Archive for the ‘Alumni’ Category

Jazz Ensemble to Pay Tribute to Former Student

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

The University of Maine School of Performing Arts presents the fall Jazz Ensemble concert Thursday, Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Minsky Recital Hall.

Under the direction of Jack Burt, the ensemble will perform jazz standards by John Coltrane, Miles Davis and others. In addition, it will perform “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” by Charles Mingus and “Body and Soul” by Johnny Green, featuring tenor soloist Ron Ho, as a tribute to former UMaine graduate student Ashley Drew, who died this past summer.

Burt says Drew was a formidable leader. “A great jazz solo isn’t just a collection of well-chosen notes; it’s a personal expression of life’s experiences, and a person’s thoughts and feelings,” he says. “That’s why Ashley had something to say every time she picked up her tenor… In music, or in life, what Ashley Drew had to say was worth listening to…”

The Jazz Ensemble is a 20-piece big band open to university students. Admittance is by audition. It performs several times each semester, both on campus and around the state. Additionally, for the last 12 years, the Jazz Ensemble has performed a live two-hour radio broadcast at the studio of MPBN Radio. The performance is simulcast on the Internet.

Admission is $9, free with a valid student MaineCard. For tickets, or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.581.1755. Tickets may also be purchased at the door one hour prior to the show.

WVII Talks With Alums Working on New Balance Field House

Monday, November 18th, 2013

WVII (Channel 7) spoke with University of Maine alumni Dave Manz (2007) and Jonathan Englehart (2013), who work for PC Construction, the Portland, Maine, company refurbishing the New Balance Field House. Manz, the project engineer, ran track and field for the Black Bears, WVII reported.

Morning Sentinel Features Grad Competing for Super Bowl Ad

Monday, November 18th, 2013

The Morning Sentinel reported on the chance for University of Maine graduate Lucie (Belanger) Amundsen, formerly of Winslow and now of Wrenshall, Minn., and her husband, to win a free Super Bowl ad for their egg farm company, Locally Laid.

Locally Laid is one of four finalists in an online contest sponsored by Intuit titled Small Business Big Game. The public votes on which of the four businesses it wants to win a commercial to be broadcast during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2. Amundsen calls her 2,500-chicken flock “salad-eating poultry athletes.” To vote, visit

UMaine Graduate, Physician to Discuss Healthcare Reform

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Dr. David Bronson, University of Maine graduate and president of Cleveland Clinic Regional Hospital, will deliver the 2013 Distinguished Honors Graduate Lecture titled “Healthcare Reform and the Bumpy Road to Universal Access” on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at Buchanan Alumni House on campus.

Bronson, who also practices internal medicine on the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic, graduated in 1969 from UMaine. A reception in his honor begins at 3:30 p.m. in Andrews Leadership Hall, and his lecture starts at 4 p.m. in the McIntire Room.

In 2002, the Distinguished Honors Graduate Lecture series was established to show appreciation to UMaine Honors graduates and to recognize their accomplishments, vision and connection with UMaine.

François Amar, dean of the Honors College, said the UMaine community is excited to welcome back the distinguished alumnus. Bronson’s leadership in creating systems for patient-centered medical care make him uniquely qualified to speak on current trends in healthcare reform, Amar said.

Bronson has received numerous honors and teaching awards and for more than 20 years Cleveland magazine cited him as a “Best Doctor.” In 2011, the immediate past president of the American College of Physicians was honored as a “Living Legend” and “Cleveland Father of the Year” by the Center for Families and Children. Bronson also serves on the board of the Cleveland Play House, America’s oldest regional professional theater.

He is married to Kathleen Franco, who is board-certified in psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine and is associate dean of admissions and student affairs at Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. They have six children.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact the Honors College at 207.581.3263 or

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Collegiate Chorale Concert to Feature Premiere of Alumnus Composer Andrew Hirst

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

The University of Maine School of Performing Arts will present the fall Collegiate Chorale concert Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Minsky Recital Hall.

Under the direction of Christian Giddings, a music education graduate student from Unity, the chorale will premiere “Birds at Winter Nightfall” by alumnus Andrew Hirst, as well as perform a variety of traditional and contemporary selections. The chorale is a mixed ensemble open to all students; it currently has more than 50 members.

Admission is $9, or free with a valid student MaineCard. For tickets or disability accommodations, call 207.581.1755. Tickets may also be purchased at the door one hour prior to the show.

The Collegiate Chorale will join other UMaine choral groups in the annual Yuletide concert Sunday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. in the Collins Center for the Arts.

UMaine Alumni Team Up on Field House Project

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

University of Maine alumni, Dave Manz and Jon Englehart, have returned to their alma mater as members of the PC Construction team to assist in the renovation of the Memorial Gym and New Balance Field House. Manz, a project engineer with PC Construction, earned his construction management technology degree from the University of Maine’s School of Engineering Technology in 2007. Englehart, a PC Construction intern and third-generation UMaine alumnus, graduated from UMaine in 2013. The $15 million renovation project is the first substantial upgrade and modernization for the adjoining buildings since they were built more than 80 years ago. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2014. The full PC Construction news release regarding the involvement of the alumni in the project is available online.

40th Anniversary of Wilde-Stein Club Focus of BDN Article

Monday, October 21st, 2013

The Bangor Daily News reported on the 40th anniversary of the Wilde-Stein Club, the first openly gay student organization in Maine. The club was started by a group of University of Maine students to attract people who felt ostracized and closed off from the rest of society because of their sexual preferences. On Oct. 18, two of the group’s founders, Steven Bull and John Frank, met with the group’s current members and university officials to tell the story about the club’s beginnings and to celebrate the changes that have since taken place. The group is now called The Wilde-Stein Alliance for Sexual Diversity.

Wilde-Stein Marks Four Decades of Advocating for LGBT Rights

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Three founders of Wilde-Stein Alliance for Sexual Diversity will take part in a panel discussion Oct. 18 to celebrate the organization’s advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights for 40 years at the University of Maine.

The panel discussion will be part of a 4:30-7 p.m. celebratory event at Wells Conference Center that includes hors d’oeuvres and beverages. In October 1973, Wilde-Stein received provisional status as a gay and lesbian student group at UMaine.

Named in honor of Oscar Wilde and Gertrude Stein, Wilde-Stein embraces the spectrum of sexualities and genders, offers students the opportunity to socialize in a safe, accepting place and seeks to support and inform the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

For more information, to sign up, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Chelsea Barker at


Alumnus to Speak on Mobile Media in Journalism Oct. 3

Monday, September 30th, 2013

University of Maine alumnus and senior product manager at the Boston Globe Damon Kiesow will speak at the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center, 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Oct. 3. His free public talk, “If it doesn’t work on Mobile, it doesn’t work,” will focus on the changes and importance of mobile media in the field of journalism. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Jennifer Moore,

Dean Jeff Hecker Named UMaine Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

University of Maine President Paul W. Ferguson has named Jeffrey E. Hecker as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost effective Sept. 1. Hecker is currently the dean of UMaine’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He replaces Provost Susan Hunter, who was named vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University of Maine System.

President Ferguson commented that, “As we embarked upon the internal search to fill the impending provost vacancy, Jeff Hecker emerged as the definitive and consensus choice among the Cabinet, Provost’s Council, the Search Advisory Committee, and the majority of UMaine constituents who submitted nominations. Based upon his decades of dedicated and productive service on the UMaine faculty and as dean, Jeff will bring a remarkable blend of wisdom, experience and campus insights to his new role as provost. I am so pleased he will be joining the Cabinet, and I look forward to a very productive and enjoyable partnership.”

“The University of Maine has been my professional home for the past 27 years and I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as provost of this great institution,” Hecker said. “I look forward to working closely with President Ferguson to realize the Blue Sky vision. This is an exciting period in the life of the university and I am thrilled to join the dynamic leadership team the president has assembled.”

Hecker received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UMaine in 1986 after earning the B.S. degree (Phi Beta Kappa) in liberal arts and sciences (psychology) from the University of Illinois. He joined the UMaine faculty in 1986 as director of the Psychological Services Center, the training clinic for UMaine’s doctoral program in clinical psychology.

Hecker is a clinical researcher whose work focuses on understanding and treating anxiety, and more recently on risk assessment for people who have committed sexual offenses, including adolescents. He is the author of two books and scores of journal articles and presentations. A licensed clinical psychologist, Hecker has extensive experience in providing research and clinical consultation to the Maine Department of Corrections, Division of Juvenile Services; and as a mental health consultant for the Penobscot Job Corps Center and Penquis CAP Head Start, both in Bangor.

He advanced through the academic ranks to professor of psychology, chairing the Department of Psychology from 2002–07. In 2007, he was named interim dean and, a year later, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Hecker has been honored during his distinguished service to the university, community and profession, with recognition including the 2006 University of Maine College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Outstanding Faculty Award for service and outreach, and the 1994 Maine Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Academic Contributions to Psychology.

President Ferguson has appointed Hecker to a two-year term. As the president presented to the UMaine Community in the call for nominations, this fixed-length provost appointment ensures continuity and efficiency in UMaine academic affairs operations. At the end of two years, a national search will be conducted, for which Hecker would be eligible to apply.

With the confirmation of his appointment, Hecker will begin to work with President Ferguson to fill several key administrative positions before the start of the fall 2013 semester. These three positions, all the result of retirements or reassignments, include the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, vice president for research, and associate provost and dean of undergraduate studies.