While May was a bittersweet month, ranging from the wonderful Commencement ceremonies to the difficult budget reduction announcement, I am pleased to write to share a few thoughts about the past few weeks at UMaine.
Let me begin by saying how much I appreciate the hard work of all those who had a hand in planning and executing those commencement ceremonies. Wanda Madden-Carr from the provost’s office deserves special recognition for overseeing the process, but it takes dozens of people to stage an event of that magnitude and I thank everybody who played some role. I also thank Prof. Louis Hall and the UMaine Ceremonial Brass for the excellent musical accompaniment including, fittingly and for the first time, Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” which signaled the entry of the Class of 2009. That was a nice touch, much appreciated by those in attendance, including the graduates.
The Academic Honors Convocation, which precedes commencement by one day, is another annual highlight at UMaine. As always, convocation this year featured recognition of the four winners of the annual top faculty awards. I think that we made four excellent choices this year:
- Prof. James Acheson, UMaine Alumni Association Distinguished Maine Professor
- Dean Kathryn Olmstead, Presidential Public Service Achievement Award
- Prof. Len Kass, Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award
- Prof. Owen Smith, Presidential Research and Creative Services Award
UMaine has an incredible faculty, so we know that those who are chosen for special recognition have done extraordinary work. Similarly, our annual professional and classified staff awards recognize outstanding contributions. I am pleased to recognize those chosen this year for UMaine’s outstanding employee awards:
- Doreen Thibodeau, Outstanding Classified Employee Award
- Carol Rickards, Outstanding Classified Employee Award
- Martha Kelly, Outstanding Professional Employee Award
- Nancy Boyington, Outstanding Professional Employee Award
Congratulations to Doreen, Carol, Martha and Nancy on this well-deserved recognition.
Prestigious honors have come to several other members of the UMaine community in recent weeks, as well. A few examples:
- Andrea Hauck and Dominick Varney of UMaine’s Explorations Program received Excellence in Advising Awards from the National Association of Academic Advisors at a recent meeting in New York.
- The University of Maine Patrons of the Arts organization honored Collins Center for the Arts Executive Director John Patches with its annual Vincent A. Hartgen Award for outstanding work in advancing the arts at UMaine.
- Catherine Schmitt, communications coordinator at UMaine Sea Grant, received an Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) in Agricultural, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences silver award for her book, “A Coastal Companion: A Gulf of Maine Almanac, from Cape Cod to Canada.”
- Prof. Al Bushway from UMaine’s Dept. of Food Science and Human Nutrition has been selected as an Institute of Food Technologists Fellow, for his ongoing work in industry collaborations related to food processing and food safety. Nominees to become fellows have usually been IFT members for at least 15 years and have exceptional track records of contributions to the field.
- UMaine history professor Howard Segal has been honored by the Henry Ford Heritage Association with its annual book award for his book, “Recasting the Machine Age: Henry Ford’s Village Industries.” Howard has also been in demand from the news media to share historical perspectives on the current issues facing the U.S. automotive industry.
- I was also pleased to note that Scott Anchors from the UMaine Business School faculty has been selected as the 2009 recipient of the Association of Psychological Type International’s Gordon Lawrence Educational Achievement Award, for his work and research involving the Myers Briggs type Indicator. Scott is a renowned expert on Myers Briggs, and this award recognizes his exceptional work in that area.
Congratulations to Stephen Gilson, professor of interdisciplinary disability studies and social work, for being chosen by the UMaine psychology department to present its first annual Stanley Sue Distinguished Diversity Lecture. Created by the diversity committee in the department’s doctoral training program, the lecture honors Stanley Sue, a a University of California-Davis professor recognized as a pioneer in the study of diversity as it relates to clinical psychology.
Mary Cathcart, senior policy associate in UMaine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, was the commencement speaker at the University of Maine at Machias on May 16. I’m told that her talk was excellent and that the UMM graduates really appreciated her insights. Mary, a former State Senator representing the Orono area, is also heading up an interesting summer initiative at UMaine, providing education and experiences for college women who may be interested in political service. UMM also honored Mary with its 2009 Distinguished Achievement Award.
Two groups of UMaine business students are just back from trips abroad, where they had opportunities to learn about international business and culture. One group, led by Dean John Mahon, visited Russia while a second contingent, with professors Rick Borgman and Paul Myer, traveled to Japan. Late in June, a contingent of MBA students will travel with Prof. Harold Daniel to study eco-tourism in Brazil’s Amazon basin. Each of these trips features an opportunity for the students to spend time with UMaine alumni who hold high-ranking professional positions in the countries they’re visiting. Photos and informative blogs from the Russia and Japan trips are online at http://mbs.maine.edu/~mba_msa/.
I’ll conclude this month’s message with an item that pleases me greatly. At its most recent meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Anne Pooler to serve as College of Education and Human Development dean. Anne has served as interim dean since 2007, and I am delighted that she will continue in that important role. Anne is a Brewer native with two graduate degrees from UMaine, and she joined the faculty in 1976. She is an extraordinarily capable leader who has been a cornerstone of the UMaine academic community for many years. I am certain that
she will be a most effective dean, and I look forward to continuing to work with her in that capacity.
I hope each of you is looking forward to the warm weather and a beautiful Maine summer.
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