Jon Sorenson ’86 is setting out to make the Maine Business School a household name.
He has provided a generous gift toward establishing the Dennis McConnell Professorship to draw national and international visibility and attract and retain quality faculty.
And, he has joined the Board of Advisors to help determine the overall direction of the Maine Business School and its graduate program.
“I want to give back – not just financially, but with my time, energy, and leadership,” says Sorenson, who also is a member of the University of Maine Alumni Association Board of Directors. He lives in Boxford, Mass., with his wife, Karen, and their four children, and is a partner with CES, a Portland, Maine-based energy management firm that helps institutions, industries, and commercial and manufacturing companies procure and manage their energy.
Other alumni also like the idea of establishing the Dennis McConnell Professorship to honor the former UMaine finance professor who retired in 1995 and was known for his intellect, good humor and expertise. So far, more than $200,000 has been raised thanks to Sorenson and other generous supporters. They are helping to achieve one of UMaine President Robert Kennedy’s goals of increasing the number of endowed professorships.
The Maine Business School has been widely noted for its excellent programs and faculty. U.S. News and World Report ranked it among the top 150 business programs in the country and “Eduniversal,” a Paris-based international educational consulting organization, selected it as among the top 1,000 of the world’s best business schools.
But Sorenson is determined that the MBS gain even more notability and move higher in these important national and international rankings.
“We need the professors, the resources, and the curriculum so that the Maine Business School will have the same cachet as UMaine’s engineering and forestry departments. I would like the business school to continue to grow and improve and become even more reputable. I believe it should have a stellar reputation, not just in Maine but in New England and the Northeast. There is no question that it has the potential.”
While Sorenson frequently talks UMaine up to the many alumni living in his town and in neighboring communities on the outskirts of Boston, he says lots of people aren’t aware of “all of UMaine’s positive attributes.” One way Sorenson hopes to change that is to expand the UMaine Executive Club of Boston, an alumni group which meets every few months and features UMaine representatives who talk about the exciting news and activities happening at UMaine.
Because the university is one of his company’s clients, Sorenson frequently visits the campus and knows first-hand about the groundbreaking research in which UMaine is engaged.
“I’ve had a business relationship with the university since 2003, so I have been able to become aware of the wonderful accomplishments and advancements that the university is doing. I’m impressed with forestry and engineering research, and I’m very impressed with Maine Business School Dean John Mahon and his effort to take the business school upwards to another level.”
Sorenson says he is particularly wowed by the blast-resistant modular structures developed at the Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center that are used in Iraq to protect the troops from explosives. “My brother served in Iraq, and anything that can help the men and women serving our country be more safe and out of harm’s way is an extremely positive development.”
He looks back on his years at UMaine with great fondness. President of the Class of 1986, he also was president of the Student Senate and Vice President of the Student Body. He was the only student to win five major awards for outstanding student achievements in community service, leadership, student government and service to the university. In addition, he was chosen one of the 10 outstanding seniors in the Class of 1986 and was appointed to sit on the President’s Cabinet with deans, senior level administrators, and the faculty senate president. As a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, Sorenson made many close friends with whom he still keeps in touch.
He is constantly struck by the huge impact UMaine has had on his life. “I really loved it here. I received a great education and I have been able to apply to the business world the many skills I learned in the classroom as well as in leadership roles — how to deal with people, speak publicly, and take projects from concept to fruition. I believe UMaine is one of the few universities that does such a great job marrying campus life and a superior education.”
Active and involved in UMaine affairs when he was a student, Sorenson now looks forward to his role as an enthusiastic alumnus.
“I’m actively engaged in learning as much as I can about UMaine and I will continue to spread the word to everyone who will listen!”Posted in News