Four University of Maine supporters were recognized for their philanthropy to the flagship university during the ninth annual Stillwater Society Dinner Sept. 19, 2008.
Receiving the prestigious Stillwater Presidential Award were: Hilda Hutchins McCollum, Alston D. “Pete” Correll ’66, and, the only couple to be honored with a posthumous Stillwater Presidential Award, Harold and Bibby Alfond who were represented by their family and the chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation.
Attending the event at Wells Conference Center were nearly 290 alumni, friends, faculty and staff. New members inducted into the Stillwater Society totaled 151, while 31 current members advanced to a new giving level.
Hilda Hutchins McCollum
When Hilda Hutchins McCollum was a young girl, her parents told her that it was important to give back to the community.
She took those words to heart.
Over the years, Hilda has contributed tremendous time, energy, talent and resources to many philanthropic causes, all with her signature grace and humility.
A longtime supporter of the arts and education, she has continued the legacy of her late parents, Curtis and Ruth Hutchins who helped build the Maine Center for the Arts (now the Collins Center for the Arts). As a member of the MCA Advisory Board, she enlisted support for the Friends of the Maine Center for the Arts and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, setting the stage for the popular facility to begin its current multi-million dollar capital campaign.
“The MCA has given so much to the community,” she says. “Its programs are fabulous. The quality and variety of its offerings, especially its educational outreach program, truly enrich the lives of people throughout the state.”
Hilda serves on the board of Husson College which presented her with an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree in May 2008. She has also served on the boards of the Good Samaritan Agency, the Maine Tree Foundation, the Bangor Theological Seminary, and her alma mater, Colby Sawyer College.
Passionate about working with others to achieve common goals, she was national president for Goodwill Industries Volunteer Services of America, and served on the board of Goodwill Industries of America. President Reagan appointed her to his National Commission on the Disabled, and she chaired the Board of Governance for Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind in Washington, D.C. Currently she is treasurer of the Columbia Lighthouse Committee.
“I enjoy volunteerism,” she says. “I enjoy people.”
Alston D. “Pete”Correll
Pete Correll ’66 has never been afraid to take on a new challenge.
“I learned early in life that if you weren’t changing, you’d fall behind,” says Pete, who retired recently from a successful 40-year-career as a highly-respected and visionary international leader in the forest products industry. Currently chairman of Atlanta Equities, a new company he founded, Pete and his wife Ada Lee Correll, a lifelong force in community development in her own right, make their home in Georgia.
Chairman emeritus of Georgia-Pacific Corporation, Pete skillfully reinvented G-P during his tenure there, transforming it into a global consumer product powerhouse. Under his leadership, the company garnered the best safety records in the industry, became a better environmental steward, and greatly expanded opportunities for women and minorities. Pete was recognized as “the manifestation of the corporate citizen leader” during the presentation of the state’s Most Respected Business Leader award by Georgia Trend Magazine in 2006.
Pete has championed innumerable social and civic causes – many of them benefitting women and minorities. “I am most proud of winning the Catalyst Award (given by the national non-profit organization of the same name) which confirmed we’d truly changed G-P from a check shirt, white male culture to becoming a leader in providing opportunities for women and minorities,” Pete said in a 2006 magazine article.
He is continually tapped to lead sensitive and challenging social-change issues, including heading the charge to change Georgia’s state flag, and spearheading a corporate fundraising campaign to restore Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Dr. Martin Luther King’s church and the site of many of the Civil Rights Movement’s major strategy sessions and meetings.
Recently he has taken on the challenge of putting Grady Memorial Hospital – the poorest hospital in Atlanta – on a secure financial footing. Pete also is a founding director of the Georgia Research Alliance in which business, government and education work together to spur economic growth. Maine can – and should – build a similar collaboration, he says.
With master’s degrees in pulp and paper technology and chemical engineering from the University of Maine, Pete says he owes the school a debt of gratitude for laying the foundation for his success. “The University helped me at a point in my life when I really didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. UMaine took a chance on me.”
Harold and Dorothy “Bibby” Alfond & the Harold Alfond Foundation
If ever a couple exemplified the phrase “a life well-lived,” it would be Harold and Bibby Alfond. Filled with a beloved family and friends, the Alfonds’ remarkable lives have left a profound and enduring mark on Maine.
Married in 1943 after a courtship lasting only five weeks, Harold and Bibby were partners for 62 years until her death in 2005. With his passing in 2007, the State of Maine lost two of its most influential and revered citizens. Thankfully, their spirit lives on through their four children – Ted, Susan, Bill and Peter – and through the Harold Alfond Foundation.
The Alfonds began their life together in Maine shortly before selling the Norrwock Shoe Factory in Norridgewalk. The proceeds of the sale allowed the Alfonds to do something no one else in Maine had done at the time – start the first private family foundation to make charitable gifts to worthy organizations. A few years later the Alfonds purchased a vacant woolen mill in Dexter and founded Dexter Shoe Company. At its peak, Dexter Shoe manufactured more than 36,000 pairs of shoes daily.
The sale of Dexter Shoe to Warren Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway in 1993 allowed Harold and Bibby to greatly accelerate their charitable contributions. Their philanthropy was as diverse as it was heart-felt, impacting people of all ages and transforming the face of many communities and educational institutions. Harold’s great love of sports and the lessons they teach us about life led to a lifelong passion for encouraging athletic programs. Harold and Bibby’s gift to UMaine to build the Harold Alfond Sports Arena, home to Black Bear Hockey, allowed the University to build a hugely successful program. When asked a few years ago what the greatest event was that he had ever attended, Harold responded unequivocally “the year Maine won the NCAA championship.”
Subsequent major gifts to the University included numerous scholarships, the Harold Alfond Sports Stadium, the Mahaney Clubhouse, expansion of the Shawn Walsh Hockey Center and support for the football program.
Today, the Harold Alfond Foundation continues Harold and Bibby’s commitment to higher education in significant and innovative ways – the most recent and comprehensive of which is to offer a scholarship to every newborn in Maine, providing the parents are willing to open a 529 plan to invest in their child’s future as well.
Image Description: Hilda Hutchins McCollum with UMaine President Robert A. Kennedy
Image Description: A. D. "Pete" Correll '66, Ada Lee Correll, and UMaine President Robert A. Kennedy
Image Description: (L-r) Joan Alfond, Greg Powell, chairman of The Harold Alfond Foundation, Susan Alfond, UMaine President Robert A. Kennedy, and William Alfond