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Gifts of Yesteryear - The Raymond H. Fogler Library

 Raymond H. Fogler '15 in front of the university library that bears his name

Raymond H. Fogler '15 in front of the university library that bears his name

As the great-granddaughter of the alumnus and benefactor for whom University of Maine’s Raymond H. Fogler Library is named, Krystal Fogler ’02 often would cause a stir when she gave her name to her UMaine classmates.

“I was often asked if I was related to him and I would explain the connection. People were surprised. The Fogler Library is such a staple in the State of Maine. It is a great tool used by so many and I think my college peers thought it was cool that part of my family had something to do with it,” says Krystal, who graduated from UMaine with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and physical education.

Fogler library is the academic and intellectual heart of UMaine, with collections and services supporting students, faculty and staff. It also is Maine’s largest research library, with more than 1 million volumes, 3,400 periodical subscriptions, 1.6 million microforms and a rapidly growing number of electronic resources.

In 1962, the UMaine Board of Trustees named the building for Raymond Fogler ’15, seeking to honor one of the school’s most loyal alumni who, for more than 80 years, led or actively participated in every major UMaine fund raiser, including those to build Memorial Gym and the library. Raymond and his wife, Mabel Peabody (Fogler) of Exeter, had seven children all of whom graduated from UMaine.

According to information from the University of Maine Today Magazine, Fogler Library’s Special Collections, and Gretchen Gfeller, public relations specialist for Fogler Library Friends, Raymond was born in South Hope, Maine. In 1915, he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from UMaine where he was president of his class and member of the Sophomore Owls and Senior Skulls honor societies, as well as Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Zeta and Sigma Chi fraternities.

After receiving a master’s degree from Princeton, Raymond returned to Maine briefly to become executive secretary of the Agriculture Extension Service. He then moved to New York to launch a career as one of the country’s leading corporate executives. He held various positions at the W. T. Grant Co. and Montgomery Ward & Co. and later served as president of both companies. After retiring, he was appointed by President Eisenhower as assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy, a position he held from 1953 to 1954.

Raymond had a strong presence on campus even after he graduated. He served as president of the University of Maine Alumni Association and the University of Maine Foundation, and was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1955 to 1962 and president of the Board for more than five years. President of the New York Alumni Association, he spearheaded fundraising projects to build the Memorial Field House, Memorial Gymnasium and Alumni Field, as well as the Memorial Union and the University Library.

He returned to campus often to attend athletic games and other events. A yearbook report announcing his resignation as Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1954 stated that he “has missed only two commencements since he graduated.”

Established in 1868, the University Library originally was housed in Fernald Hall along with the chemical laboratory. Twenty years later it relocated to larger quarters in Coburn Hall. As the collection and usage by students and faculty grew, the library moved to Carnegie Hall. The current building was constructed in 1947. Fifteen years later, in appreciation for his “vigorous and inspiring leadership so modestly given,” the Board of Trustees named the University Library in Raymond Fogler’s honor.

“This splendid building, the heart of the academic life of this institution, will stand as eloquent testimony of the high esteem and affection in which he is held by his colleagues on the Board, the staff, alumni, and friends of the University everywhere,” the Board said.

As a student at UMaine, Krystal Fogler spent her share of time at the library named for her great-grandfather. Sixteen years old when Raymond died in 1996 at the age of 103, Krystal recalls that as a small child, she often visited him at Stonyvale, the family owned and operated dairy farm in Exeter.

“We were always there. Many of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren would spend a lot of time at the farm.”

Director of Husson College’s Clara Swan Fitness Center and Webber Pool, and coach of the school’s women’s swim team, Krystal lives in Hampden with husband, Frank Lavigueur ’02, who she met at UMaine. Their daughter, Brynn Mary Lavigueur, born in November, 2007, is Raymond Fogler’s newest great, great grandchild.

The entire Fogler family is tremendously proud of Raymond’s achievements at UMaine, according to Krystal, who says many of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren also graduated from the flagship University.

“It is a very important part of our family’s ancestry. He established our love for the University – and for the state of Maine. We met our husbands and wives here and started families here. Almost all of us spent years walking the halls of the University. We established memories and traditions that will last a lifetime.”

Her great-grandfather’s passion for UMaine athletics stands out in her mind. Even in his dotage, she recalls, he insisted on attending football and hockey games, happily ensconced in the President’s sky box.

“He never lost his enthusiasm for UMaine,” Krystal says.

His zest for living apparently also continued into old age.

“He didn’t lose his license until he was 99.”

Krystal, who grew up in New Rochelle, N.Y., typically spent summers in Bar Harbor. After Raymond died, her parents took ownership of Raymond’s home in Exeter which then became their summer retreat. Continuing the tradition Raymond began more than 60 years ago, her parents host a cookout each Fourth of July with salmon, roast beef and rack of lamb for more than 100 Foglers and their families.

As she grew older, Krystal’s feelings about Maine grew stronger. Although she started out at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, she soon transferred to UMaine to be closer to family.

“Although UMaine is a large University, it has a very intimate and personal feeling,” she says. “The state of Maine had been part of my life for years. I just felt more comfortable here — like I was coming home.”

Like her great-grandfather before her, Krystal made a name for herself at UMaine where she quickly developed a rapport with her professors. She also excelled in Black Bear athletics. A member of the UMaine swim team, she set 10 school records – five individual and five on relay teams – and was named Maine Athlete of the Year.

Her family name continues to hold a special place in her heart. In fact, when she married she changed her middle name to Fogler.

“I wanted to keep an important part of my heritage,” she says. “I am very proud to be a Fogler and didn’t want to let that go.”

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