When you first meet Eric Rolfson, you wouldn’t be the least bit surprised that he is UMaine’s new vice president for development. Personable, articulate, and well-dressed, he has all the characteristics we might associate with that position. But while fundraising is his career, Rolfson is also something of a Renaissance man, with interests, talents, and experiences that are surprisingly broad and varied.
For one, Rolfson is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and singer who is part of a touring band known as Old Grey Goose International. The group’s repertoire encompasses old-time dance tunes, traditional folk pieces, and regional multicultural dance music. On their international trips, Old Grey Goose combines performances with cultural exchange and teaching, mostly in developing and former Soviet countries. Most recently, they toured Israel.
Rolfson also owns a 125-acre farm in Albion, where he, his wife, Becky, and their two sons oversee a maple syrup operation. But he says his real passion on the farm is maintaining the trails he opens for hikers and cross-country skiers.
Rolfson’s love affair with Maine began when he entered Colby in 1969, after a childhood split between living in Washington, D.C., and France. (His father was well-known newsman, John Rolfson, who served as ABC’s chief White House correspondent and later as bureau chief in Paris.)
His love of the state is what fuels much of Rolfson’s commitment to raising support for UMaine.
“What I love most about the university is seeing the tremendously positive impact it has on the state of Maine,” he says. “There’s a very close link with the future of this institution and the future of the state.”
A more personal commitment to the university comes from the fact that he is the proud father of a UMaine sophomore engineering student (above photo).
Rolfson takes over right at the midpoint of the university’s $150 million comprehensive campaign. He says the campaign will go a long way toward allowing UMaine to fulfill its vision and its mission—in particular by raising scholarship support to keep the university accessible to all qualified Maine students.
Before entering fundraising, Rolfson was a cofounder and president of a Boston-based information technology company. He also worked for many years as both a high school and college teacher. Prior to coming to UMaine he was director of development at Colby and later vice president for development at Thomas College.
Image Description: John Rolfson '11 and his father, Eric Rolfson, Vice President for Development