Campaign Maine has taken a huge leap forward thanks to alumni Richard and Anne Collins ‘59 and ‘61 of Key Largo, Fla., who have provided $6 million to support improvements at the Maine Center for the Arts and the Memorial Gym.
The bulk of the major new gift — $5 million — will go toward renovations at the MCA which will be renamed the Richard R. and Anne A. Collins Center for the Arts. The balance will support renovations at the gym.
UMaine President Robert Kennedy announced the contribution during an Aug. 30 reception at the President’s House where he thanked the Collinses and praised them for their long history of support to their alma mater.
“Dick and Anne Collins are among the University of Maine’s most generous and faithful donors,” he said. “What makes the Collins’ philanthropy so special is their incredible support for many aspects of the University, especially its performing arts and athletic programs.”
The Collins’ gift — one of the largest in UMaine’s history – brings Campaign Maine to $70 million, approaching half its goal in just over two years, President Kennedy said.
A member of the UMaine Class of 1959, Dick grew up on a potato farm in St. Agatha. Anne, who graduated from UMaine in 1961, was born in Belfast and raised in Farmington. The couple met at UMaine and have provided decades of loyal alumni service to the flagship University. Dick retired in 1992 after a successful career in the insurance industry, serving from 1980 to 1992 as President and CEO of American Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of American International Group.
“I can’t think of a better way to help future generations than the gift we are making today,” he said during the reception attended by many friends and family members.
The couple’s contribution provides a significant boost to the arts center and to athletic facility renovation projects which are part of Campaign Maine, a six-year comprehensive campaign which aims to raise a minimum of $150 million to fund the University’s strategic priorities.
Chaired by H. Allen and Sally Carroll Fernald ‘54 and ‘55 of Camden, Campaign Maine will increase scholarship aid to students; enhance the endowment for faculty professorships and chairs; establish endowed excellence funds; provide additional operating monies; and restore historic buildings and learning environments.
The mood was high at the President’s reception, which drew 175 campus and volunteer leaders including representatives of boards, faculty, students, staff and administrators. Everyone was fired up about the Collins’ gift and confident that it would help ensure the success of Campaign Maine.
Allen Fernald said it was a privilege to co-chair the campaign and called the President’s reception a “wonderful opportunity to recognize how far we have come in this Campaign for Maine and to remember how much further we need to go.”
“This isn’t just for UMaine, but for the state because UMaine is the state’s economic engine,” he said.
Barbara Beers ‘74, UMaine’s vice president for development, said the day “marks the beginning of a whole new era of philanthropy supporting the state’s pre-eminent University.”
“I have great expectations that this will be a wonderful turning point for the University,” said Joyce Rumery, dean of Libraries.
Dan Sandweiss, dean of Graduate Studies, said, “This is a wonderful opportunity to meet the people who have been so generous to the University.”
Said Dana Humphrey, dean of the College of Engineering, “The wonderful gift from Richard and Anne Collins raises the stature of the University of Maine to all our citizens. Moreover, it highlights the importance of giving to our institution.”
The Collinses hope their gift will inspire other alumni and friends of the University to contribute to Campaign Maine. Their goal is to help make the arts center “into a nationally recognized facility for the performing arts” that will enable the University community as well as all Maine residents to enjoy a wide range of high quality performing arts, Dick said.
Construction is underway on the arts center renovation which will feature a renovated lobby, a new Hudson Museum, an expanded Bodwell Lounge and a significant facelift in the Hutchins Concert Hall. The Collins’ gift brings total arts center contributions and pledges to $10 million. Anne Collins will spearhead the effort to raise the remaining $1 million to complete the project which is due to be finished in January 2009.
The Collins’ $1 million gift to the Memorial Gym will support efforts to upgrade athletic facilities. The planned $12.5 million Memorial Gym renovation will create a new home facility for Black Bear basketball as well as office and support space for the UMaine Department of Athletics. A former Black Bear basketball player, Dick Collins also has agreed to serve as chair of UMaine’s athletic facilities fundraising effort.
Image Description: (From left) Mary Rumpho Kennedy, Anne Collins, Dick Collins and UMaine President Robert Kennedy.
Image Description: Dick Collins and Cindy Blodgett, UMaine's women's basketball coach
Paul Sullivan ‘66 believes in sticking with what works.
So when the retired Exxon Mobil Corporation attorney discovered how the Paul E. Sullivan Business Scholarship he established had benefited financially needy University of Maine students, he decided to increase his commitment to help more young people.
It was from the recipients themselves that he learned about the difference that the award – created in 2001 with matching funds from Exxon Mobil – made in their lives.
“I’ve gotten some very beautiful letters from students who said they may not have had the opportunity to attend UMaine without it,” says the Dallas resident.
“Others said they would have had to drop out. One recipient waited to write me the year after receiving the scholarship to send me the grades. Hearing from these students is tangible evidence of success. So when you see that something’s working and you have the ability to increase it and you’ve got a company with a matching gift program, all of that comes together and tells me it would be awfully silly not to continue.”
Administrators also write thank-you letters to benefactors, says John Mahon, dean of the business school.
“But the letter that really carries weight is from the student.”
A Massachusetts native, Paul majored in accounting at UMaine and worked hard at his academics. He was inducted into the Sophomore Owls Society and the Senior Skull Society, honors groups whose members also are selected for their leadership, integrity, and service to the University.
But he was determined to shine in other areas, too, and he quickly joined the cheerleading team, the yearbook staff and Phi Kappa Sigma where he was elected treasurer in his senior year.
“I got involved in activities and I had a lot of good friends and great experiences,” he says. “There was a feeling of intimacy here and the professors were extremely friendly and helpful. Everything just seemed to click.”
Paul credits the University with giving him a first rate education, as well as the tools to take advantage of it, and also for paving the way for a successful career as vice president and general tax counsel at Exxon Mobil.
“UMaine taught me discipline and showed me how to focus, how to study, and how to work on the right things in the right way,” he says. “I found out how to divide my time between outside activities and staying current in the classroom. My UMaine experience helped point me in the right direction for the rest of my life.”
After graduating from Boston College Law School, Paul began his illustrious career, serving in a number of positions of increasing responsibility at Exxon Mobil before being named vice president and general tax counsel, overseeing a department of 185 tax lawyers and accountants in the United States and about 600 people worldwide. When he retired earlier this year, he was responsible for the worldwide tax activities of the corporation and its subsidiaries, including the payment of approximately $100 billion of taxes worldwide in 2006, as well as for tax planning, audit, appeals and litigation in the tax arena.
Paul’s involvement with UMaine continued in a way he never would have imagined. After his son Michael heard about the wonderful experiences his father had at UMaine, he decided to follow in his footsteps and attend the flagship University.
“It was the right place for him, too,” says Paul.
Michael Sullivan graduated from UMaine in 1992 and is a successful technology entrepreneur in the Boston area.
Paul and his wife Barbara also have a daughter, Kelley, as well as six grandchildren.
Proud of his achievements and grateful for his thriving career, Paul never forgot where it all began.
“I kept thinking back to my years at UMaine and I really felt what I had become was because of my experience there,” he says. “I wanted to give back to the citizens and residents of the state of Maine.”
His scholarship is doing just that — providing Maine business students with access to first rate academic programs and the opportunity to be involved in the exciting growth of the business school.
Calling the scholarship “an enormous gift that goes on and on,” Dean Mahon points out that generous supporters like Paul often become role models for students who remember the help they received and then decide down the road to return the favor.
“You have essentially a cross-generational gift. One generation steps forward and helps another and then that generation steps up and helps the next generation. It really is amazing the multiplicity that these gifts have over time.”
Paul says he has enjoyed his nearly 40 years with Exxon Mobil. He is particularly proud of The National Math and Science Initiative, a program sponsored by the Exxon Mobil Corporation to encourage new generations to pursue careers involving math and science so the U.S. can compete successfully in the global community of the 21st century.
“The future of this country depends on strong science and math curricula,” he says.
Paul also is concerned with the future of UMaine. He has agreed to help build support for Campaign Maine by joining the National Campaign Leadership Council, composed of nearly 100 distinguished alumni and friends from a broad range of professional fields, geographic locations and graduating classes. Through their membership on the Council, these individuals signal their commitment to ensuring a new vision for the University.
“I want to see more graduates of UMaine and more of the state’s business people give the support that the University deserves,” says Paul. “The citizens and residents of the state should be proud of the University and its accomplishments.”
He recalls noticing as a student the inscription above the Fogler Library entrance: Pride in the Past, Faith in the Future.
“Those words made an impression on me,” he says. “With a little faith and a lot of funding we can secure a feeling of pride in the University for future generations.”
Image Description: Barbara and Paul Sullivan
Image Description: (From left) Daughter-in-law Beth and son Michael Sullivan '92, Barbara and Paul Sullivan, daughter Kelley Runyan and husband Tom. Standing in front are grandsons Matthew, left, and Connor. Absent are younger grandchildren Ellie, Charlie, Caroline and Brigette.
University of Maine students received the majority of scholarships presented this year by a Washington, D.C.-based group that promotes educational opportunities for Maine residents.
The Maine State Society of Washington, D.C. and its Foundation presented 12 students from the flagship University with scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500.
Altogether this year, the Maine State Society of Washington, D.C. and its Foundation awarded 16 scholarships – a record for the group which has been providing financial assistance since 1990 to students who are Maine citizens or residents, are attending accredited four-year higher-education institutions in Maine, and have a grade point average of not less than 3.0. Students from the University of Southern Maine and Colby College also received scholarships this year.
The Maine State Society was founded in 1894 as a “home away from home” for people with connections to Maine who live and work in the Washington, D.C., area. The oldest and most active of the state societies in our nation’s capital, the Maine State Society has approximately 1,000 members who provide the primary source of funding for the Foundation’s annual scholarship program. The Maine State Society also functions as a defacto alumni group, holding events nearly every month in which many of the more than 1,800 UMaine graduates who live and work in the Washington, D.C., area participate.
With the annual scholarship program, the Maine State Society of Washington, D.C. and its Foundation helps students at the flagship University achieve their potential.
Joan Beach, vice-president of the Foundation, says the selection committee was impressed with the caliber of UMaine students.
“They are spectacular kids – motivated, enthusiastic, bright, and dedicated to their community. They are the best and the brightest,” says Joan, who has a summer home on Phillips Lake in Lucerne-in-Maine. She noted that in addition to earning stellar grades, the young people are involved in a host of outside activities including community service projects and mentoring programs.
UMaine students who received scholarships are:
Joan Hunter, president of the Foundation and past president of the Maine State Society, says the applicants are “so individual in their pursuits, yet all are outstanding as both citizens and students.
“The scholarship selection process reaffirms for me that young people from Maine are its most worthwhile and valuable asset,” she says. “I take a lot of pride in that. The students themselves are what motivate me to do this kind of work.”
Each year she gets thank you notes from recipients who tell her that the scholarship was a tremendous help as they pursued their education.
“It’s clear that this means a lot to them,” she says.
More than 70 students from colleges and universities throughout Maine applied for a scholarship this year, says Joan Beach, noting that UMaine Development Officer Pat Cummings helped boost the number of applications from Orono.
“I mentioned that it was unusual that we had only a handful of applicants so far. She got on the ball and the applications started rolling in.”
The trick, says Pat, was to alert UMaine deans and associate deans to the wonderful opportunity provided by the Maine State Society of Washington, D.C. and its Foundation. They then passed the word along to their students who “responded with enthusiasm.
“There is a great need for scholarships,” Pat says. “The average student graduates with $18,000 in debt. We are so appreciative of the opportunity for our students to receive scholarships from this wonderful organization, and for our students to learn how a group of Mainers now living in our nation’s capital continue to give back.”
The scholarships given by the Maine State Society of Washington, D.C. and its Foundation afford young people “the opportunity to get a first class education at a terrific land grant school with a great heritage and a critically acclaimed academic community,” says Charles Stanhope, vice president of the Maine State Society and a 1971 UMaine graduate, noting the scholarly awards and the innovative research and development grants that the flagship University continues to receive.
A number of this year’s scholarship recipients are in UMaine’s Honors College, something that pleases Charles for a couple of reasons. His class dedicates its fund raising endeavors to the Honors College and, as a student at UMaine, he was a member of the Honors Program – the predecessor of the Honors College.
“I’m proud of what I learned and the experiences I had in the Honors Program,” says Charles, a Portland, Maine, native who has hosted events for Honors College student delegations when they visited Washington.
Honors College students “represent the diversity of strengths of the University of Maine,” says Dean Charlie Slavin. “They excel in their individual disciplines while exploring the interdisciplinary issues that expand their horizons and prepare them as citizens and leaders.”