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Posted By Caroline Moore On November 30, 2009 @ 2:55 pm In | Comments Disabled
I hope each of you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving break. This semester has gone by quickly, and it seems amazing that finals are only three weeks away. Even though we are dealing with some significant challenges these days, there has been no decline in the steady flow of achievements attributable to members of the UMaine community.
We were most pleased last month to accept a generous gift from UMaine graduate Pete Correll and his wife, Ada Lee. The Corrells have donated $2 million, which we will use to enhance academic programs, especially important in light of budget issues. The money will support faculty positions in energy and early literacy, along with graduate assistantships and scholarships in all the UMaine colleges. Pete and Ada Lee are wonderful UMaine benefactors, and this gift will have a meaningful impact.
Two more recent alums also visited campus during November, to speak with our students and others about their work and achievements. Lori Cole is a 1997 engineering physics graduate who works as a Walt Disney World audio engineer. She gave a Dept. of Physics and Astronomy talk about her work, which involves a series of complex, interrelated elements all aimed at delivering a quality experience to Disney World visitors. Gary Clegg, the UMaine graduate who invented the Slanket — the original blanket with sleeves — also returned to UMaine to discus his innovation and his successful business at the Foster Student Innovation Center. Gary came up with the idea for the Slanket on a cold night in Knox Hall when he was an undergraduate student, and his success is a good example for our student innovators to follow.
Another alum, 1984 graduate Paul Tukey, also visited UMaine in November for a showing of his new documentary film, “A Chemical Reaction.” Paul is a former Home and Garden television host and the creator of “People, Places and Plants” magazine. He founded Safelawns.org, an international coalition of for-profit and non-profit organizations promoting environmentally friendly lawn care and resource conservation.
For the second consecutive year, the Maine Business School in UMaine’s College of Business, Public Policy and Health has been identified as being one of the top 700 business schools in the world by Eduniversal, a Paris-based educational consulting organization. Eduniversal rates more than 20,000 institutions, and this ranking puts the UMaine school among the top four percent in the world.
Another highly regarded organization with an international profile, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), has selected UMaine for membership. UCAR, with its associated National Center for Atmospheric Research, works to create collaborative research related to the Earth’s atmosphere and related systems. UCAR selected UMaine because of the Climate Change Institute’s international prominence in climate science, and this is a truly meaningful distinction for UMaine.
November also featured a series of presentations and other achievements involving UMaine faculty and staff members:
- Dean John Mahon from UMaine’s College of Business, Public Policy and Health has once again been recognized for his scholarly work. The Academy of Business Disciplines gave John and a collaborator its Outstanding Achievement Award for Best Research Paper for their study of “Corporate Social Responsibility in Professional Sports: An Analysis of the NBA, NFL and MLB.”
- Political science professor emeritus Ken Palmer gave a well-received lecture on “Maine’s Paradoxical Politics,” part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Maine Heritage Lecture Series.
- Associate provost and graduate dean Dan Sandweiss, who is also a renowned archaeologist, gave a talk, “The Prehistory of El Niño in Ancient Peru,” sponsored by the UMaine Climate Change Institute and Hudson Museum.
- Congratulations to Karen Boucias and everybody else involved in UMaine’s Office of International Programs on the success of Culturefest, UMaine’s popular annual celebration of cultures, customs and foods from around the world. More than 1,000 visitors attend Culturefest each year, to learn about the 70 or so countries represented in our community.
- Prof. Ivan Fernandez, UMaine’s 2007 Distinguished Maine Professor, has been appointed to serve for three years on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Advisory Council on Clean Air Compliance. Ivan has great expertise in this area, and his service will certainly have an important impact on environmental policy.
- Paul Mayewski, director of UMaine’ Climate Change Institute, recently delivered a science keynote address and served in other important roles at a Chilean conference that resulted in “The Magellan Declaration – A call for action on regional climate change and biodiversity research.” This initiative is particularly significant to climate change research in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Thanks to Mary Cathcart, Dara McIntire and everybody else in UMaine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center for their good work in managing the center’s Distinguished Policy Fellows program, which brings Maine policy leaders to UMaine for day-long visits through which they learn about UMaine teaching, research and engagement activities. Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree was the most recent participant.
- School of Forest Resources professor Rob Lillieholm has played a major role in research collaborations related to studying development, habitat and climate change as they relate to wildlife in Kenya’s Nairobi National Park. That research was recently featured on the CBS News program “60 Minutes.”
- Prof. Craig Mason from the UMaine College of Education and Human Development has been elected to the executive committee for the advisory board to the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The board, known as the External Partners Group, works with the center on issues related to child development, the prevention of birth defects and developmental disorders/disabilities, and quality of life among people with physical and/or mental disabilities,
- We were also fortunate to host indigenous scholar Oren Lyons, a professor emeritus from State University of New York at Buffalo. Oren is a member of the Onondaga Nation and he served as a UMaine Visiting Libra Diversity Professor working with the Division of Lifelong Learning and Wabanaki Center. He is a nationally recognized expert on issues related to Native American culture and history, the environment and human rights. It was an honor to have him in our community for several days last month.
A couple of UMaine student groups have also had some recent successes. Seven Animal and Veterinary Sciences students brought home several awards from the recent Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge in Glens Falls, NY. Abby Arena from Stetson, Michael MacPhail of Minnetonka, Minn. and Brittany Brackett from Greenbush were among those to receive recognition. The students now prepare for the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge this spring in Visalia, Calif. Faculty member Steve Kimball, graduate student MaryJean Jones and undergraduate students Ian Biggers and Kendra Mooers recently attended the fall meeting of the Northeastern Section of the Mathematics Association of America in Springfield, Mass. That meeting included presentations by mathematics faculty and students from around New England, mathematical workshops and a student problem-solving competitions.
While we are on the subject of students, I would like to thank Owen McCarthy and Ross Wolland for their oustanding leadership of UMaine Student Government over the past year. I also wish their successors, Brian Harris and Nyssa Gactombe, the best as they take over Student Government’s presidency and vice-presidency, respectively.
In the midst of all this good news, we also have the Academic Program Prioritization Working Group (APPWG) working hard on academic program review, and people all across UMaine working to deal with the challenges related to our budget concerns. I would like to remind everybody that an open forum on the APPWG process is scheduled for Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in 100 Corbett Business Building. More details, including the discussion parameters for that meeting, are online at http://www.umaine.edu/achievingsustainability .
It’s certainly a busy time for all of us, but I do hope you have ample opportunity to enjoy family and friends during the holiday season. In that spirit, I am pleased to invite you to a holiday open house at the president’s home on Wednesday Dec. 9 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. I hope to see you there.
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