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Posted By Caroline Moore On October 1, 2009 @ 8:00 am In | Comments Disabled
I enjoyed seeing so many of you at our recent faculty and staff breakfast meeting. As always, it was fun to get together and I enjoyed sharing some thoughts as we begin a new academic year. The text of my remarks is online here. 
Wells Conference Center is an ideal location for such an event, and I continue to be pleased by the functionality and appearance of that facility, which has added so much to our community since the renovation. The UMaine conference services staff does wonderful work, making Wells and other similar facilities premiere locations for all kinds of special events. UMaine is hosting a good deal of conference activity these days — much of it sponsored and hosted by academic units. That is a tribute to Bruce Stinson, Marlene Charron, Judy Arsenault, Debra Wright and everybody else who works to make sure that our visitors have a first-class meeting experience.
Last month, I shared the news of UMaine’s undergraduate enrollment, which is holding strong despite the demographic and economic challenges we face. Graduate enrollment numbers come into focus a little more slowly each fall, but we now know that the news is excellent. We’ve seen a significant year-to-year increase – with approximately 200 more grad students enrolled than a year ago. This says a lot about the quality of the UMaine faculty, because the opportunity to work with specific faculty members so often determines whether a student enrolls in a graduate program. Increased graduate enrollment is good for our institution on many levels, including its positive impact on our research program. This is an exciting development and I congratulate everybody involved in UMaine graduate education, including Dean Dan Sandweiss, Scott Delcourt and the staff in the UMaine Graduate School.
Graduate education was in the spotlight in mid-September, when Gov. Baldacci joined us for the annual meeting of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS). The doctoral students in the GSBS program described their work and the school’s director, Prof. Carol Kim, provided the governor with a tour. GSBS, a collaboration among Maine’s biomedical research institutions, provides great opportunities for top students to take advantage of the resources available at UMaine and our partner institutions all around the state.
Congratulations go this month to Prof. Paul Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute at UMaine. Paul has been selected to receive the International Glaciological Society Seligman Crystal, the highest honor in that field. Paul’s international reputation brings honor to the University of Maine, and this newest recognition is certainly appropriate in the context of his immense contributions to climate science.
Habib Dagher, director of UMaine’s AEWC Advanced Structures and Composites Center, has also received high-level recognition for his professional achievements. “Composites Manufacturing” magazine has identified Habib as one of that industry’s leaders. He is one of 16 people chosen from 50 nominees to receive the B.E.S.T. Award, which stands for bright, energetic, skilled trailblazers. Habib’s exemplary work in leading the AEWC operation continues to have wide-ranging impacts in several areas, including transportation, homeland security and alternative energy.
We are fortunate that one of UMaine’s most prominent and influential alumni is spending a good deal of time in our community this semester. Doug Hall, a true innovator who’s been referred to as “America’s Idea Guru,” is teaching in UMaine’s Innovation Engineering program, offering workshops on matters related to innovation and business development, and speaking to groups around our region, all to share his ideas about how to successfully turn ideas into products and services. Doug’s infectious enthusiasm and creative approach are most exciting, and I can’t help but think about what an incredible opportunity this is for the students in his class and others who take advantage of the opportunity to learn from him.
Prof. Nory Jones and others in UMaine’s Maine Business School (MBS) are really doing great things engendering a culture of ethics and social responsibility in that school. The MBS Corps is a team of students, faculty members and staff members working together to have an impact on our communities in meaningful ways. One recent example was the Komen Race for the Cure breast cancer fundraising event, where a large group from the MBS Corps raised more than $1,000 to help fight that disease. Other UMaine groups and individuals also participated in that great event, giving UMaine a showing that should make us all proud.
It is also exciting to note that the UMaine Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics is preparing to host the Maine/Quebec Number Theory Conference. Scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, the conference will bring together internationally renowned researchers in the field of number theory. Congratulations to David Bradley and his math department colleagues on bringing this prestigious event to the UMaine campus.
September brought two of Maine’s leading residents to campus for talks that were well-received and drew large, appreciative audiences.
Portland attorney Severin Beliveau, an influential leader in Maine’s Franco-American community, discussed “Maine’s French Reality,” as part of UMaine’s Distinguished Presidential Lecture series.
Later in the month, former Maine Gov. Angus King gave the keynote talk at the kick-off event for Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI), a wide-ranging and incredibly exciting research and public outreach initiative funded by a five-year $20 million National Science Foundation EPSCoR grant.
We’re always pleased to host events like that, and I get the real sense that people in our community and those who depend on UMaine to provide interesting and informative programming really appreciate this kind of programming.
Along similar lines, I’m excited about the new season of programs at the Collins Center for the Arts and I’m delighted to have that building back online this fall. I’m also pleased to note that the Collins Center has launched a new film series, bringing to our area movies that would not otherwise be available in this region. The facility has a new state-of-the-art film projector, and there’s great excitement about this series and other programming opportunities this technology will create.
UMaine students continue to accomplish great things, applying their creativity and initiative in interesting ways. UMaine senior Lauren Mack, working with adjunct faculty member Nonni Daly, recently coordinated a training course for first responders who wanted to learn more about emergencies involving horses. Lauren, who’s a pre-vet major, noticed a series of local incidents where horses were involved and she realized that police officers, firefighters and others would benefit from training in how to deal with the animals in emergency situations. The session, at UMaine’s J.F. Witter Large Animal Research Center, drew several participants, providing valuable information that can have a positive impact on public safety.
Taylor Bloedon and and others at HealthyU, part of the UMaine Employee Wellness Program, have put together a walking program for this fall. Faculty members and staff members interested in a fun and healthy walk with colleagues should join the group on Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m., starting in front of Memorial Gym. Walkers travel around the mall twice, and they have a great time.
I also appreciate Kylie Cole and her colleagues at UMaine’s Counseling Center, who worked to organize last Sunday’s Out of the Darkness Community Walk, which drew 200 people to help raise money and awareness for suicide prevention programs. The UMaine event was part of a national program, and we can all be proud that so many in our community are working to help support these important prevention programs.
I’ll conclude this month’s Go Blue! message with a reminder that UMaine has undertaken extensive planning over the past several months for contingencies related to H1N1 virus. While we do not have confirmed cases at UMaine yet, several people have reported the symptoms associated with H1N1. It is likely that this virus could become a significant issue in the coming weeks and months. I am proud of the UMaine response, which has included dozens of people from several departments, and I’m confident that we are appropriately prepared to deal with it. We can all take certain steps to help protect ourselves from H1N1 and to help limit the spread of the virus within our homes and communities. I invite you to visit our extensive website at www.umaine.edu/h1n1  for more detailed information.
Our semester is off to a good start, and I look forward to sharing with you in the continuing achievements of UMaine’s wonderful faculty members, staff members and students.
Article printed from Advocacy: http://umaine.edu/advocacy
URL to article: http://umaine.edu/advocacy/go-blue-archive/october-2009/
URLs in this post:
 The text of my remarks is online here.: http://www.umaine.edu/president/speeches/annual-employee-breakfast-address/
 www.umaine.edu/h1n1: http://www.umaine.edu/h1n1
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