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Top Faculty Honors

The University of Maine’s top honors are being awarded to faculty in civil engineering, philosophy, history and communication.

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, will receive the 2015 Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award; Richard Judd, Col. James C. McBride Distinguished Professor of History, will receive the 2015 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award; and Laura Lindenfeld, director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and associate professor of communication, will receive the 2015 Presidential Public Service Achievement Award.

The award recipients will be honored at the Faculty Appreciation and Recognition Luncheon, noon–1:30 p.m., May 9 at Wells Conference Center.

“In our 150th anniversary year, there is no better way to look at the difference a land grant university makes than through the quality teaching, research and community engagement demonstrated by four faculty members of this caliber,” says UMaine President Susan J. Hunter. “The work of Bill, Kirsten, Dick and Laura in Maine is known nationally and internationally. The direct beneficiaries are UMaine students and the people of Maine.”

The following faculty citations are excerpted from the nomination packages submitted to the selection committees:

2015 Distinguished Maine Professor
Bill Davids
John C. Bridge Professor of Civil Engineering

Bill Davids is a gifted, committed educator and outstanding researcher with a strong record of public service. His popular and rigorous upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses produce well-prepared structural engineers who truly understand how engineers design. Davids’ internationally recognized research applies numerical modeling to a wide range of multidisciplinary problems. He has made fundamental contributions to structural, geotechnical, environmental and pavement engineering, and engineering mechanics. Davids’ work has been central to many University of Maine-developed technologies, including blast-resistant structures. His work on inflatable structures resulted in a NASA-funded project focused on atmospheric reentry systems for spacecraft. The breadth of Davids’ expertise makes him a resource for the state. As a structural engineer with particular expertise in bridge engineering, he is frequently tapped by the Maine Department of Transportation for critical safety assessments. He also has helped many Maine-based engineering firms solve difficult structural modeling problems. Davids’ many national, state and UMaine awards include the 2012 L.J. Markwardt Wood Engineering Award from the Forest Products Society and the George Marra Award from the Society of Wood Science and Technology. In 2010, he was named the State of Maine Civil Engineer of the Year by the Maine chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Davids was the UMaine valedictorian in 1989. He also received a master’s degree in civil engineering from UMaine in 1991, and a Ph.D. in civil and structural engineering from the University of Washington in 1998. That year, Davids joined the UMaine College of Engineering faculty. He has chaired the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering since 2012.

2015 Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award
Kirsten E. Jacobson
Associate Professor of Philosophy

Kirsten E. Jacobson is recognized for her enthusiasm for teaching and how she encourages students to think for themselves. Since coming to the University of Maine in 2006, she has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in 19th- and 20th-century continental philosophy and the philosophy of art, and has created topics-based courses in response to the interests and demands of students, and reflecting her active research. By incorporating ideas, examples and texts from multiple disciplines — from biology and political science to art history and physics — she empowers students in active learning. She encourages students to find the relevance of significant philosophical debates in their lives and in the community, marrying theoretical engagement with practical concerns. That involvement goes beyond the classroom, as Jacobson advises students in Phi Sigma Tau, the philosophy honor society, and the Philosophy Club. Another example of Jacobson’s commitment to the quality and value of teaching is in the volunteer-based service-learning program she established in 2009 called Philosophy Across the Ages. The initiative connects UMaine undergraduates with area high school students and retirement community members to discuss philosophical questions and examine their relevance in everyday life. Philosophy Across the Ages epitomizes Jacobson’s commitment as a teacher to “continue always to ask questions of myself and others about the nature of human experience in order that we might become increasingly adept at reflecting and responding to the reality of our situation.” Jacobson received a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from St. John’s College in 1996 and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Pennsylvania State University in 2006.

2015 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award
Richard W. Judd
Col. James C. McBride Distinguished Professor of History

Richard W. Judd is an internationally recognized researcher and author of environmental history who exemplifies the importance of academic scholarship with a public purpose. By bringing a Maine and New England perspective to bear on how environmental history is conducted and conceptualized, Judd’s research has reshaped — and continues to inform — this area of scholarship. He has inspired the current generation of environmental historians and earned UMaine a reputation for pioneering environmental history research. The depth and breadth of Judd’s scholarship were most recently reflected in The Historical Atlas of Maine, published this year by the University of Maine Press. Judd co-edited and contributed to the Atlas, a geographical and historical interpretation of Maine, from the end of the last ice age to the year 2000. The volume culminates a 15-year humanities project led by Judd, Stephen Hornsby and other UMaine researchers. Judd also is the award-winning author of 11 books, including Second Nature: An Environmental History of New England, published last year; and the definitive history of the state, Maine: The Pine Tree State from Prehistory to the Present, published in 1995. His 12th book, Finding Thoreau: The Meaning of Nature in the Making of an Environmental Icon, is expected in 2016. For three decades, he has been the lead editor of the state journal of historical record, Maine History, published by the UMaine History Department and the Maine Historical Society. Judd came to UMaine as a postdoctoral researcher in 1980 and joined the History Department faculty four years later. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from California State University, Fullerton, and a Ph.D. in history from the University of California at Irvine.

2015 Presidential Public Service Achievement Award
Laura A. Lindenfeld
Director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center
Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism

As a researcher of communication, Laura A. Lindenfeld has demonstrated a deep commitment to applying her knowledge and skills to enhancing the public good and well being of citizens and organizations in Maine. Her research focuses on understanding stakeholders’ needs and helping build more effective partnerships, developing strategies to help align University of Maine resources with the state’s needs. By linking her research, teaching and mentorship of students to on-the-ground action, she has advanced collaboration across organizations and contexts. In 2013 in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development, she launched UMaine’s Faculty Fellows — a two-year professional development program to empower 20 faculty leaders to advance the impact of their work by engaging with communities and university stakeholders. The second cohort of Faculty Fellows is now being selected. Lindenfeld’s community engagement initiatives also includes leadership on engaging students in a series of advertising campaigns that directly supported local businesses and nonprofit organizations; stewardship of teacher training grants to support English as a Second Language educators in Maine; membership on the Governor’s Task Force to Engage Maine’s Youth; and service on the Maine Humanities Council. Lindenfeld joined the UMaine faculty in 2004. She received a master’s degree in German and Scandinavian literature and language studies from the University of Bonn, and a Ph.D. in cultural studies from the University of California, Davis.

2015 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Gwendolyn Beacham of Farmington, Maine, is the 2015 valedictorian at the University of Maine and Katelyn Massey of Waterville, Maine, is the salutatorian.

They will receive their degrees at UMaine’s 213th Commencement in Harold Alfond Sports Arena May 9.

Beacham, a biochemistry major and honors student, was named the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.

She received the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, a national award given to rising undergraduate juniors and seniors in the STEM fields, and the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship to study abroad in spring 2014 at University College Cork in Ireland. Most recently, she was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

At UMaine, Beacham has been involved in the national Phage Genomics Program, sponsored by Howard Hughes Medical Institute, by taking the HON 150/155 Phage Genomics course. She interned at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, an affiliate of Cornell University, where her work focused on the commercial algae biofuel production, and the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, studying cilia differentiation in sea urchin and sand dollar embryos.

On campus, Beacham’s research has focused on mycobacteriophages, which are viruses that infect bacteria of the genus Mycobacterium. In collaboration with Assistant Research Professor Sally Molloy, Beacham studied a particular phage named Ukulele that was isolated at UMaine in the Phage Genomics course Beacham took in her first year. Beacham’s project focused on identifying which genes encode the proteins that are involved in regulating Ukulele’s life cycles.

Her numerous awards for research and academic achievement included fellowships from UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research, and research fellowships from the Maine IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE).

Beyond the laboratory and classroom, Beacham has been involved in many student organizations, including the UMaine chapter of Engineers Without Borders, which took her to Honduras in 2013 to finish installing a septic system in a rural community. She also was a member of Alternative Breaks, and campus-based All Maine Women and Sophomore Eagles honor societies. Beacham was a teaching assistant and, in 2013, took first place in the annual Rezendes Ethics Essay contest.

This fall, Beacham will enter the Ph.D. track at Cornell University in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology. She hopes to be a professor and contribute to science policy.

Massey is a psychology major with a concentration in development and a minor in communication sciences and disorders. Her academic honors include the Frederick W. and Marianne Hill Scholarship, the Marcus L. Urann Scholarship, Class of 1945 Scholarship, and the Jane Gerry Chase Hangar Scholarship. She also was named a Kornetsky Scholar as the graduating psychology student with the highest GPA.

For the past four years, Massey has been a forward on the UMaine women’s ice hockey team, serving as assistant captain this year and taking Hockey East Top Scholar Athlete honors from 2012–14. She and her teammates have been active in fundraising and volunteer activities in the community, and local youth hockey clinics.

This fall, Massey will pursue graduate work in communication sciences and disorders at UMaine. She also has been selected for a clinical assistantship in UMaine’s Audiology Clinic.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

History Major Wins George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship to Study in Ireland

Michael Bailey, a third-year history major at the University of Maine, has been awarded the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship for the 2015–16 academic year and will study abroad in Ireland as part of the student exchange program.

As a George J. Mitchell Scholar, Bailey plans to learn more about history and peace to not only further his academic and career aspirations, but also to enhance his ability to improve the community.

The scholarship honors the 1998 Northern Ireland peace accord brokered by Sen. Mitchell between Ireland and the United Kingdom and is open to full-time undergraduate students in the University of Maine system. The all-expenses paid scholarship allows one student to study for a year, or two students to study for a semester each, at University College Cork in Ireland.

“Through studying history and active community involvement, I will make my community a better place while I am in Cork, when I return to Orono, and for the rest of my life,” Bailey says.

While overseas, Bailey, who aspires to earn a doctorate in history, plans to study Ireland within the context of the early modern period and as a place of imperialist and counter-imperialist hostility.

“Understanding the beginnings of imperialism in our era, I truly believe, is the first logical steps toward understanding how and why people come to dominate other people. It’s also the first step toward fighting the process,” Bailey says.

Bailey describes himself as a lifelong activist dedicated to improving his community and plans to give back when he returns by organizing residence hall events about study abroad and volunteerism; speaking about the trip to grade school children in the Black Bear Mentors program; and bringing home a more broadened awareness of the world.

Bailey, a first-generation college student originally from Lynn, Massachusetts who grew up and attended high school in Sen. Mitchell’s hometown of Waterville, says he is looking forward to the challenge of living abroad in a new culture and is confident he will adapt well to a new environment.

As a resident assistant on campus, Bailey has experience not only taking care of himself, but taking responsibility for others, he says. Growing up as a child of a struggling single parent, Bailey often was in charge of running the household, as well.

Bailey is a member of Divest UMaine and he is interested in looking into divestment at UCC with Tadhg Moore, a George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship recipient from UCC that Bailey befriended while Moore studied at UMaine.

As president of the Maine Peace Action Committee, Bailey has reached out to students to advocate becoming involved in the university and community. He has helped lead the group in organizing their film series and newsletter, participated in campus sustainability efforts and played an important leadership role in organizing a weekend trip to New York City for The People’s Climate March this past fall. He is vice president of the History Club and is involved with the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine and Phi Alpha Theta Historical Society.

Bailey is a firm believer of supporting labor organizations and was awarded a competitive internship in the Maine State Department of Labor in summer 2014 where he conducted research on the history of Maine’s labor laws.

More about the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship is online.

Two Top Undergraduate Scientists

Two University of Maine seniors have been awarded Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The UMaine honors students, Gwendolyn Beacham of Farmington, Maine, a biochemistry major, and Julia Sell of Cushing, Maine, a physics major, were among 2,000 students nationwide selected from among 16,500 applicants in the 2015 competition.

This fall, Beacham will enter the Ph.D. track at Cornell University in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology. Sell will pursue a Ph.D. in experimental condensed matter physics at the University of Maryland.

Beacham is UMaine’s 2015 valedictorian and the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture. She received the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, a national award given to rising undergraduate juniors and seniors in the STEM fields, and the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship to study abroad in spring 2014 at University College Cork in Ireland. At UMaine, Beacham has been involved in the national Phage Genomics Program, sponsored by Howard Hughes Medical Institute, by taking the UMaine honors course in phage genomics, and she interned at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, an affiliate of Cornell University, and the MDI Biological Laboratory.

Beacham’s research focuses on mycobacteriophages, which are viruses that infect bacteria of the genus Mycobacterium. She is studying a particular phage named Ukulele that was isolated at UMaine in the Phage Genomics course Beacham took in her first year. Her project focuses on identifying which genes encode the proteins that are involved in regulating Ukulele’s life cycles. Her numerous awards for research and academic achievement include fellowships from UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research, and research fellowships from the Maine IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE).

Sell is an undergraduate researcher at UMaine’s Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology, where she has studied the structural and electrical stability of Pt-ZrB2 nanolaminate thin films at temperatures above 1800 degrees F. The films have potential use as electrical contacts in a new generation of microelectronics that enhance the reliability and safety of high-temperature machinery, such as jet engines and industrial power plants.

Sell participated in NSF’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at UMaine. Her numerous awards for research and academic achievement include fellowships from UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Bath Iron Works scholarships, and the 2015 Edith Patch Award.

NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period ($34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution) for graduate study that leads to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree in science or engineering, according to the NSF announcement of the awards.

Since 1952, NSF has provided fellowships to individuals selected early in their graduate careers based on their demonstrated potential for significant achievements in science and engineering. The Graduate Research Fellowship Program is part of NSF’s overall strategy to develop the globally engaged workforce necessary to ensure the nation’s leadership in advancing science and engineering research and innovation.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Image Description: Beacham

Image Description: Sells

Fresh and Safe

The University of Maine has been awarded two food safety competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), including a $4.9 million, five-year award to improve processing technologies to enhance the safety and quality of fresh produce and low-moisture foods, such as raw grains, spices, seeds and nuts. The awarded projects are led by Vivian Wu, professor of microbiology and food safety in the School of Food and Agriculture.

UMaine was one of 36 universities nationwide to receive a total of $19 million in awards from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), including more than $6.7 million for antimicrobial resistance strategies. The grants focus on research to ensure a safe, nutritious food supply and maintain American agricultural competitiveness, according to the announcement by the USDA.

Wu receives a two-year, $150,000 grant to improve food safety through use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the invasion and localization of pathogens in plants. MRI technology, the same used in medical radiology to visualize internal structures in detail, has the potential to provide more accurate information when compared to the traditional microbiological methods.

This new project is expected to develop a novel, noninvasive method using MRI to better determine and understand the internalization of pathogens — first, in produce, and eventually in live animals. The MRI detection system could inform pre-harvest interventions to reduce internalized contamination, meeting USDA/NIFA’s goal to reduce food-borne illness and deaths through a safer food supply.

This year, Wu receives the first year funding, $900,000, as first position of the $4.9 million, five-year research project she leads, focused on enhancing the safety and quality of fresh produce and low-moisture foods by waterless, nonthermal technologies. The focus is on the effectiveness and mechanisms of inactivating bacterial, viral and parasitic pathogens using light and gaseous treatments.

In recent decades, there has been a significant increase in the consumption of produce and low-moisture foods, such as nuts, cereals and spices, which are susceptible to contamination by pathogens, from pre- to post-harvest. The challenge for food scientists is to develop new technologies that will improve the safety and extend the shelf life of food products without compromising safety or sensory properties.

Unless they are fresh fruits and vegetables consumed raw, most foods are thermally preserved or cooked at high temperatures. Nonthermal treatments allow for the processing of foods below the temperatures used during pasteurization and canning, causing minimal changes in flavor and quality while removing pathogens.

This project will investigate the emerging nonthermal technologies, such as decontaminating lights, gaseous treatment and cold plasma (ionized atmospheric air) — processes used on an industrial scale for manufacturing of electronics and medical instruments. Wu’s team will use combinations of technologies to optimize product quality and inactivate pathogens, with a goal of commercializing the process.

With the technology transfer to industry, it is expected that processors will spend less money on energy inputs — energy for heat, water and chemicals — passing the savings on the consumer.

With the increasing outbreaks associated with fresh produce and low-moisture foods, the ability to provide effective microbiological control will be critical to maintaining consumer confidence in the agricultural and food industries, both in the United States and with international trading partners.

This five-year project led by Wu is built on the collaborative efforts of UMaine, USDA ARS Eastern Regional Research Center, University of Delaware, Ohio State University and Virginia Tech.

Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

RiSE Center Hosts Collaborative Student Science Summit

More than 200 students in grades 6–9 throughout the state will take part in an out-of-this-world collaborative engineering design challenge Saturday, April 11, at the University of Maine.

Hosted by the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education at the University of Maine (RiSE Center), the 2015 Student Summit encourages participants to successfully transport a “life-form” through explorations on an earthquake-ridden planet in another solar system. Student engineering teams will share ideas and design solutions to accomplish the challenge, which will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Estabrooke Hall.

“The student summit is a chance for my students to experience being on a college campus while also working with students from other schools on a space-related engineering design project,” says Amy Taylor, ninth grade science teacher at Hermon High School and one of the lead organizers of the Summit.

“As teachers, we value the chance to collaborate with other science teachers from other schools through the RiSE Center. We thought it would be cool to give our students the same opportunity to work on science with their peers from around the state.”

A total of 60 grade 6–9 physical science educators will assist at the summit and take part in a chemistry professional development session with Mitchell Bruce, UMaine associate professor.

Members of Kappa Delta Pi, an International Honor Society in Education at UMaine, and students in the Master of Science Teaching (MST) Program at UMaine will volunteer at the event.

Teachers of participating students have been engaged with Maine Physical Sciences Partnership (MainePSP) for five years through a grant from the National Science Foundation. The partnership between UMaine and 28 school districts seeks to strengthen rural science education in Maine by supporting a professional development community for science teachers and improving science teacher recruitment, retention and preparation at UMaine.

It also seeks to advance teaching, teacher knowledge and student learning and utilizes a challenging curriculum that encourages schoolchildren to study more science. Visit for more information on the program.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Augusta Ceremony to Recognize Statewide National History Day Contest Winners

A public recognition ceremony to honor statewide winners of the 2015 National History Day competition will be held April 7 in Augusta.

The 3:30–4:30 p.m. event is hosted by the Maine State Archives, Museum and Library and will be held in the Cultural Building atrium. The free event and reception are open to the public. All National History Day students, teachers and parents are invited to tour the Maine State Museum free of charge before or after the reception.

National History Day (NHD) is an academic program that began in 1980 to promote critical thinking, research and presentation skills through project-based learning for students of all abilities. More than a half million students, working with thousand of teachers, participate in the national contest annually.

For the second year in a row, a partnership between the University of Maine and the Margaret Chase Smith Library, with support from the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Historical Society, brought the event to the UMaine campus in Orono.

More than 300 students and teachers from 36 middle and high schools took part in the contest this year. Student exhibits, papers, websites, documentaries and performances were all judged, with the top state winners becoming eligible to compete in the national contest. A list of the 2015 statewide winners is online.

Scheduled guest speakers at the ceremony include Jeff Hecker, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at UMaine; Bernard Fishman, director of the Maine State Museum; Earle G. Shettleworth Jr., Maine state historian and state historic preservation officer; and Tom Desjardin, acting commissioner of the Maine Department of Education.

Noah Binette of Berwick, Maine also will speak at the event. The Noble High School sophomore won first place in the individual exhibit category at the 2014 NHD competition at the University of Maryland in College Park. Binette was one of 47 students representing Maine at the national contest. His winning exhibit on Malaga Island will be on display at the Maine State Museum.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact the museum’s chief educator, Joanna Torow at or 287.6608.

The recognition ceremony is one of several UMaine Humanities Center events planned for 2015. Following the ceremony, members of the public are invited to attend the third annual Maine Humanities Summit at 5 p.m. at the Senator Inn in Augusta. The summit will celebrate the upcoming issue of Maine Policy Review that features expert analysis of the dynamic intersection of the humanities and public policy in Maine. Guests are invited to join the conversation and enjoy hors d’oeuvres and dinner with many of the report’s 40 authors. More information about the summit is online.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

Upcoming Humanities Issue of Maine Policy Review to be Focus of Annual Summit

The third annual Maine Humanities Summit will celebrate the upcoming issue of Maine Policy Review that features expert analysis on the dynamic intersection of the humanities and public policy in Maine.

The public is invited to join the conversation and enjoy hors d’oeuvres and dinner with three of the report’s 40 authors starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 7 at the Senator Inn in Augusta.

Ron Cantor, president of Southern Maine Community College; Sheila Jans, cultural development consultant and founder of CultureWorth; and Jessica Skwire Routhier, coordinator of the Maine Photo Project and past president of the Maine Archives & Museums, will recap their MPR articles and make brief remarks to spark discussion about the vital role of the humanities across the state.

“All of the panelists wrote strong articles for the humanities-themed MPR issue,” says Liam Riordan, a history professor and director of the UMaine Humanities Center. “Each addresses different — though related — issues, and they reflect the geographic and intellectual breadth of the humanities in Maine.”

Cantor, who wrote “Not a Big Stretch: Community College Humanities,”  earned a Ph.D. from Syracuse University in cultural foundations of education with a focus on history. His career is dedicated to partnerships for community and individual progress.

Jans founded CultureWorth, a consultancy rooted in the idea of culture as a powerful force to build better places to live. Her work is motivated by the possibilities that emerge from the intersection of arts and culture with economics. Jans wrote “The Role of the Humanities in Rural Community Development,” for the report.

Routhier, who is is an art historian, writer, editor and independent museum professional in South Portland, wrote “The Common Good: Collaboration among Cultural Institutions in Maine.”

Maine Policy Review publishes timely, independent, peer-reviewed analysis of public policy issues relevant to the state of Maine. The journal is published two times a year by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at UMaine. It is intended for a diverse audience, including state policymakers; government, business, and nonprofit leaders; students; and general readers with a broad interest in public policy. The latest issue is expected to be released in May 2015. Current and past issues are online.

The Maine Humanities Summit is co-hosted by the UMaine Humanities Center, Colby College Center for the Arts and Humanities, Maine Humanities Council and Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.

Registration to the free event is required by contacting Megan Fossa at or 859.4165. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, visit the UMaine Humanities Center’s website or contact Riordan at or 581.1913.

The summit is one of several UMaine Humanities Center events planned for 2015. A public recognition ceremony for award winners of Maine National History Day will be held 3:30–4:30 p.m. before the summit in Augusta’s Cultural Building atrium in partnership with the Maine State Archives, Museum and Library. A Maine student’s museum exhibit that won first place in the national competition in 2014 also will be on display. A list of winners of the statewide National History Day contest is online.


UMaine’s Hutchinson Center, Other Community Groups Beneficiaries of Marilyn Duane Estate

The University of Maine Hutchinson Center will receive $500,000 from the estate of Belfast, Maine resident Marilyn Duane to benefit scholarships and outreach efforts.

The gift will be one of four presented April 15 during a meeting of the Belfast Rotary Club at the Hutchinson Center. A total of $2 million is being awarded from the estate of Marilyn Duane to four organizations: UMaine’s Hutchinson Center, United Mid-Coast Charities, Belfast Rotary Club and the Boy Scouts of America.

Marilyn Johnson Duane grew up in Bangor, the daughter of Dr. Henry and Dorothy Carlton Johnson. Marilyn and her late husband, James T. Duane, retired to Belfast in 1987. James was an early computer engineer, who worked for General Electric and was a member of the Belfast Rotary Club. Marilyn was a member of the Belfast Garden Club and the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The couple strongly believed in supporting scholarships, according to attorney and friend Lee Woodward, who is handling Marilyn Duane’s estate with co-personal representative Cindy Klewin.

Marilyn was inspired by the work of UMaine alumnus James Patterson, the founding director of the Hutchinson Center and member of the Belfast Rotary, who she said opened the door for students to access quality, affordable higher education in a supportive, flexible environment. With the gift from the Marilyn Duane estate, three funds have been established:

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

APLU President to Address UMaine’s 213th Commencement on May 9

M. Peter McPherson, the president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), will receive an honorary doctorate and share remarks on May 9 at the 213th Commencement at the University of Maine.

In 1865, the University of Maine became the Maine’s land grant university and this year’s Commencement ceremonies are part of the celebration of that 150th anniversary.

McPherson will deliver a keynote address during the 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. ceremonies, and will receive his honorary degree in the morning.

“In 2015, with UMaine celebrating its 150 years of leadership in Maine and beyond, it’s particularly timely and important to have Peter McPherson join us,” said UMaine President Susan J. Hunter. “His reflections and insights will add to our anniversary observance and inform our perspective on the role of the land grant university in the 21st century.”

Since 2006, McPherson has been president of the Washington, D.C.-based APLU. The association, founded in 1887, is North America’s oldest higher education association, comprised of public research universities, land-grant institutions and universities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, Canada and Mexico. APLU is the leading research, policy and advocacy organization for public research universities like UMaine.

McPherson also chairs the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, an organization he cofounded to address agricultural production and rural income issues. He is also chair of advisory committee for HarvestPlus, an organization funded at approximately $40 million annual to research the biofortification of crops grown by workers in poor countries. Biofortification is the genetic improvement of crops to fortify them with vitamin A, iron and zinc.

From 1993–2004, McPherson served as president of his alma mater, Michigan State University. Prior to that, he was a group executive vice president with Bank of America, based in San Francisco. He also served as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). McPherson is a former chair of the board of directors of Dow Jones and Company, publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745


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