Alumni Robert ’68 and Jane Weir have shown their support for the University of Maine by establishing a professorship through a bequest to the School of Forest Resources in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture. Their gift will provide faculty and student support to advance silviculture at the School of Forest Resources.
“Our gift is a way for us to give back to the University of Maine,” says Jane.
Bob, who graduated from UMaine with a bachelor’s degree in forest sciences, is a native of Fairfax, Vt. He began his college education at the University of Vermont and later transferred to UMaine. He went on to earn his master’s degree and Ph.D. in forestry at North Carolina State University.
“I was admitted to graduate school in part because they recognized the quality education I had received at UMaine,” Bob says.
As a master’s and doctoral student, Bob worked tirelessly for the North Carolina State University Industry Cooperative Tree Improvement Program. The goal was to help trees grow faster, stronger, and healthier through experiments in selective breeding. Years of research and hard work paid off when Bob rose to director of the program in 1977. He remained in that position for 23 years and also served as associate professor of forestry.
From 2004 to 2011, Bob was appointed as vice president of product development for CellFor, a Vancouver-based company that specialized in tree cloning technology.
Jane was born in Augusta and moved to New York at age 13. She returned to her home state for college and enrolled at UMaine, majoring in history. She quickly became involved in campus activities and participated in Greek life through Alpha Omicron Pi.
After Bob’s graduation, the Weirs moved to North Carolina. Jane completed her education at NC State University and opened her own yarn retail store, Great Yarns. Jane operated the store for 17 years before leaving it in trusted hands when she returned to Maine.
By far, Bob and Jane’s fondest memories of UMaine were when they met and fell in love. The soon-to-be couple lived in the same dormitory complex. Jane worked in Stoddard Hall cafeteria where the forestry majors would eat breakfast and saw Bob nearly every morning.
“I would be dragging through the line, barely awake,” Bob recalls. “And I’d see this perky, cute girl putting scrambled eggs on my plate saying, ‘Good morning! Isn’t this a great day in which to excel?’”
The Weirs returned to Maine in 2007 and settled in West Bath. They soon became involved in UMaine’s Mid-Coast Alumni Association after a chance meeting with fellow alumni Joy and Grog Johnson. After discovering that Joy, Grog and Bob graduated the same year and knew some of the same classmates, the Johnsons encouraged them to join the Alumni Association.
“We attend as many events as we can and are happy to connect with people with a common past and the same passion for UMaine as we have,” says Jane.
Since joining the Mid-Coast Alumni Chapter the Weirs have reconnected with members of the UMaine community including Provost Susan Hunter, NSFA Dean Ed Ashworth, and School of Forest Resources Director Bob Wagner. Their involvement in the University of Maine led them to make their generous donation to the School of Forest Resources.
“We wanted to give back to the place that provided us with a great foundation for life,” says Bob.
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