University of Maine News
When Matthew Dexter prepared for the Ulman Cancer Foundation’s 42-day 2104 summer cross-country run to raise money for and awareness of cancer, he was seeking to change at least one person’s life.
He did. His own.
The University of Maine junior brought in $7,300 of the more than $1 million raised for the Ulman Cancer Foundation.
He ran through 113-degree heat in Barstow, California, had snowball fights in the Rockies and legged out the 20-mile final stretch to Federal Hill in Baltimore, Maryland.
And the most memorable and touching part, he says, was meeting cancer patients at James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville, Kentucky.
Dexter’s mother, Christine died when he was 13. And she is the reason he became involved with the Ulman Cancer Foundation’s 4K for Cancer.
And now he’s striving to do more.
Since completing the 4,000-mile team relay run July 26, Dexter has organized his own fundraiser — the Eastern Trek for Cancer (ETC). The 29-day, 400-mile relay run starts June 27 in Kittery, Maine, and wraps up July 25 in Surf City, New Jersey.
He planned the route to go through New Jersey so that Joe Melillo, his friend, fellow 4K for Cancer runner and Garden State resident, could take part.
At about the halfway mark of the 4K for Cancer — July 4 in Boulder, Colorado — Dexter says he and Melillo started joking about putting together a fundraising run of their own.
“It stuck with me and, after the run ended, it was something I wanted to,” Dexter says.
The Eastern Trek for Cancer mission is to promote a healthy lifestyle and directly support cancer patients, says the psychology major and business minor.
Participants can opt to run 200 miles in 14 days, 100 miles in seven days or 40 miles in three. And for people who don’t run, there are other ways to contribute, says Dexter, including donating money, hosting runners overnight and driving a van that accompanies runners.
Fifty percent of money raised will go to Ulman Cancer Foundation for Young Adults, 25 percent will buy supplies to be given to cancer patients during hospital visits along the route and 25 percent will be used for operational activities, Dexter says.
“It’s for all ages. It’s not a race,” Dexter says. “People can feast on their teammates’ energy. And it’s flexible. ETC accommodates for the busy life we all have. If you’re only available for a long weekend or even can secure a two-week journey to help others directly, then ETC is for you.”
It just might change a life.
The University of Maine’s Emera Astronomy Center will be dedicated in a ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 17, as part of UMaine’s Homecoming weekend.
The Emera Astronomy Center is the new home of the Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium and Observatory. It features a planetarium dome 33 feet in diameter equipped with a state-of-the-art projection system. Both the dome and the observatory’s 20-inch digital telescope are the largest in the state.
Architects and engineers from WBRC teamed with planetarium specialists from Kasian, a global architecture firm based in Canada, on the design of the facility; Nickerson & O’Day, a Maine-based construction firm, completed the construction.
Expected to take part in the dedication ceremony are Jeffery Mills, president and CEO of the University of Maine Foundation; UMaine President Susan Hunter; Alan Davenport, Emera Astronomy Center director; Bill Chomik, planetarium designer at Kasian; Karl Ward, president of Nickerson & O’Day; Rob Bennett, executive vice president and COO of Emera, Inc.; and representatives from WBRC also will be in attendance.
Following a ribbon cutting, tours of the facility will be given. The planetarium also will have an open house from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, and a public star party will be held at the observatory that evening from 6 to 10 p.m., weather permitting.
The Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium and Observatory hosts thousands of children annually. The planetarium will continue to offer a changing line-up of family star shows or private showings for parties and school field trips. The center’s first public star show is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17. A full schedule is online.
The $5.2 million Emera Astronomy Center was made possible by a $3.2 million donation from an anonymous donor, who first proposed the astronomy facility to enhance the viewing of the night sky, and a $1 million gift came from Emera Inc., the parent company of Emera Maine.
According to President Hunter, the Emera Astronomy Center is the culmination of the visions of the anonymous donors to enhance the viewing of the night sky and Emera, a leader in the energy field, to make the dream of building the state’s largest and most energy-efficient planetarium and automated telescope a reality.
The Emera Astronomy Center includes innovative exterior lighting designed to help preserve the dark-sky critical to enhanced stargazing. It is heated and cooled with geothermal heat pumps — the first building at UMaine to benefit from this energy-efficient electric technology.
As part of UMaine’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the center will enhance the university’s role in outreach to K–12 students and promotion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. STEM education research has been designated as one of UMaine’s Signature Programs. The planetarium and observatory will complement the many other efforts at UMaine to attract students to scientific disciplines by inspiring children — and all those who are children at heart — about the science of astronomy.
“The new Emera Astronomy Center’s programs will extend UMaine’s already deep commitment to education in STEM fields. The center’s planetarium and observatory complement each other to excite students’ imagination and advance their knowledge,” says Emily Haddad, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The center has already sparked interest from Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), a student organization focused on the exploration and development of space.
More information about the Emera Astronomy Center is online. To RSVP to the dedication ceremony or to request a disability accommodation, contact Sarah Penley, 207.581.1159.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
A $1 million donation to the University of Maine by alumnus Tom Savage and his wife, Sally, of Key Largo, Florida, will launch the Savage Challenge, a five-year endowment drive for the men’s ice hockey program.
The donation will be used to match up to $1 million in gifts from UMaine hockey alumni and former coaches to the endowment fund. The Savage Challenge is part of a larger fundraising effort to build a significant endowment for the University of Maine men’s ice hockey program. The endowment will provide direct operational support for the men’s ice hockey team, and the goal of the Savage Challenge is to motivate former Black Bear men’s ice hockey student-athletes and coaches to become directly involved with the program’s future.
“Like thousands of other Mainers, Maine hockey holds a special place in my heart,” says Tom Savage. “I will never forget how proud we were when we drove over the bridge in Kittery and saw the ‘1993 National Champions’ sign over 20 years ago, and I still get excited when Alfond Arena is shaking after a big Maine goal. For many of us, this program provides a great sense of pride, knowing that Maine can compete for championships on a national stage.
“When Sally and I discussed making this gift, we agreed it was a meaningful and worthy endeavor. Our goal is to help the University of Maine provide the best experience possible for the student-athletes, help our coaches put a product on the ice that Mainers can be proud of and put the Maine Black Bears in the best position possible to compete for championships. We are excited to play a role in ensuring that Maine hockey is financially strong for years to come, and hope others will join us in this effort,” says Tom Savage.
Men’s ice hockey is a signature athletic program for the University of Maine and the state, says UMaine President Susan Hunter, in announcing the $1 million gift at a media conference Oct. 14. The gift by Tom and Sally Savage will help ensure that the program will continue to be a national point of pride.
“(The) gift will serve to build a network of support for our men’s ice hockey program by strengthening the bond between our former student-athletes and our future,” Hunter says.
Tom Savage earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Maine in 1968. The avid UMaine athletics fan is a retired attorney who practiced law in Bangor for more than 20 years. He is a member of Phi Gamma Delta and a former member of the University of Maine Foundation board of directors.
Sally Savage, who grew up in Belfast, is an artist and author. The couple are members of the University of Maine Stillwater Society and are the 2007 recipients of the Stillwater Presidential Award. The Savages live in Florida and maintain a summer home in Searsport.
“The generosity and vision of Tom and Sally Savage will have a permanent positive impact on the men’s ice hockey program at the University of Maine,” says UMaine Athletics Director Karlton Creech.
“Endowments are a powerful part of a sustainable Division I athletics model, and the Savage Challenge represents a tremendous leap forward in preserving the nationally competitive profile of our men’s ice hockey program. Tom and Sally are great friends of the university, and I am humbled by their generous gift that will be a difference maker for our student-athletes and coaches.”
The vision of Tom and Sally Savage to maintain the competitive excellence of Maine men’s ice hockey forever is both inspiring and transformational, says UMaine men’s ice hockey coach Dennis “Red” Gendron.
“Their generosity inspires all at Maine men’s ice hockey to do what is required of us to return this program to a position of national prominence, to do it consistently and to bring a national championship back to Maine,” he says.
“It is transformational because it represents a giant step forward to ensure the financial viability of Maine men’s ice hockey and Maine athletics into perpetuity. Because of Tom and Sally’s endowment gift and the countless other gifts that they will inspire from others, we will be able to recruit, outfit and support our team in a manner consistent with the best college hockey programs in the nation.”
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
Jim Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News for articles about the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirming the state’s first human case of neuroinvasive Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). Dill spoke about Question 2 on the November ballot, saying it would improve Maine’s surveillance for EEE. The bond would give $8 million to UMaine Extension to build a new animal and plant disease and insect control laboratory. Dill said having the lab would allow the state to improve its mosquito testing in addition to the other services.
University of Maine researchers Elizabeth Allan and Mary Madden who led a national study on student hazing were interviewed for articles on the topic. Madden, an education professor, was quoted in an article by The Guardian, titled “Student-athlete hazing victims may number 800,000 per year.” Madden spoke about some of the researchers’ findings including escalation in hazing incidents. “What we often see is that students like, sort of one-up the year before,” Madden said. “So, ‘Oh, we can we can haze them even worse than we were hazed.’” Allan, an associate professor of higher education leadership, was quoted in a post from the U.S. News & World Report blog “High School Notes.” She spoke about how hazing isn’t always recognized as a problem. “Some people think of it as a type of group bullying, but that can be misleading,” she said, adding hazing is about inclusion, while bullying is about exclusion. She defines hazing as, “any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses or endangers them, regardless of a person’s willingness to participate.”
The Bangor Daily News published the article, “UMaine sports clubs provide varied, valuable athletic and educational experiences.” UMaine has 30 active sports clubs that will provide athletic and recreational opportunities for more than 700 students this year, according to the article. “It’s really about the students’ passion for their sport. Some of them come with it, and some of them discover it [here],” said Jeff Hunt, UMaine’s director of campus recreation.
Mick Peterson, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maine, was mentioned in the Thoroughbred Racing Commentary article, “Do what is best for the horse: Drug testing, doping agents, racing surfaces, and more.” Peterson was cited for his research on racetrack surfaces to reduce horse injuries. Peterson said that while tracks are only one factor, they can improve safety and build confidence in racing, according to the article. “Peterson and his colleagues have applied significant advances in the science of racing surface management and the tools for tracking the condition of a racing surface, be it synthetic, turf or dirt,” the article states.
The Bangor Daily News published the opinion piece, “The Kon-Tiki man at 100 — and his kindred spirits in Maine,” by Dan Sandweiss, a professor of anthropology and quaternary and climate studies at the University of Maine.
The Bangor Daily News, WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) covered Gov. Paul LePage’s visit to the University of Maine. The Republican governor, who is campaigning for re-election, spoke on the steps of UMaine’s Fogler Library with a group of about 20 students standing behind him. He shared two ideas for programs he said would reduce student debt and would encourage graduates to stay in Maine, according to the BDN. UMaine junior Lee Jackson introduced LePage, calling him a friend and mentor. The Sun Journal also carried the BDN report.
The Bangor Daily News published an article about University of Maine graduate student Travis Blackmer and his study on pay-as-you-throw programs in Maine. In the program, households must purchase special trash bags for a fee, otherwise their waste is not collected by the town, according to Blackmer. “The purpose of this research is to provide insight into how citizens in Maine view pay-as-you-throw programs, including their behavioral changes in response to this program being implemented at the town level,” Blackmer told the BDN.
Nearly 700 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students and their teachers from 13 area schools will take part in the 2014 Northern Maine Children’s Water Festival at the University of Maine from 9:30 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 14.
Students will spend the day at the New Balance Field House learning about clean water, wetland ecosystems and the importance of stewarding Maine’s most rapidly renewable resource.
Activities include a quiz show on water issues; classroom activities led by some of the state’s leading environmental educators; a stage show presented by Tanglewood 4-H Camp & Learning Center; and a tour of the exhibit hall that will contain interactive displays explaining topics such as what makes soil healthy, how pollution gets into water, and how to find leaky pipes.
The Northern Maine Children’s Water Festival is organized through a partnership of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s 4-H; Maine Sea Grant; UMaine’s Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions; Maine Department of Environmental Protection; Maine Drinking Water Program; as well as other agencies, businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Participating schools include Hichborn Middle School in Howland, Dr. Lewis S. Libby School in Milford, Hermon Middle School, Brewer Community School, Glenburn Elementary School, Union Elementary School, Fort Fairfield Middle School, Enfield Station School, Surry Elementary School, Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School, All Saints Catholic School in Bangor, Sedgwick Elementary School and George B. Weatherbee School in Hampden.
The Associated Press reported that Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is giving nearly $500,000 to the Maine Sea Grant Program at the University of Maine. The money will be used to help coastal communities protect themselves against the challenges caused by climate change, according to the article. The funding is part of a larger $15.9 million announcement that will support more than 300 projects nationwide, the article states. Designated as a Sea Grant College, the University of Maine is one of 33 NOAA Sea Grant Programs throughout the coastal and Great Lakes states. Maine Public Broadcasting Network, WABI (Channel 5), The Republic, WLBZ (Channel 2) and Portland Press Herald carried the AP report.
The St. John Valley Times reported John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension, will present an informational session on Question 2 of the November ballot as part of the University of Maine at Fort Kent Board of Visitors’ Business Breakfast Series on Oct. 15. The bond would give $8 million to UMaine Extension to build a new animal and plant disease and insect control laboratory. WVII (Channel 7) also carried a report on the bond question and interviewed Jim Dill, a pest management specialist with UMaine Extension. Dill said the facility would be a resource that a large percentage of Mainers would use for services such as tick-borne disease monitoring.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for the report, “New poll indicates gains for Cutler, LePage in Maine governor’s race.” Brewer spoke about the latest polls and some possible race outcomes. “I’ve thought all along that if it were a Michaud-LePage, or for that matter a Cutler-LePage, that LePage would be on the short end of the stick by a relatively substantial margin and he’s not — at least according to this poll,” he said.
Phys.org published a University of Maine article on research by marine scientist Nathan Briggs. Briggs is studying the movement of carbon dioxide into the deep ocean to improve climate projections and understanding of deep-sea ecosystems. He begins a two-year postdoctoral fellowship research project in France that’s funded, in part, by a $194,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). He will collaborate with Hervé Claustre, a senior scientist at Laboratoire d’Oceanographie de Villefranche (LOV) on the Mediterranean Sea.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering its annual sheep and goat seminar from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, at Kennebec Valley Community College, 92 Western Ave., Fairfield.
The seminar will focus on animal health and strive to equip producers with skills and knowledge to keep their animals healthy and productive. Topics will include prevention and detection of common diseases, health-related tools and a program used to eradicate Scrapie, a degenerative disease that attacks the central nervous system of sheep and goats. Scheduled instructors are Richard Brzozowski, Anne Lichtenwalner and James Weber.
The fee of $35 per person includes lunch and materials. More information and registration are online. To request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099, 800.287.1471 (in Maine).
Announcements of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry honored three recipients and cited other researchers involved in similar pioneering research, including UMaine physicist Sam Hess. Eric Betzig of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Stefan Hell of the Max Planck Institute of Biophysical Chemistry, and William Moerner of Stanford were awarded the $1.1 million Nobel Prize for development of super-resolution fluorescence microscopy. The technology, called photoactived localization microscopy (PALM), provides nanoscale views of the molecule. It was developed in 2006. That same year, similar methods were independently developed by Hess (fluorescence PALM or fPALM) and Xiaowei Zhuang of Harvard University (stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy or STORM). Stories about the award-winning research are online, including the announcement from HHMI.
The Bangor Daily News reported members of University of Maine football team and head coach Jack Cosgrove participated in a send off of a Hudson Museum artifact to Seattle’s Burke Museum. The native mask may be the inspiration of the original team logo for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. The wooden Northwest Coast transformation mask depicts a bird of prey when closed and reveals a painted depiction of a human face when opened. The artifact is part of the William P. Palmer III collection and will be on temporary display in Seattle, according to the article.
The Bangor Daily News reported on a University of Maine talk given by environmentalist and author Bill McKibben. McKibben’s lecture, “Making a life on a tough new planet,” was hosted by the UMaine Honors College as part of its Honors Read program. The 2014–2015 Honors Read is McKibben’s book, “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.” He spoke about the importance of coming together to make a difference against climate change. “I can’t promise you that we’re going to win, but I can promise you that we’re going to fight,” McKibben said. “This is by far the biggest problem that humans have ever stumbled into.”
Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel published an opinion piece by Howard Segal, a history professor at the University of Maine. “Rest assured, traditional liberal arts education is alive and well at Colby,” was posted on centralmaine.com.