The University of Maine College of Liberal Arts and Sciences celebrated its first annual Maine Heritage Event Nov. 6 at the Buchanan Alumni House thanks to support from TD Banknorth, a longtime friend to the university.
The Maine Heritage Event is part of a larger initiative called the Maine Heritage Project, aimed at highlighting the innovative research and scholarship being done at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; fostering a better understanding of the culture, history, and people of Maine; and honoring a UMaine faculty member who has made significant contributions to the understanding of Maine heritage.
Attended by nearly 100 people including faculty, students, administrators, staff, alumni, donors and volunteers from UMaine boards and committees, the Maine Heritage Event featured a lecture by James Acheson, professor of anthropology and marine sciences, who discussed the lobster industry in light of the 20th anniversary of his book, “The Lobster Gangs of Maine.” In addition, several departments featured displays set up throughout the first floor of the Alumni House.
TD Banknorth’s impact at UMaine will last forever. Over the years, the Maine-based company has contributed to the William S. Cohen Center, the Franco American Centre, Pine Tree 4-H Foundation, the University of Maine Foundation, the Maine Center for the Arts, and Black Bear Athletics.
Representing TD Banknorth at the Maine Heritage Event was Michele Parry who told the audience that many bank employees are UMaine graduates and that “the university holds a special place in our hearts.”
Sponsoring the Maine Heritage Event “demonstrates our commitment to the University of Maine and the state,” she added.
Instrumental in helping UMaine establish the Maine Heritage Event was Ted Scontras, TD Banknorth’s executive vice president for higher education, a UMaine graduate with a bachelor’s degree in political science – one of the departments within the college of liberal arts. Also helping bring the event to fruition was another UMaine graduate, Laura Warner, vice president for higher education at the bank.
A collaboration of the departments of art, English, anthropology, history, sociology, modern and classical languages, Franco-American studies and Native American studies, the Maine Heritage Project will focus on all the ethnic groups and nationalities which have lived in Maine over the years including Franco-Americans, Irish-Americans, American Indians, and the Somalis.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is seeking funding for the project from companies and individual donors. Funding will go toward an endowed professorship of Maine heritage and faculty positions in Maine heritage, and will help pay for collaborative projects with communities, faculty and student research projects, and education for schoolchildren. Other areas the college hopes will be funded include graduate fellowships and assistantships.