One of the largest classes in University of Maine history graduated today in the 210th Commencement ceremonies at Harold Alfond Sports Arena.
This academic year, 2,467 students — 1,875 undergraduate and 592 graduate students — earned degrees from UMaine.
A estimated 12,200 people combined attended the two ceremonies. A 10 a.m. ceremony was held for graduates in the College of Business, Public Policy and Health; the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and the Division of Lifelong Learning. Graduates in the College of Education and Human Development; the College of Engineering; and the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture were recognized at a 2:30 p.m. ceremony.
UMaine President Paul W. Ferguson, who presided over the ceremonies, told the students they are graduating from one of the finest universities in the country, and the hope is that their experience and education at UMaine have inspired them to dare and achieve.
“I encourage you to invest your talent, success and great achievements in the lives around you,” Ferguson said. “Enrich the world around you and improve the quality of life for all around you. That is the best return we could ask for all of our investment in you.”
UMaine awarded honorary degrees to two alumni: Owen Wells, vice chair of the board of trustees of the Libra Foundation, a Portland-based philanthropic organization, and George Sakellaris, president and chief executive officer of Ameresco Inc., a leading North American energy efficiency and renewable energy company headquartered in Framingham, Mass.
Wells addressed the morning Commencement ceremony, telling the graduates they need to make success their mantra, and elaborating on the multiple definitions of success — from waking up in the morning and being motivated to begin the day to expecting the unexpected and being happy to taking risks and failing sometimes.
“Success means being a part of progress,” said Wells. “The future belongs to those who build it. Take your degree and look at it as a ticket to serve as opposed to being served. It will afford you opportunities both great and small.”
In the afternoon Commencement ceremony, Sakellaris reminded graduates that they control their own destinies.
“Once you identify your career passion, never, never give up, no matter what the challenges or obstacles that come you way,” Sakellaris said. “Like my ancient ancestors, the 300 Spartans who defeated the 30,000 and changed the course of history, set your sights on your goal, believe strongly in yourself and be determined to be victorious rather than defeated.”
Professor of Chemical Engineering Joseph Genco, the 2012 Distinguished Maine Professor, presented the Celebration of Academia address, acknowledging the period of change the new graduates are experiencing in their lives.
Also recognized during the ceremonies were three professors honored with this year’s Presidential Achievement Awards: Professor of Biochemistry Mary Rumpho, Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award; Professor of Chemical Engineering Hemant Pendse, Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award; and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology Karen Horton, Presidential Public Service Achievement Award.
University of Maine System Board of Trustees members and UMaine alumni Paul Mitchell and Eleanor Baker delivered greetings from the board in the morning and afternoon sessions, respectively.
Alumnus Kurt Marston, chair of the University of Maine Alumni Association Board of Directors, welcomed the new graduates to the ranks of the more than 100,000 living University of Maine alumni.
Valedictorian of the UMaine Class of 2012 is Rachel Binder-Hathaway of Millinocket, Maine. Binder-Hathaway earned dual degrees in financial economics and in business administration in finance, with an additional major in accounting. She is the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Business, Public Policy and Health. Binder-Hathaway is a Fulbright Fellow in Bangladesh.
The salutatorian is Kayla Peard of York, Maine, majored in music education. A graduate of York High School, where she was valedictorian, Peard plans to work as a music teacher before pursuing a master’s degree in instrumental conducting.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, (207) 581-3745