Contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571
ORONO — Amy Smith of Lincolnville, Maine, is the valedictorian of the Class of 2010 at the University of Maine. She will graduate May 8 with a bachelor’s degree in history. Matthew Bouchard of Lewiston, Maine, is the class salutatorian.
Smith is a 1988 Camden-Rockport High School graduate who grew up in Lincolnville and enrolled at the University of Maine as a secondary education major. She took her first two years of University of Maine classes at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast, Maine, and, as a junior, changed her major to history. She also has a concentration in peace and conflict studies.
“I opted for history because I’ve always been interested in it and it offered a good opportunity to go to grad school,” says Smith, who is a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society. “I love getting that broad perspective on the world.”
After being out of school for 18 years, the small, “low-key” classes at the Hutchinson Center provided a comfortable introduction to higher education for the first-generation college student. In her junior year, she started making the 120-mile round-trip commute from her home to Orono at least twice a week to attend classes.
“Initially I worried that I would feel out of place being in classes with students much younger, most of them the same age as my kids, but I really enjoyed the classroom experience, hearing so many thoughts and ideas. And everyone was very accepting,” Smith says.
Among Smith’s favorite classes were two annual Camden Conference courses, and those in history taught by professor Ngo Vinh Long on Japan and Vietnam.
“I loved his teaching style,” Smith says. “He’s open in sharing his knowledge and experiences, and he gave us the freedom to explore the material and think for ourselves.”
Smith, a certified nursing assistant, worked in a long-term residential community center for five years and held other part-time jobs while raising three children — Brittany, Andrew and Christopher. Her oldest child will graduate from Clark University in Worcester, Mass. later this month.
In addition to being class salutatorian, Bourchard was named the Outstanding Graduating Student in UMaine’s College of Business, Public Policy and Health.
He will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in finance, with an additional major in accounting. This summer, he is headed to New York City, where he will be an analyst with Nomura Securities International.
The Lewiston High School graduate came to UMaine to pursue a degree in business administration like his father and two older brothers.
“I grew into the role,” Bouchard says. Learning to make money grow really interests me. That’s why I knew finance was the road I wanted to go down and accounting would give me an edge.”
“I knew UMaine had a good program,” he says. “The main things that drew me here were a good education at a good cost.”
Bouchard has been a Dean’s List student throughout his years at UMaine. He received a Beta Gamma Sigma Scholarship in 2008 and a University of Maine Finance Award in 2009 for highest GPA.
For three years, Bouchard has been involved in SPIFFY, the University of Maine Foundation’s Student Portfolio Investment Fund, serving as a sector head and as vice president.
Among the highlights of his academic experience, Bouchard went to Russia as part of a travel-study course. He was active in intramural sports, including football, soccer and floor hockey.
Bouchard attributes his academic success to the support of his family and the mentoring of his UMaine professors. He also took the advice of his brothers, David and Brian, who graduated from UMaine in 2003 and 1998, respectively.
David is a research analyst with the hedge fund Axiom International Investors in Greenwich, Conn., and Brian is a partner at a consulting firm called Red Pine Advisors, New York City.
“I was not a shining star in high school, but when I got to UMaine, I knew I had to make things happen to get a top job,” says Bouchard. “My brothers’ advice was to always look long term and know that the knowledge you get will propel you forward.”
Bouchard is the son of John and Marilyn Bouchard of Spring Hill, Fla.