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University of Maine News
News from the University of Maine
Updated: 5 hours 4 min ago
The Associated Press and Maine Public Broadcasting Network were among news organizations to report on the University of Maine’s 213th Commencement. M. Peter McPherson, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, delivered the Commencement address and received an honorary degree. Dana Connors, executive director of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, and Dennis Rezendes of Colorado, who pioneered the hospice program in the U.S., also received honorary degrees, according to the AP. The Bangor Daily News, WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) reported on UMaine graduate Johanna Haskell — the great-great-granddaughter of Edwin James Haskell, one of six members of UMaine’s first graduating class in 1872. “I am incredibly proud to both carry on the legacy of our family and to have accomplished a personal goal of graduating,” Haskell said. Seacoastonline, WMTW (Channel 8 in Portland) and seattlepi carried the AP report.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with Emily Haddad, dean of the University of Maine’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and several graduating students of the college for the report “UMaine’s liberal arts grads take uncertain future in stride.” Students Cameron Dwyer, Marlee Huston, Taylor Cunningham, Ciarán Coyle and Nellie Kelly spoke about the value of their liberal arts degrees and career goals. “I think in any discipline, you need creativity. You need critical thinking,” said Cunningham, an English and anthropology double major with a minor in folklore. “And if you don’t have that then there’s something very severely lacking. So I think I have a lot to give in that way.” Haddad said people who graduated with liberal arts degrees during their peak earning period — typically in their late 50s — earn, on average, $2,000 a year more than people who had graduated with professional and preprofessional degrees.
The Sun Journal published a Q&A profile of Gwendolyn Beacham, the University of Maine’s 2015 valedictorian. Beacham, a Farmington native, is a biochemistry major and Honors student and was named the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture. This fall, she will enter the Ph.D. track at Cornell University in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology. Beacham spoke about her time at UMaine, career goals, extracurricular activities and love of science. “Before college, I was always very interested in many different subjects and I honestly can barely remember what initially made me decide to study science,” she said. “However, once I got to UMaine and began classes, I realized that I loved scientific research.”
Joe Miller, a University of Maine graduate student studying history, was featured in a Bangor Daily News video series on veterans who talk about what coming home meant to them. Miller, a captain in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, served three tours in Iraq, according to the report. After serving, he looked to Maine for a fresh start and chose UMaine because it was the first college where he felt welcome, and the school counted his military experience, the article states. Nicolas Phillips, a commander of the Maine Army National Guard’s 185th Engineer Support Company who served two tours in Afghanistan, also was featured in the series. Phillips, who grew up mostly in Germany with his active-duty parents, said it felt right to come to UMaine for college because his father was from Embden, Maine. Both profiles advanced a UMaine talk on veterans’ recovery from trauma by MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient and psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Shay at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, at Wells Conference Center.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network reported on soil research being conducted by Corianne Tatariw and Kaizad Patel, University of Maine students who are pursuing doctoral degrees in ecology and environmental science. Tatariw and Patel are researching how seasonal climatic changes from winter to spring affect soil nutrient cycling and therefore the biology, chemistry and physical characteristics of the woods. This winter, the students shoveled four plots of land in the University Forest in Old Town every time it snowed, according to the report. “So we basically removed a thermal barrier,” Tatariw said, adding the idea was to keep the areas clear to compare how soil was impacted by snow. The researchers found ground temperature with snow maintains a constant temperature of around freezing, the article states, and without it, ground temperatures would swing drastically. “And as a result you’re going to lose the root biomass, you’re going to lose the microbial population, and that would affect nutrient availability as well,” Patel said.
Jessica Leahy, an associate professor of human dimensions of natural resources in the University of Maine School of Forest Resources, spoke with the Morning Sentinel for an article about some Maine landowners restricting recreational access because of trash left by visitors. The article cited Leahy’s 2008 study that found the biggest reason Maine landowners cut off public use is littering and illegal dumping. About 30 percent of private landowners were “actively considering” placing restrictions or prohibiting access to their property, primarily because of problems with littering and illegal dumping, according to the study. “You could have all the positive use you could imagine — grandfathers taking their grandkids fishing — but it really only takes one bad incident for the landowner to close off access to the land,” Leahy said. She added much of the garbage is left from local people who are not using their transfer station, and not from recreational users.
The Associated Press reported officials with the Maine Bumble Bee Atlas project will begin training citizen volunteers Saturday at the University of Maine. The project aims to help determine Maine bee range and abundance, according to the report. The project is being coordinated by the state, UMaine and the University of Maine at Farmington. Sun Journal, WGME (Channel 13 in Portland) and WABI (Channel 5) carried the AP report.
The Division of Lifelong Learning is pleased to announce the appointment of Brian Bray as director of Conference Services. Bray brings more than 20 years of experience in conference and event planning to the University of Maine. He served as the chief executive officer of the Grant Professionals Association and executive director of the Association of Midwest Museums. He has worked in alumni relations at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Conference Services Division furthers UMaine’s academic mission by bringing together groups of participants and qualified resource people to share information and ideas, develop new skills and insights, and problem solve. It accomplishes this by professionally coordinating a varied and rich selection of conferences, meetings, seminars and symposia, showcasing the UMaine facilities and resources.
Conference Services is a one-stop shop and can assist faculty and staff with event planning needs, including site selection, housing, dining, budgeting, marketing and registrations. For additional information about conference services, contact Brian, firstname.lastname@example.org; 207.581.4091.
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.