She has majored in English and history, with minors in education and Spanish, and received highest honors for her thesis.
Also being honored at Commencement and at a Faculty Appreciation and Recognition Luncheon that day are four faculty members in marine sciences, electrical and computer engineering, and computing and information science.
Mary Jane Perry, professor of oceanography and interim director of UMaine’s Darling Marine Center, is the 2014 Distinguished Maine Professor, an award presented by the University of Maine Alumni Association in recognition of outstanding achievement in the university’s mission of teaching, research and public service.
J. Malcolm Shick, professor of zoology and oceanography, is the recipient of the 2014 Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award; School of Computing and Information Science Professor M. Kate Beard-Tisdale is the 2014 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award; and the 2014 Presidential Public Service Achievement Award recipient it Bruce Segee, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and director of the University of Maine System Advanced Computing Group.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
The Portland Press Herald published a feature on Anne Lichtenwalner, director of the University of Maine’s Animal Health Laboratory. Lichtenwalner, who is also an assistant professor of animal science and a UMaine Cooperative Extension veterinarian, spoke about how she splits her time between the lab, researching and teaching, as well as the advice she gives to the general public about raising backyard chickens or dairy cows.
David Fuller, an agricultural and non-timber forest products professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and fiddlehead expert, gave a walking talk about the ferns at the Fiddlehead Festival and Local Food Day in Farmington, according to the Morning Sentinel. Fuller, who took a group of 20 attendees on a walk in the woods to show how unchecked foraging could wipe the fern out from a harvesting area, stressed the importance of using sustainable practices when picking fiddleheads. Those practices include harvesting no more than half of the fiddleheads in an area and not going back for a second harvest that year.
John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Portland Press Herald for the article, “Monsanto and Maine: A look at Maine’s sometimes fractious relationship with the GMO giant.” Jemison, who also serves on on the steering committee of the coalition Maine Food Strategy, spoke about people’s fear of genetically engineered crops. He recalled an incident in 1999 when he was researching corn that was genetically engineered, and rows of corn he had planted were chopped down during the night. Jemison said he knows a lot of opponents of genetic engineering believe researchers are paid by companies such as Monsanto, and that he was probably seen as the enemy. “From that perspective, I agree with what they did,” he said. “They were trying to make a statement and they made it. I still disagree with the methods.”
WVII (Channel 7), WABI (Channel 5) and WLBZ (Channel 2) reported on the construction of the University of Maine’s Emera Astronomy Center that is slated to open in the fall of 2014. The $5.2 million astronomy center will be the new home of the Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium and Observatory. The center will feature a planetarium dome 33 feet in diameter — the largest in the state — equipped with a state-of-the-art projection system. “It’s very exciting for me to see the program invest in something that’s going to bring a lot of young people in and teach them about STEM education,” said Karl Ward, president and CEO of Nickerson & O’Day, a Maine-based firm that was awarded the construction bid for the center.
Kathy Savoie, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator, provided the Portland Press Herald with step-by-step instructions on how to make quick refrigerator pickles with a variety of spring vegetables.
The Bangor Daily News reported on University of Maine President Paul Ferguson’s announcement of the appointment of Judy Ryan as vice president for administration and finance and Megan Sanders as associate vice president for human resources and administration, effective May 1. The appointments result from the departure of Janet Waldron, former UMaine senior vice president for administration and finance. “I am very grateful that Judy and Meg have graciously agreed to step into these significant management positions at a critical time for UMaine,” said President Ferguson.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was interviewed for a Kennebec Journal article about the race between Bruce Poliquin and Kevin Raye for the Republican nomination in the 2nd Congressional District. Brewer spoke about the importance and prevalence of the issue of residency in the primary race.
University of Maine’s Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Robert Dana was interviewed by the Bangor Daily News for the article, “Maine universities have changed how to process, respond to reports of sexual violence.” Dana said UMaine opened an office of sexual assault and violence prevention in August 2013 that processes all sexual abuse complaints, conducts investigations and offers support for victims. UMaine reported nine sexual offenses in 2010 and six in both 2011 and 2012. Dana said that in 2013, he believes around 30 reports were made, and the increase is a function of the way incidents are reported, not a rise of sexual violence on campus. The Sun Journal also carried the report.
WLBZ (Channel 2) reported on the sixth annual Maine Wind Blade Challenge held at the University of Maine. Developed by Maine Composites Alliance, in partnership with the Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative, the contest matches high school teams with Maine-based advanced composites manufacturers to research, design and manufacture model wind blades. In addition to giving presentations, high school teams from all around Maine competed to generate the most energy over two minutes. The Maine Wind Blade Challenge was designed to inspire student exploration of alternative energy and advanced materials by participating in a hands-on STEM application. Students from Portland’s Baxter Academy were this year’s champions. Their blade produced between 30 and 35 volts of electricity, according to the report.
The Associated Press, Morning Sentinel, Bangor Daily News and WLBZ (Channel 2) covered the Maine Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Jack Cosgrove, head coach of the University of Maine football team, was one of nine people to be inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame at its 39th annual awards banquet. Other inductees included Joseph L. Ferris, who pitched for UMaine in the 1964 College World Series, and Edward J. Flaherty, an All-American performer at UMaine in 1975. WABI (Channel 5) and The Washington Times carried the AP report.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on an event held by the University of Maine student group Male Athletes Against Violence (MAAV) to raise awareness about relationship violence. The event, Unwrapping the Not-So-Sweet Truth of Relationship Violence, also aimed to set a Guinness World Record for the largest number of candies unwrapped at one time. More than 600 students and community members unofficially set the record and are submitting to Guinness for verification. Spencer Wood, an MAAV member, said the group thought the event would be a fun way to attract people to come out and learn about relationship abuse.
Jason Bolton, assistant extension professor and statewide food safety specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WVII (Channel 7) about guidelines to follow before eating fiddleheads. Bolton warned fiddleheads should never be consumed raw, and should be fully cleaned and cooked by steaming or boiling for about 12 to 15 minutes. “We do hear a lot about people just sauteing them, microwaving them at restaurants or even at home, and the food-borne illness resulting from that,” Bolton said, adding that typical food-borne illness symptoms, such as vomiting, come on fast and last for about a day.
The Village Soup’s Republican Journal reported former Belfast Area High School valedictorian Sierra Ventura was named the top of her class again, this time as valedictorian of the University of Maine’s Class of 2014. Ventura will receive a bachelor’s degree in music education and plans to pursue a graduate degree at UMaine. Since 2009, she has had her own business, S.J. Ventura Music Instruction, teaching 35 students in piano, voice, flute, clarinet and saxophone.
Free Press Advances SPIA Conference on Implications of Diminishing Arctic Sea Ice
The Free Press reported on a May 20–21 conference co-hosted by the University of Maine School of Policy and International Affairs and the Maine Army National Guard to explore challenges and emerging opportunities in the Arctic. The free conference, titled “Leadership in the High North: A Political, Military, Economic and Environmental Symposium of the Arctic Opening,” will be held at the Maine Army National Guard Regional Training Institute in Bangor. Speakers will address global, national and state issues and implications related to diminished sea ice in the Arctic, including the changing environment, trade, geopolitics and policy.
Phys.org published a report on research conducted by Niclas Erhardt, assistant professor of human resources in the Maine Business School at the University of Maine. Erhardt studied employee self-promotion tactics, as well as ensuing responses from managers. He found office impressions are becoming increasingly shaped by communication technologies — including email — as opposed to face-to-face interaction. The study, “The Dialectical Nature of Impression Management in Knowledge Work: Unpacking Tensions in Media Use Between Managers and Subordinates” is in the May 2014 issue of Management Communication Quarterly.
More than 60 mechanical engineering students will showcase their capstone projects May 8 at the University of Maine’s Mechanical Engineering Design Open House.
Students have spent the year working in groups to develop a range of projects. One team has designed a surgical device that can be used for adult circumcision, which is linked to the reduction of HIV transmission rates in Africa. Another developed a snowmobile powered by compressed natural gas.
The majority of projects have focused on the development of heat pumps and other energy-related devices. Each team of mechanical engineers has worked diligently to design, construct and test their devices.
In addition to the showcase, the afternoon will begin with a 1 p.m. lecture by UMaine professor emeritus of mechanical engineering Dick Hill titled, “Engineering as a Liberal Study.” Hill is known for his practical perspective on energy based on sound engineering principles. His talk will use examples from bricklaying to fire hydrant design to show how an engineering education changes one’s view of daily life.
The open house will take place in Crosby Lab and the adjacent Cloke Plaza until 6 p.m.
University of Maine President Paul Ferguson has announced the appointment of Judy Ryan as vice president for administration and finance (VPAF) and Megan Sanders as associate vice president for human resources and administration (AVPHR), effective May 1.
These appointments result from the departure of Janet Waldron, former UMaine senior vice president for administration and finance, who began her appointment as vice chancellor for finance at the University of North Texas System on April 28.
Although Waldron will be available on a limited consulting basis to ensure continuity and finalization for FY14 and FY15 budget completion, the timing of Waldron’s departure requires a competent, experienced administrator overseeing the functions of the eight departments currently reporting to the VPAF. Over the next year, Ryan will lead the Office of the VPAF to examine its various functions and reporting structure, and to make recommendations regarding the management and operation of the many units that currently report to the VPAF.
Ryan is well-suited to fill the VPAF position on a one-year, fixed-length basis. She has considerable administrative experience in positions at UMaine, the University of Maine System and the University of Southern Maine (USM), including vice president for human resources and senior advisor to the president at USM; vice president for student affairs at USM; vice president for student development at USM; special assistant to the president at USM; and chief of staff and senior advisor to the chancellor of the University of Maine System.
Since 2012, Ryan has served as associate vice president for human resources and administration at UMaine. She has had a key role in the implementation and integration phases of UMaine’s Blue Sky Plan. Ryan’s broad knowledge of UMaine and the University of Maine System, and her relationships and professional connections at UMaine have prepared her to lead the departments reporting to the VPAF.
With Ryan’s reassignment, Megan Sanders, currently the associate director of human resources, will assume the position of associate vice president for human resources and administration.
The responsibilities of the AVPHR position match well with Sanders’ skills and background. She has enjoyed considerable success in her position as associate director of human resources at UMaine, and plays an integral role in the delivery of human resources-related guidance and counsel to individuals positioned at all levels of the institution. Prior to joining UMaine Human Resources, Sanders practiced law at one of northern New England’s largest law firms, focusing on labor and employment matters.
“I am very grateful that Judy and Meg have graciously agreed to step into these significant management positions at a critical time for UMaine,” said President Ferguson. “It is essential that we ensure continuity and excellence of operations while we prepare for timely and appropriate management searches. Judy and Meg will bring that continuity and excellence.”
Activities of Maine Day, the annual campus-wide spring cleanup tradition, were featured on reports by the Bangor Daily News and WABI (Channel 5). The BDN published a slide show of photos from the oozeball — mud volleyball — championship. WABI reported on other highlights including car smashing, a campus-wide barbecue, a 1k run to benefit the Ronald McDonald House and 75 volunteer projects aimed at sprucing up the campus.
WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) covered a Lombard steam log hauler restoration demonstration given by University of Maine mechanical engineering technology seniors at the Maine Forest and Logging Museum in Bradley. The log hauler was invented and built in Waterville between 1910 and 1917, and was the first successful tracked vehicle. Six student teams restored the log hauler to working condition, one of only three in the world. The public was invited to learn about each team’s project and for a Lombard demonstration with compressed air. Engineering student Emmett Hodder said the restoration process was a fantastic learning experience. “I think it’s really special being one of only a couple people alive who knows how to tune one of these,” he said. Engineering student Peter Roberts told WABI he’s excited to return in 20 years to show his children the log hauler.