The University of Maine conferred honorary degrees upon U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and Cianbro, Inc. CEO and Chair Peter Vigue at its Saturday May 7 UMaine commencement.
Senator Susan M. Collins
Susan M. Collins is a Caribou native who has represented Maine in the United States Senate since 1996. Known for her work in facilitating bipartisan compromise on important issues, Senator Collins is a key leader in the U.S. Congress. Her record shows significant legislative accomplishments in critical areas, including homeland security, national defense, disaster response, education, business development and health care. A member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins is also the longest-serving Senate member who has never missed a roll call vote.
Born into an iconic northern Maine family, Senator Collins’ role models include parents, Donald and Patricia, who exemplify the deep commitment to public service that characterizes her life and career. Her father is a former Maine State Senator, while both parents have served as Caribou’s mayor. Donald and Patricia Collins have also served Maine’s public universities through their work as members of the University of Maine Board of Visitors and the University of Maine System Board of Trustees. Sen. Collins’ brother, Samuel, is currently a trustee.
Before election to the Senate, Senator Collins worked for 12 years on the staff of Senator William S. Cohen before serving as Commissioner of Professional and Financial Regulation in Maine Governor John McKernan’s cabinet. She also worked as New England Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and as the founding executive director of Husson College’s Center for Family Business before launching her successful quest to succeed Senator Cohen.
Senator Collins has been a steadfast supporter of the University of Maine throughout her career. She has been instrumental in securing funding for UMaine research and development activities aimed at fostering economic growth while providing unique learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students alike. Senator Collins’ support and advocacy for UMaine’s flagship university mission led to 2009 recognition with the Stillwater Presidential Award for exceptional contributions to the university.
Peter G. Vigue
Peter G. Vigue of Pittsfield, Maine is chair of the board, president and CEO of the Cianbro Companies, a 62-year-old Maine-based construction company with some 4,000 employees and more than $530 million in sales. Under Mr. Vigue’s leadership, Cianbro has become a recognized industry leader and innovator focused on providing exceptional value and quality in a workplace atmosphere built on unyielding respect for company personnel, whom Mr. Vigue referse to as “team member.”
Born in Caribou, Mr. Vigue moved to Pittsfield as a child, taking his first construction job at age 13. Driven by a legendary work ethic that persists today, Mr. Vigue earned a Marine Engineering Degree from Maine Maritime Academy in 1969. After graduation, he took on a series of increasingly challenging and responsible roles at Cianbro, becoming president in 1991 and CEO in 2000.
His faith in Maine and Maine’s people is reflected in Cianbro’s business practices. Under Mr. Vigue’s leadership, the company has undertaken ambitious business development initiatives in several Maine locations, underscoring his belief in the state’s capabilities and optimism about its future.
Passionate about diversifying Maine’s economy to make that future brighter, Mr. Vigue works to apply the business lessons he has learned to help drive long-term economic development based on initiatives that include an east-west highway and various renewable energy developments. He is a strong advocate for building on Maine’s inherent strengths, such as its natural resources, as the foundation for the state’s economy of the future.
A former president of the University of Maine’s Pulp & Paper Foundation, Mr. Vigue has been an effective and faithful advocate for the university, partnering with UMaine leaders to work toward common goals related to education, workforce development and job creation statewide.