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UMaine Professor Borns Receives Prestigious Award

Contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO — The Maine State Society of Washington, D.C. has given retired University of Maine professor Harold Borns its 2007 “Big ‘M’ Award,” recognizing Borns’ “accomplishments and achievements in (his) profession, (and) for service to Maine and its citizens.”

Borns, who retired from the UMaine faculty in 2005 after 50 years as a UMaine professor, traveled to Washington, D.C. to receive the award on Dec. 8.

The Maine State Society is 113 years old and has some 1,000 members. It serves to connect Maine people who live and work in the Washington, D.C. area. The organization has presented the “Big ‘M’ Award” 43 times since the award was created in the 1960s.

Borns, who is a professor emeritus of glacial and quaternary geology, founded the Institute for Quaternary Studies, now known as the Climate Change Institute, as UMaine’s first interdisciplinary research institute. He has taught some 1,500 UMaine students and advised dozens of graduate students at UMaine, where he earned the university’s Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award in 1984. In 1960, Borns became the first UMaine researcher to receive a National Science Foundation competitive grant. Thirty-one other grants have funded research projects, including the 2006 production of “Maine’s Ice Age Trail: Downeast Map and Guide,” a self-guided geological tour of Hancock and Washington counties.

Borns’ research has taken him to six continents, and he has spent 28 field seasons in Antarctica, where a glacier is named for him. Borns is a fellow in the Explorer’s Club and the Geological Society of America. He is also a recipient of the Congressional Antarctic Service medal.

“Hal is a remarkable scholar whose teaching, research and public service have earned him a place as one of the pre-eminent professors in UMaine’s history and a well-known scholar nationally,” UMaine President Robert Kennedy wrote in a letter that was part of the Dec. 8 award ceremony. “His vision, creativity and remarkable commitment to the university and the state continue to inspire us all.”

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