University of Maine graduates living in the Atlanta area are one step closer to forming an alumni chapter.
They recently got the ball rolling thanks to Pete and Ada Lee Correll who hosted a dinner at their Atlanta home attended by more than 50 UMaine alums as well as by President Robert Kennedy and representatives from the University’s Office of Development.
The idea was to see if there was any interest in developing a UMaine alumni chapter.
Several Atlanta alumni pronounced the event a huge success. They praised the Corrells for their graciousness and said they welcomed the opportunity to meet other Black Bears. They said they enjoyed listening to President Kennedy discuss the exciting projects in which UMaine is involved. With more than 350 graduates in the Atlanta area, the time is ripe to create a UMaine alumni organization, they agreed. Members could build support for UMaine, spread word of the impressive things happening on campus, and even recruit students.
“All it takes is two or three people with some ideas and the willingness to pull people together,” says Patrice Krant ‘78, who planted the seed for the Atlanta event and co-hosted with the Corells.
For Patrice, it’s an especially fitting time to form an alumni group. “We’ve got Campaign Maine to tie it to,” she says, referring to UMaine’s $150 million campaign currently underway.
David Driscoll ‘87 is ready to roll. “I’d like to start laying the groundwork. I think there’s enough people who have shown an interest. I got several business cards from folks and I definitely will start getting in touch with them.”
The event was the first opportunity for Dan Lawless ‘75 to meet alums from Atlanta. He says he looks forward to more occasions to connect with UMaine grads.
“It would be great to build relationships around the University – it’s something we all have in common.”
Dorcas Goodwin Wilkinson ‘78 and ‘80 also is enthusiastic about the prospect of an alumni organization.
“Our primary mission should be to help share information about the great things that are happening at UMaine and engage alumni in supporting our alma mater. When you hear Dr. Kennedy and others speak about the important research going on and the great students we are recruiting, you want to give back because you realize you can have an impact.”
Alumni agreed that among the highlights of the dinner event was President Kennedy’s presentation about the cutting edge research and development initiatives UMaine is spearheading — such as the work being done in the Antarctic to find solutions to global warming — and the new educational opportunities the flagship University is providing – including the creation of the new school of policy and international affairs.
“It’s good to know UMaine is still growing,” says David.
Atlanta alumni say they were impressed with President Kennedy’s vision and leadership as well as his focus on economic development.
Patrice noted his obvious pride in UMaine and in the widespread recognition the flagship University is receiving both from in and outside the state.
“He’s a very good leader, very engaging,” she says. “He’s humble but his confidence in the school comes across.”
Alumni agree it did their collective hearts good to belt out the Stein song and reminisce about old times.
“It just warmed my heart to see to see so many people with fond memories and a strong connection to Orono,” says Patrice. “Everybody had a different story.”