Go Blue Archive - January 2009
When one year ends and another begins, most of us pause to reflect and to look forward to the year ahead. That is perhaps more true than ever as we transition to 2009 with the hope of better things to come in terms of our national and state economy, unrest and violence around the world, and the general malaise that accompanies difficult times. While UMaine, like every other public institution, faces its share of challenges, I continue to be optimistic about our university and its future. We have a committed, talented, hard-working faculty and staff that are second to none and — as the calendar turns to 2009 — I am most grateful for the immense contributions of each member of our community. Let me provide a few December highlights here, along with a reminder that more UMaine achievements are highlighted at www.umaine.edu/insideumaine.
Congratulations to Lu Zeph, director of UMaine’s Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies and a member of UMaine’s education faculty, on a recent award for the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). That organization recognized Lu for six years of outstanding service on its board of directors, including a year as president. AUCD, like UMaine, has benefited greatly from Lu’s expertise and her leadership.
Several other UMaine faculty members have also been noted for their scholarly work in the past few weeks.
Sara Lindsay from UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences faculty was featured in a recent edition of Scientific American for her work creating scientific images of tiny marine worms using confocal microscopy. These images, which Sara uses to create three-dimensional pictures, were recognized in competitions sponsored by Nikon and Olympus.
Speaking of microscopes, professors Sam Hess and Julie Gosse. along with research scientist Manasa Gudheti and graduate students Travis Gould and Mudalige Gunewardene, have created a new microscope system that allows for new ways of looking at the molecular structures of cells. This system allows scientists to gain new insights into the ways viruses interface with cells, allowing infection to occur. This kind of innovation has potentially significant ramifications for human health. This research, which also involves colleagues in new York and Maryland, was published in the journal Nature Methods.
Another scientific journal article, published in the Public Library of Science’s PLOS Pathogens, details research by UMaine microbiology professor Robert Wheeler and colleagues at MIT’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. They have made significant progress in studies related to infections caused by the fungus Candida albicans,. This research has clinical significance because those infections kill more than 30 percent of those it infects.
Congratulations to University of Maine Press Director Michael Alpert and all those involved with the recent publication of the first-ever Passamaquoddy-Maliseet dictionary. UMaine hosted an Honoring Ceremony in recognition of the release of the book on Dec. 10. More than 30 years in the making, this invaluable Native language source represents a wonderful achievement for all involved in its development and creation.
Another scholarly effort, this one centered at UMaine’s Canadian American Center, has received a good deal of attention during the past several days. Senior Cartographer Michael Hermann, working with a colleague at Ohio University, has created a 40-inch by 60-inch bilingual map, “They Would Not Take Me There: People, Places, and Stories from Champlain’s Travels in Canada, 1603-1616.” The map which describes the 13 years, during the 1600s, when Champlain traveled in the St. Lawrence River valley looking for the Northwest Passage. Prof. Ray Pelletier also worked on the project, providing translation.
Coordinated and hosted by UMaine’s Hudson Museum, the annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Sale and Demonstration was a great success once again this year. This was the 15th year UMaine has hosted this interesting event, which also features great opportunities for participants to learn more about our state’s culture and history. For the second year, with the Maine Center for the Arts under construction, the event was held in UMaine’s Student Recreation and Fitness Center.
That facility has been recognized with another award for its design and functionality. The Rec Center is one of ten building projects from throughout the U.S. and Canada to receive a 2008 Athletic Business Facility of Merit Award from Athletic business Magazine. This is the seventh, and most prestigious, design award for this building since it opened in August 2007.
It was a genuine pleasure for me to participate in the recent dedication of the Burt Hatlen Seminar Room in Neville Hall. This wonderful facility will provide a real boost to the National Poetry Foundation and the English Department. It provides a fitting tribute to Burt, whose legacy is assured by the excellent work of his many UMaine friends and colleagues, so many of whom point to him as a role model and mentor.
The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center’s Distinguished Policy Fellows program continues to provide wonderful opportunities for UMaine to host political and policy leaders on campus. Rep. Joshua Tardy, a UMaine graduate who serves as GOP leader in the Maine House, visited in December and spent the day meeting with students and others while learning first-hand about some of the ways UMaine is working to help improve the state’s economy. Mary Cathcart does a wonderful job organizing this program and those who visit always tell us how much they have benefited from the experience.
Congratulations to Prof. Chip Farnham, his School of Performing Arts colleagues and the UMaine Symphonic Band for a well-received joint concert with the Bangor High School Band at that school’s Peakes Auditorium. The concert also provided the opportunity to welcome back saxophonist Christopher Strange, a University of Kentucky doctoral candidate who graduated from UMaine in 2001. His presence, and the concert itself, presented a nice way for UMaine faculty and students to demonstrate to area young people the opportunities that come with studying in the arts at UMaine.
My thanks go to all the student and faculty/staff organizations that worked so hard during the holiday season to assist the many community service agencies that do such wonderful work in the local area. We are fortunate to be surrounded by so many kind and caring people, and we can take great pride in the role UMaine’s people play in making life a little easier for our friends and neighbors. One outstanding example was the work of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) in coordinating a Toys for Tots effort, collecting gifts for area children at several home games.
For the second consecutive year, bragging rights go to UMaine’s Navy ROTC cadets, who beat the Army ROTC in a flag football game just days before the service academies squared off in their traditional contest. The UMaine cadets play inside UMaine’s Mahaney Dome, at 6 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, but we’re told that spirits are high and the competition is fierce but friendly — despite the lack of national television coverage!
While we certainly have some challenges ahead as we work together to deal with our budget realities, we can all be encouraged by the fact that there is so much excellence in our midst. As I prepare these messages each month, I take great pride in our community’s achievements and I appreciate that each of you contributes in a meaningful way.
With best wishes for a Happy New Year,