Over the years the University Credit Union has supported the University of Maine in a variety of ways — from establishing and maintaining the “Look-Out” lounge on the first floor of the Memorial Union, to backing new-student programs, from sponsoring athletic and cultural events, to underwriting income tax preparation service for students.
Now the 40-year-old non-profit institution has stepped forward once again to help the University, this time with a $15,000 pledge to the President’s Discretionary Fund.
“We wanted to the Administration to direct the funds where the need is the most,” says Matt Walsh, president and CEO of UCU.
“We wanted to ensure that the President could use these funds to help the University’s priorities and put it toward unmet needs in any category, whether it was facilities, student scholarships or professorships.”
The UCU gift comes as part of Campaign Maine, the University’s six-year, $150 million comprehensive fundraising campaign.
With 19,000 members, offices in Orono, Bangor, Farmington and Portland, and a variety of new electronic services, the University Credit Union has a come long way since it opened in 1967 in the basement of Coburn Hall.
“On payday, the lines used to be down the hall and out the door,” Matt says he was told by a long-time faculty member.
A 1992 graduate of UMaine with a degree in business management, Matt has been with the credit union since 1997.
“It has been a great experience working at UCU on campus. Continuing to grow this institution better to serve our members, system-wide, has been very rewarding.”
As with all credit unions, the UCU is a not-for-profit institution owned by members and, thus, is able to return profits to members in the form of lower fees and loan rates, higher savings rates and free or low cost services.
“The biggest difference between us and others,” says Matt, “is that I frequently talk to members who want to share a thought about how to serve them better. Our board of directors and senior management listens to every one of those members and, more often than not, we’ll make changes based on their suggestions. How many financial institution customers can pick up the phone and talk to their president?”
Located on the University campus on Rangeley Road since 1988, the credit union has added a variety of services, but stands by its original mission: to provide members, through their input and ownership, personalized financial services, while promoting the value of education in Maine.
“We’re committed to helping promote and ensure that the University community is solid and continues to flourish,” Matt says.
To that end, the UCU has supported:
· The UMaine Alumni Association
· The UMaine Athletics Department as a Corporate Sponsor
· Events at the Maine Center for the Arts
· The Rudman Conference Room at the University of Maine System headquarters in Bangor
· Student orientations
· The Bion and Dorain Foster Student Innovation Center
· The Mel McClure Scholarship Fund in honor of the former UCU director and UMaine accounting professor
· The Maine Book, an encyclopedia of names and facts associated with UMaine athletics
In addition to bolstering UMaine, the UCU helps out in the community by sponsoring wellness programs and book giveaways at public schools and an annual golf tournament to benefit Special Olympics, as well as by donating to food pantries.
More information about the University Credit Union can be found at http://www.ucu.maine.edu/
The generosity of University of Maine alumni Phillip H. and Susan K. Morse has come full circle.
Ten years ago the couple, along with Harold Alfond, made the naming gift for the Harold Alfond Stadium and Morse Field. Recently, when football Coach Jack Cosgrove told them the turf had deteriorated and a new, state-of-the-art surface would help recruit top quality athletes and fortify the football program for years to come, the couple once again jumped at the chance to help Black Bear Athletics.
Now the Morses have pledged $1 million to replace the Astroturf on Morse Field with a new form of synthetic turf specifically designed for sports like football. Their gift provided the momentum for UMaine to begin plans to replace the Mahaney Diamond baseball turf with a similar surface, and to construct a new synthetic field hockey playing surface beyond the outfield at Kessock Field, the UMaine softball facility.
UMaine plans to fund those latter two projects with internal loans to be paid back from athletic revenues/and or future gifts along with some University recreation funds. The total price tag is projected at $2.2 million.
The Morses, who both graduated in 1964, made their donation through the Boston Red Sox Foundation. Phillip Morse is an owner and vice chairman of the Red Sox.
Their gift will boost Black Bear varsity sports as well as the University’s popular recreational sports programs, UMaine President Robert Kennedy said.
“Phil and Susan have once again humbled us with their generosity and this wonderful, meaningful gift will have a positive impact on a tremendous number of current and future UMaine students.”
The new artificial surface feels and plays like grass, cuts down on injuries and drains well in inclement weather to allow year-round activity.
Phil knows something about the needs of Black Bear athletes. He played first base for UMaine baseball and has wonderful memories of his time in Orono. “We love Maine and we love the University of Maine,” he says. “The professors were caring and attentive and everyone was friendly. It was just a wonderful place to go to school.”