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With Ties to Maine

The University of Maine Museum of Art will celebrate the university’s 150th anniversary with an exhibit that features work by internationally recognized artists with strong connections to Maine who have contributed to the state’s artistic history.

“With Ties to Maine” will run from June 19 to September 19 and will showcase more than 20 pieces from the museum’s permanent collection in a wide range of media in primarily 2-D forms such as paintings and photos. A few of the works have belonged to the university since 1948, two years after the collection was founded.

The exhibition will display pieces created by artists including John Marin, Andrew Wyeth, Alex Katz, Berenice Abbott and Neil Welliver who spent significant time in Maine and were inspired by its natural beauty and unique sense of place.

“With Ties to Maine” reflects UMaine’s long history of collecting while sharing the university’s cultural resources with Maine residents and visitors, says George Kinghorn, the museum’s director and curator.

“Maine has such a rich, artistic history,” Kinghorn says. “The museum is delighted to share works by artists who have put Maine on the map internationally.”

Throughout history, Maine has been a destination of creativity for artists who seek refuge in the state for its distinct landscape and lack of outside distractions that allow for contemplative reflection, Kinghorn says, citing Marin and Abbott who set up studios in Maine.

The exhibition also recognizes the support of museum donors throughout the years, such as philanthropists and Bangor residents Adeline and Caroline Wing. The sisters provided some of the museum’s earliest gifts, including “On Bar Island,” a 1946 watercolor by Wyeth gifted to the museum in 1948, which will be included in the show.

Marin’s “A Bit of Cape Split, Maine,” a 1940 watercolor on paper donated by Norma and John C. Marin Jr. in 1957, also will be displayed. Cape Split is located along Maine’s coast in Washington County where Marin had a studio with ocean views, according to Kinghorn.

For photography, works by Abbott, who Kinghorn calls one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, will be on display. Abbott’s photographs documented the rapidly changing architecture of New York City in the 1930s. When Abbott moved to the rural Blanchard, Maine in the 1960s, she began taking photos of Maine’s people, sights and industries Kinghorn says.

Art by contemporary artists, such as Katz and Welliver, who have considered Maine home either full or part time will be included.

UMaine’s growing permanent collection contains more than 3,800 pieces that include realism, pop art, abstract expressionism and cubism, with a concentration in original prints and photography. The collection features artwork created since 1900 with an emphasis on contemporary art (1945–present).

The university’s art collection was established in 1946 by founding museum director and UMaine art professor Vincent Hartgen. The collection became a museum in the 1980s and has been located in downtown Bangor for more than a decade, extending UMaine’s reach and service to the community in keeping with the land grant mission of the university, Kinghorn says, adding the collection belongs to Maine residents.

Art from the museum’s permanent collection — Abbott’s New York City and Maine photos — will be included in a Portland Museum of Art exhibition that runs from May 21 to September 20.

“Directors’ Cut: Selections from the Maine Art Museum Trail,” will present highlights of Maine’s art history from the state’s most-renowned museums. More about Directors’ Cut is on the PMA website.

The University of Maine Museum of Art is open to the public 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Free admission to the museum throughout 2015 is made possible by Penobscot Financial Advisors. More information about the museum is online.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

UMaine Researchers Help Forge Planktonic Frontier

University of Maine oceanographers are part of a collaborative international team studying the microscopic world of plankton. During expeditions from 2009 to 2013 aboard Tara, researchers collected 35,000 samples from the world’s oceans.

Data generated from the samples are providing unprecedented resources — including a catalog of several million new genes — expected to transform how oceans are studied and establish a global-scale baseline to evaluate the impact of climate changes on oceanic ecosystems.

In five articles in a special issue of Science to be published May 22, the interdisciplinary team maps the biodiversity of a range of planktonic organisms, exploring their interactions and how they impact and are affected by their environment, primarily temperature.

“The resources we’ve generated will allow us and others to delve even deeper, and finally begin to really understand the workings of this invisible world,” says Chris Bowler from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).

“The finding that temperature shapes which species are present, for instance, is especially relevant in the context of climate change, but to some extent this is just the beginning,” says Bowler.

Tara is a 118-foot-long, 33-foot-wide, 120-ton research vessel operated by Tara Expeditions Foundation. Scientists from around the world collect samples from the Earth’s oceans to understand climate change and to explain it simply.

“To act in ecology we shall have to relinquish our individualist world. It is the key. This is what we attempted and accomplished on Tara. A team’s work at the service of the planet,” says Tara Foundation President Etienne Bourgois on the website.

UMaine oceanographers Emmanuel Boss and Lee Karp-Boss are part of the science team and participated in six expedition legs. UMaine doctoral student Alison Chase took part in a four-week research venture from France to Norway during the summer 2013 Tara Oceans Polar Circle expedition.

Also, Ivona Cetinić, research associate at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center, participated in the Tara Oceans Polar Circle expedition. And Tom Leeuw, who earned a master’s degree in oceanography at UMaine in 2014, took part in month-long projects aboard Tara in both the Polar Circle and Mediterranean.

Collaboration, say Boss, Karp-Boss and Chase, is one of several reasons why they relish taking part in the research aboard Tara and contributing to science.

Boss was chief scientist during two legs aboard Tara — in December 2011–January 2012 from Panama City, Florida to Savannah, Georgia and in 2013 in the Western Arctic. In 2014, he conducted research in the Mediterranean Sea during a voyage from Cyprus to Malta. His lab installed a system aboard Tara that collected optical data about ocean particles from 2009 to 2013.

Karp-Boss served as chief scientist on voyages from Chile to Easter Island in 2011, from New York to Bermuda in 2012 (she spoke with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon prior to the trip), and in the Siberian Arctic in 2013.

Boss and Karp-Boss brought NASA to the project, earning a grant to collect biogeochemical information. They examined ocean color, composition and pigments of surface particles, including plankton, in relation to optical properties — light absorption, attenuation, fluorescence and backscattering.

NASA uses the information to develop algorithms for, and verify data from, satellites that observe the same water.

Karp-Boss says she values meeting and working with international colleagues who have expertise in other disciplines. The articles published May 22 are the result of the hard work of different teams and just scratch the surface of the rich data set, she says.

Boss says he appreciates Tara’s emphasis on raising awareness about environmental issues and the opportunity he and other scientists have to interact with schoolchildren who board the vessel at each port.

Aboard Tara, an ecosystems biology approach is used. Researchers systematically sample the world’s oceans across all domains of life, from viruses to animals, and collect a rich variety of environmental information.

Ocean plankton — microscopic beings that drift on the upper layer of the oceans — are as crucial to life on Earth as the rainforest ecosystem, say researchers. Ocean plankton produce half of the planet’s oxygen, absorb and store carbon, influence the weather and are the base of the ocean food web that sustains the larger fish and marine mammals.

“Beyond the cutting-edge science that was developed thanks to our collaborative work with the Tara Expeditions Foundation, this adventure is also about showing people all over the world how important the ocean is for our own well-being,” says Eric Karsenti, director of Tara Oceans, from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and CNRS.

What’s in the plankton?

Scientists captured viruses, microbes and microscopic eukaryotes — organisms with complex cells, from single-cell algae to fish larvae — from major oceanic regions and compiled the genetic material into comprehensive resources now available to the scientific community for additional study.

“This is the largest DNA sequencing effort ever done for ocean science: analyses revealed around 40 million genes, the vast majority of which are new to science, thus hinting towards a much broader biodiversity of plankton than previously known,“ says Patrick Wincker from Genoscope, CEA.

EMBL’s high-performance computing was essential in compiling the comprehensive catalog, estimated to be derived from more than 35,000 different species whose genomic content had previously been mostly unknown to scientists.

“In terms of eukaryotes, we sequenced nearly a billion genetic barcodes and found that there is a greater variety of single-cell eukaryotes in plankton than was thought,” says Colomban de Vargas from CNRS. “They appear to be much more diverse than bacteria or animals, and most belong to little-known groups.”

How do planktonic organisms interact?

Researchers used novel computer models to predict how diverse planktonic organisms interact. Predictions were confirmed via selective microscopy observations.

“When we mapped how planktonic organisms — from viruses to small animal larvae — interact with each other, we discovered that most of those interactions are parasitic, recycling nutrients back down the food chain,” says Jeroen Raes from VIB, KU Leuven and Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

This map is a first step toward a better understanding of the dynamics and structure of the global marine ecosystem.

Are planktonic organisms distributed evenly in the oceans?

In addition, scientists studied how environmental factors — including temperature, pH, and nutrients — influence microscopic organisms floating in the ocean.

“We found that, at depths still reached by sunlight, temperature was the main factor that influences the composition of prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) communities,” says Peer Bork from EMBL. “Different sets of organisms come together depending on the water temperature.”

Chase conducted data analyses that supported scientists who showed the Agulhas “rings” — a natural barrier that draws the line between the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic — separate plankton communities.

“It’s like plankton goes through a cold wash cycle at the tip of South Africa,” says Daniele Iudicone from Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn. “The current forms huge swirls that drastically mix and cool the plankton riding it, thus limiting the number of species that manage to cross.”

Chase, from Canterbury, New Hampshire, was a UMaine graduate student during the 2013 Tara Oceans Polar Circle expedition. She says operating instruments below deck in the dry lab helped build her confidence as a researcher in the field.

“I like the international collaborative component,” says Chase, who expects to earn her Ph.D. in oceanography in 2017. “We’re all a part of something bigger and contributing to a broader understanding of the planet we live on and to the momentum and effort of sustaining our life here.”

Matthew Sullivan from the University of Arizona says, “In addition, we now also have a global picture of marine virus communities, which allows us to confirm an idea that had been proposed a decade ago, but never proven. Viruses are produced in local ‘seed banks’ and then ride the ocean currents, so you end up with different cocktails of viruses in different places, even though the overall diversity of viruses in the oceans appears quite limited.”

Understanding the distribution and interactions of the plankton across the oceans will be useful for predictive models necessary to study climate change, the scientists say.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Volunteers, Cheer Stations Sought for Black Bear Marathon

Organizers of the University of Maine’s inaugural Black Bear Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K are seeking volunteers to assist on race day and at packet pickup, as well as host cheer stations along the route.

The races begin at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, June 21 and will start and finish on the UMaine track located at the Harold Alfond Stadium. Runners will be broadcast over the video scoreboard when they cross the finish line.

The 26.2-mile course is a double loop of the 13.1-mile course that begins on campus and travels around Orono and Old Town and back through the university’s bike path. The marathon will be a certified course, which gives runners the opportunity to qualify for larger races, such as the Boston Marathon. A 10K race also has been added to the lineup for those who like to race shorter distances.

A race expo and packet pickup will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 20 at the New Balance Field House. The expo will feature sponsor and vendor tables. Race packets also will be available at the UMaine track from 6–7:15 a.m. on race day.

Registration for the full and half marathon, as well as the 10K, is online. Registration for the 10K will close at the end of the expo.

Those interested in volunteering for the race at packet pickup or on the course can register online or email Lisa Morin at

Race organizers also are recruiting cheer squads for the course and will supply noisemakers and poster board for any group interested in encouraging the runners.

Residents who live along the course and host a cheer station can aid runners by putting a hose on spray mode over the course; handing out paper cups with water, ice (while wearing plastic gloves) or unwrapped Popsicles; playing loud music on a stereo or instrument; or ringing bells, using noisemakers, shouting and holding signs.

To be listed as an official race cheer station, contact race director Lauri Sidelko at or 581.1423.

On-campus housing is available for runners, volunteers and spectators. Single rooms are $75 and double rooms are $55. Cots can be added to double rooms for $15 each. Double room occupants can register together or be assigned a roommate. Housing registration is online.

A pasta dinner will be held from 5–7 p.m. Saturday, June 20 at Wells Conference Center. Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for children, and can be purchased online.

More about the race is on the Black Bear Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K website and Facebook event page. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact race directors Sidelko at, 581.1423; or Thad Dwyer at

Part of the Legacy: UMaine Grads Reminded of Their Role in Carrying the Land Grant Mission Forward

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 reminded of their role in carrying the land grant mission forward.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Doctoral Students Study Climate Change Effects on Soil, Forest Growth

Thought you had it tough shoveling the walkway this winter?

Corianne Tatariw and Kaizad Patel cleared four 16.5-foot by 33-foot plots of land in University Forest in Old Town every time it snowed.

All in a quest for knowledge.

Tatariw and Patel are pursuing doctoral degrees in ecology and environmental science at the University of Maine. They’re researching how seasonal climatic changes from winter to spring affect soil nutrient cycling and therefore the biology, chemistry and physical characteristics of the woods.

Climate drivers of nutrient cycling are very strong in the Northeast, Patel says, and may impact how forests grow in the near future. Project findings, he says, could be interesting to forest managers, as well as to agriculture specialists.

Tatariw and Patel came to the project with different specialties.

Tatariw, who earned her undergraduate degree at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and her master’s at the University of Alabama, is fascinated by microbial ecology.

While microbes — the oldest forms of life on Earth — are invisible outside of the lab, “these tiny machines can do anything and we’re able to live on the planet because of microbes,” says Tatariw, from Herndon, Virginia.

“They drive everything that’s going on.”

Patel, of Mumbai, India, earned his undergraduate degree in pharmacy at the University of Mumbai. He switched to environmental studies and became interested in soils while pursuing his Master of Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I enjoy working outdoors in the forest. If it’s underground, I like it. I like getting my hands dirty,” says Patel, who is examining soil nitrogen levels for the project.

In December, Tatariw and Patel measured the eight plots —four not-to-be-shoveled control plots and four plots to be shoveled to simulate the effects of warmer winters with reduced snow accumulation.

In January, they activated and buried electronic temperature data loggers. And since February, they’ve routinely been retrieving temperature data and collecting soil and snow samples to measure nutrients.

Tatariw and Patel have found soils in the “no snow” plots were significantly colder, with more soil frost, than those in the control plots. This, they say, is expected to drive changes in soil microbial processes.

Tatariw and Patel will continue to collect data samples until the end of May for the project that Patel believes is the first of its kind in Maine.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Immediate Family to Hold Nine Degrees from UMaine Following Commencement

When Margaret McCollough graduates from the University of Maine at the institution’s 213th Commencement on May 9, her immediate family will hold nine degrees from the university.

McCollough, who will earn a bachelor’s degree in sustainable agriculture, is the daughter of Catherine Elliott and Mark McCollough of Hampden, who met at UMaine in the 1980s.

Elliott, a sustainable living specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, came to UMaine in 1980 to pursue a master’s degree in wildlife management, which she completed in 1983. As a student, she met her now-husband, Mark McCollough, who also was working on a master’s in wildlife management, which he earned in 1982.

The pair stayed at UMaine to complete their doctoral degrees in wildlife. Mark McCollough earned his Ph.D. in 1986 and Elliott earned hers a year later.

In 2011, the couple’s son Aaron McCollough completed a bachelor’s degree in computer and electrical engineering while also a student of the Honors College. He continued at UMaine to earn a master’s degree in computer engineering in 2013. While pursuing that degree, he became engaged to Morgan Burke, who completed her bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology in 2012 and brought the family’s degree total to seven.

Margaret McCollough’s boyfriend Garth Douston, who she also met at UMaine, has a bachelor’s degree in sustainable agriculture, which he earned in 2014. With Margaret McCollough’s graduation, the family will hold nine UMaine degrees among six members.

“Margaret’s graduation will be wonderful,” her mother says. “Going to college was not at the top of her list of things to do when she completed high school, so having her graduate from a program she has loved is incredible. And to have had her at UMaine for the past four years has been icing on the cake. We are very proud of her.”

Margaret McCollough says she hadn’t planned to go to college after graduating from high school. She worked for a summer on a couple of farms out west before she discovered that UMaine had a sustainable agriculture program. She decided it was time to make a change and came back to enroll in the program that fall semester.

The program provided her with opportunities to network and build relationships with those already working in agriculture throughout Maine, she says.

“To be a good farmer you have to have a good working understanding of multiple disciplines. It won’t happen for you just out of a love of nature and an ability to do physical work. UMaine has provided me with a breadth of knowledge and analytical skills that will certainly serve me well as I work to build both a sustainable and profitable farm,” Margaret McCollough says.

Margaret McCollough and Douston now run Sweet Thyme Farm in Arundel, Maine. This past summer was the pair’s first season. They planted about 1.5 acres of crops and plan to add another acre this year. The farm, which has been certified by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), produces a variety of vegetables and some herbs, as well as raises ducks and chickens for eggs.

Margaret McCollough credits two student-run agricultural programs for giving her and Douston the confidence to start the farm. For two summers, Douston managed the Black Bear Food Guild, a student-run community supported agriculture (CSA) program; and she managed UMaine Greens, a winter greens production program run by student volunteers.

“Both of these programs require those students who participate to take on a lot of responsibility,” she says, adding they allow students the chance to grow at production scale while managing customers and co-workers, meeting deadlines, staying on budgets and keeping accurate records.

Margaret McCollough says UMaine has allowed herself and her family to do work that makes them happy.

“My mom, dad and older brother love the work that they do; they’re so passionate about their disciplines, and also really good at what they do,” she says. “I will feel proud to join them in doing good work in a field that I feel really passionate about. I know that my parents are really proud of my brother and I; recognizing the value in education.”

While Elliott, Margaret McCollough’s mother, was finishing her Ph.D., she was hired as a research associate in the Department of Wildlife Ecology. After graduating, she became a faculty member with UMaine Cooperative Extension. By June, Elliott will have been employed by UMaine for 29 years.

Elliott’s husband Mark McCollough works on endangered species recovery at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Ecological Services Maine Field Office in Orono.

“My parents still gather with a large group of friends that they made while studying here, and they’ve become mentors and basically extended family members to my brother and I growing up,” Margaret McCollough says.

Aaron McCollough and his fiance Burke live in Manchester, New Hampshire where Burke is pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy at Franklin Pierce University. Aaron McCollough works for L-3 Insight as an embedded software engineer. They will be relocating to Portland, Maine in June while Burke does clinical rotations to complete her degree.

Great-Great-Granddaughter of One of UMaine’s First Graduates to Earn Diploma

Five generations of the Haskell family have graduated from the University of Maine since it opened its doors in September 1868.

Edwin Haskell was first in 1872. In fact, he was one of the six men in the first-ever graduating class at the university, then called the Maine State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts.

This year, on May 9, Haskell’s great-great-granddaughter Johanna Haskell will be among the approximately 1,700 people receiving their diplomas at UMaine’s 150th anniversary year graduation.

Edwin’s focus was in elective studies. Johanna will earn her bachelor’s degree in English, with a concentration in technical writing.

“I think the UMaine legacy is a source of pride for my family,” says Johanna, adding that when she used to walk around campus she’d often think about how her parents met at the university and about how the property would have looked when Edwin studied and worked on the farm on site.

“It was a personal goal for me because of the value placed on graduating college in my family and the love of UMaine.”

Edwin’s direct descendants who graduated in the 143-year span between he and Johanna are his son, Benjamin in 1912; his grandson, Rev. Stanley Haskell in 1966; and his great-grandson, (Johanna’s father), John in 1971.

Edwin’s commencement was held at a church in Orono. Johanna will graduate in the first of two Saturday ceremonies at the multipurpose Harold Alfond Sports Arena.

For Edwin, attending school included working on the campus farm three hours a day five days per week. To gain admittance from 1868 to 1871, students had to be male, at least 15 years old and pass an exam that included arithmetic, geography, English, grammar, United States history and algebra as far as quadratic equations.

For Johanna, a licensed cosmetologist who operates a hairdressing business and is raising three children — Darcy, 6, Daphne 4, and Miles Edwin, 2, with husband Sean Tardif — attending school required excellent time management skills.

Being able to set her work schedule was key, she says, as was the support of her extended family and the opportunity to take online courses.

She credits faculty adviser Charlsye Smith Diaz, associate professor of professional and technical communication, with being a difference-maker. “She was in my corner and was so helpful and knowledgeable,” says Johanna. “She cared.”

When Edwin was a student, M.C, Fernald, professor of mathematics and physics, was acting president until Charles Allen came on board in 1871.

Johanna was a student during the administrations of three presidents — Robert Kennedy, Paul Ferguson and Susan J. Hunter, the university’s first female president.

Johanna, who graduated from Hampden Academy in 2002, first went to cosmetology school. Then she began taking college courses when she was 21 with a personal goal to earn a bachelor’s degree by age 30.

“I just sneaked in,” she laughs. “I turn 31 in August.”

She says she particularly enjoyed writing a blog about hairdressing for her senior project. “I’ve always been interested in writing and good at it and I wanted to develop that and find an application for practical professional writing,” says Johanna. “This was a good blending of my interests.”

Johanna isn’t the only Haskell family member to be a nontraditional UMaine student.

In 1966, her great-grandfather, Rev. Stanley Haskell graduated one semester before his son, Benjamin II and five years before his son, John.

Stanley, says John, worked in banking for more than two decades before attending UMaine and Bangor Theological Seminary.

Johanna’s father, John majored in music at UMaine. After earning a master’s at Boston University, the professional pianist played at venues around the world.

He says he’s extremely proud of his daughter.

“She was determined the whole way through,” John says. “I think it’s great. It’s inspiring.”

Edwin went on to found Haskell Silk Mills in Westbrook and become a trustee of the university.

Johanna says, for now, she will continue to rear her children and operate her hairdressing business. In the future, she says she may earn an advanced degree or put her technical writing skills to use.

The list of Edwin’s direct descendants who graduated from UMaine are his sons, Ralph (1905), William (1911), Benjamin (1912) and Theodore (1914); grandsons, Donald (1939), James (1944) and Stanley (1966); great-grandsons, Benjamin II (1967) and John (1971); great-great-grandchildren, AbbyLynn Haskell Campbell (1996), Rebecca Haskell Bagley (1998) and Johanna Haskell (2015).

Edwin’s great-granddaughter Elizabeth Haskell Clancy also attended UMaine but did not graduate. Two Haskell spouses also graduated from UMaine, including Benjamin II’s wife, BettyAnn Coulton Haskell (1969) and John’s former wife and Johanna’s mother, Jan Parsley (1972).

Johanna’s sister, Jessica graduated in 2003 from the University of Southern Maine.

With such a heritage at UMaine, it’s no surprise that Benjamin II and John received the 2006 Fogler Library Legacy Award from the University of Maine Alumni Association. The award is presented annually to a family with a long tradition of attending UMaine.

From UMaine’s first graduation in 1872 to its graduation in its 150th anniversary year, the Haskell family legacy is unmatched.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

UMaine Study: Hearty Exercise a Good Fit for Children with Asthma

Children with asthma can benefit from cardiovascular exercise, according to a study by University of Maine researchers.

In fact, after students ran increasingly faster 20-meter (65.6 foot) sprints for more than a year, children with the chronic lung disease performed as well as youth without breathing difficulties, says Stephen Butterfield, UMaine professor of physical education and kinesiology.

Butterfield and fellow researchers utilized the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) with 809 students (103 had mild-moderate asthma) in grades 4–8. Five times during a 15-month period, they measured the students’ cardiovascular performance when they ran 20 meters at progressively faster intervals.

“Children with asthma increased their performance on the PACER at a rate more than double that of children without asthma,” researchers wrote. “By the end of the study (month 15), performances of both groups were essentially equal. Overall, results of this study strengthen the case for cardiovascular activity for children with well-managed asthma.”

As the 9–14-year-old children with asthma developed effective pacing strategies, they likely gained confidence in their cardiovascular capabilities and the PACER is an effective tool with which to shape these capabilities, Butterfield says.

People can build cardiovascular endurance by participating in physical activities, including running, swimming, bicycling, cross-country skiing, for sustained periods of time while their hearts, lungs and muscles work overtime.

“It (cardiovascular endurance) is an essential component of health-related physical fitness,” says Butterfield. “It is clear that educators and health-care providers should counsel children with asthma, and their parents, about the benefits of cardiovascular exercise and sports with a cardiovascular component.”

UMaine researchers Craig Mason, Shihfen Tu and Robert Lehnhard, as well as MaryEllen Schaper of Bonny Eagle High School, took part in the study. Results were published in the April edition of Perceptual & Motor Skills, an independent, peer-reviewed, bimonthly journal.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

UMaine’s 213th Commencement Set for May 9

The 213th Commencement at the University of Maine will be held May 9 in Harold Alfond Sports Arena on campus.

UMaine Commencement, held in two ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., is one of the largest graduation events in the state and this year is part of the university’s 150th anniversary celebration. An estimated 1,687 undergraduate and graduate students are expected to participate.

Both ceremonies are ticketed events and live streaming will be available.

The morning ceremony includes 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 will be awarded to 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; and M. Peter McPherson, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

McPherson is the Commencement speaker for both ceremonies.

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 being honored will be 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.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Providing Climate Context

A research team that includes University of Maine scientists announced a 60,000-year-old ice core from West Antarctica reveals that ocean currents redistributed past abrupt temperature changes in the Arctic to the Antarctic, a distance of about 11,000 miles.

In addition to demonstrating a consistent link between previous sudden, rapid temperature changes in the Arctic and Antarctic, the research explains interactions of climate changes in the northern and southern hemispheres.

UMaine climate scientist Karl Kreutz took part in the project, as did then-doctoral students Bess Koffman and Dan Breton, then-master’s student Dominic Winski and undergraduate Honors student Eliza Kane. Christo Buizert from Oregon State University is the lead author of the research paper published in Nature.

The National Science Foundation-funded study shows over the course of about 200 years, ocean currents spread heat from rapid climate changes during the last ice age in the North Atlantic around Greenland to Antarctica.

The climate in Greenland was unstable during the last ice age (approximately 110,000 to 12,000 years ago) with abrupt 40- to 50-degree F temperature changes that lasted from one to five decades each. Temperature changes in Antarctica followed an opposite pattern, with Antarctica cooling when Greenland was warm, and vice versa.

Project participants say understanding how and why climate changed in the past helps scientists predict how Earth’s climate will respond to human-caused increases in greenhouse gases.

The sudden climate changes during the most recent ice age were regional and caused by large-scale changes in ocean circulation triggered by the collapse of ice sheets. Current changes in temperature and precipitation are global and primarily are caused by increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere, say researchers.

“These new results from the WAIS (West Antarctic Ice Sheet) Divide ice core are really exciting, and represent the culmination of years of work by the U.S. ice core community,” says Kreutz, a paleoclimatologist (studies the Earth’s climate history).

“The WAIS Divide ice core contains a climate record from Antarctica that has a time resolution comparable to Greenland ice cores, allowing direct comparison of abrupt temperature changes in both hemispheres during the last ice age. The finding that these abrupt climate changes started in the North Atlantic near Greenland, and took about 200 years to move to Antarctica, provides a new context for our understanding of the climate system.”

The goal of the research was to determine the relative timing of temperature changes in the Arctic and Antarctic, with a precision of several decades. To achieve this, researchers needed a climate record from the Southern Hemisphere that extended at least 60,000 years into the past and could resolve fast changes in climate.

The research team consists of 28 science and engineering groups from around the United States, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Desert Research Institute, University of New Hampshire, the U.S. National Ice Core Laboratory and University of Washington.

The team considered sites all over Antarctica before selecting the one with the best combination of thick ice (11,200 feet), simple ice flow and the right amount of annual snowfall (1.5 feet). Previously drilled ice core records from Greenland provided the detailed history of Arctic temperature change and the new ice core provides the Antarctic record necessary to make a detailed comparison.

The 4.8-inch diameter cylinders of ice that make up the 11,200-foot-long ice core were recovered at a field camp in the center of West Antarctica, 650 miles from the geographic South Pole, called WAIS Divide.

When snow falls at WAIS Divide it rarely melts. Instead, it builds up in thick annual layers, which are compressed into ice by subsequent snowfall. The compacted snow contains dust, chemicals and atmospheric gases, which are trapped in the ice. The dust and other chemicals in the ice are indicators of past climate, and the gas contained in air bubbles is a sample of the ancient atmosphere. The deeper the ice, the older it is, and the farther back in time measurements can be made.

To read the paper, visit,

Photo courtesy of Heidi Roop (

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777


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