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.
Archive for the ‘Alumni’ Category
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, email@example.com.
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.
Competitive Energy Services LLC (CES) of Portland, Maine, has donated $25,000 over five years to support the Maine Business School’s MBA Business and Sustainability Track at the University of Maine.
The gift will provide student learning and educational opportunities through conferences and workshops, according to Associate Professor of Management Terry Porter, who coordinates the Business and Sustainability Track.
“We are grateful to CES for this generous gift which will greatly expand the opportunities we can provide for our students,” she says. “Sustainability is becoming a basic part of most businesses and this gift will help prepare the new generation of business and sustainability professionals.”
The Business and Sustainability Track includes the University of Maine’s chapter of Net Impact, a student sustainability organization with activities for both undergraduate and graduate students. Net Impact seeks to inspire, educate and equip individuals to use business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world.
“We want to work with the Business School, collaborate with other areas of the university to help everyone better understand sustainability and assist the university community at-large in living a more sustainable life,” says CES President and Chief Operating Officer Jon Sorenson, a 1986 UMaine graduate, and member and former chair of the MBS Board of Advisors.
“Our company is active with universities, communities and businesses in managing their carbon emissions and sustainability efforts. An investment in UMaine puts a great focus on the educational component that will benefit everyone. We hope to help with the expansion of internships, provide real-life work and knowledge to the Business School, broaden the curriculum, improve campus stakeholder collaboration and provide a vehicle for the Business School to grow and, in time, become a leader in sustainability. We hope our investment and contribution is just a start to something much bigger.”
CES also has supported students in sustainability in other ways, such as sponsoring undergraduate internships.
Founded in 2000 by career energy professionals, Competitive Energy Services is an independent energy services company that advises institutional, industrial, commercial and nonprofit sectors on the procurement and management of their energy needs and issues. Services include alternative energy projects, cogeneration, carbon management and planning, and sustainability planning, etc. CES now serves more than 2,500 accounts across North America, including the University of Maine, and manages in excess of $2 billion in energy and utility spending.
Contact: Ruth Ellen Cohen, 207.581.1926
Upward of 12,000 people attended the University of Maine’s 211th Commencement at Harold Alfond Sports Arena May 11 and heard remarks by alumnus Lawrence Bender, the producer of films that have won a total of six Academy Awards.®
This academic year, 1,665 students — 1,333 undergraduate and 332 graduate students — earned degrees from UMaine.
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; the College of Education and Human Development; and the Division of Lifelong Learning. Graduates in 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 Ferguson, who presided over the ceremonies, encouraged the students to invest their talent, success and great achievements in enriching the world and improving the quality of life of those around them. The hope, he said, is that the students’ experiences and education at UMaine have inspired them to dare and to “achieve greatly.”
“You can be confident that your UMaine education represents the very best of Maine and that you, in turn, represent the very best of Maine,” Ferguson said. “It is with great pride that I remind you that UMaine is now forever a part of your identity, just as you are the legacy of the University of Maine.”
UMaine awarded an honorary degree to film producer Lawrence Bender, whose noteworthy projects such as “Inglourious Basterds,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Good Will Hunting” have been honored with 29 Academy Award® nominations, including three for Best Picture. His film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which raised unprecedented awareness about climate change, won the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature.
In his remarks, which included a standing ovation, Bender said he would not have the life he lives today if not for his University of Maine experience, and he urged the students to find success through consistent hard work and persistence.
“How can you achieve greatness? I would say three basic things,” said Bender, who graduated from UMaine in 1979 with a degree in civil engineering. “One, you must find your passion. Two, failure must be a possibility. And three, never give up, especially when you are failing.”
“The ability to allow yourself to fail is the ability to allow yourself to go full on and to break boundaries. Many times it’s only by failing that you find the real truth. And this is not esoteric, this is basic to the heart of all entrepreneurism.”
Other Commencement speakers included students Emma Burgess Roy of Auburn, Maine, a graduating senior in international affairs, with a concentration in women’s studies; and Lindsay LaJoie of Van Buren, Maine, a graduating senior in food science and human nutrition.
LaJoie is the 2013 salutatorian. The 2013 valedictorian is Spencer Hathaway of Turner, Maine, who received two bachelor’s degrees — economics and business administration in accounting.
Also honored at Commencement, as well as at a Faculty Appreciation and Recognition Luncheon today, were four faculty members in physics, insect ecology, finance and computer science. Professor of Physics Robert Lad, director of UMaine’s Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology is the 2013 Distinguished Maine Professor, an award presented by the University of Maine Alumni Association in recognition of outstanding achievement in the university’s mission of teaching, research and public service.
Professor of Insect Ecology Francis “Frank” Drummond is the 2013 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award recipient. This year’s Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award recipient is Professor of Finance Richard Borgman. Professor of Computer Science George Markowsky is the recipient of the Presidential Public Service Achievement Award.
University of Maine System Board of Trustees members Samuel Collins and retired Adm. Gregory Johnson, a UMaine alumnus, delivered greetings from the board in the morning and afternoon sessions, respectively.
Alumna Samantha Lott Hale, chair of the University of Maine Alumni Association Board of Directors, welcomed the new graduates to the ranks of the more than 105,000 University of Maine alumni worldwide.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
A new permanent exhibit at the Maine State Archives in Augusta has its roots in the Ph.D. research of a recent University of Maine alumnus and newly appointed assistant professor.
Ethnohistorian Micah Pawling is the guest curator of “Choosing Survival: Wabanaki Documents at the Maine State Archives.” The exhibit features 18th- and 19th-century Wabanaki documents — petitions and an original watercolor map — that provide a unique perspective on the Maine tribes’ struggle to preserve their homeland. Among them: an 1821 petition on behalf of the Passamaquoddy Tribe to the Maine legislature seeking assistance in staving off the influx of American and British settlers who were dramatically transforming their homeland. Such petitions were an attempt by the Penobscots, Passamaquoddies and Maliseets in present-day eastern Maine, western New Brunswick and the southern shore of Quebec to navigate a new, ever-changing geopolitical landscape. With their very survival on the line, the tribes learned to use petitions as a political tool to negotiate, assert concerns and articulate aboriginal rights to governments.
Pawling’s research on the Native petitions culminated in a Ph.D. and master’s degree, both in history, from UMaine in 2010 and 1999, respectively. In 2007, in conjunction with the Penobscot Indian Nation, Pawling published the book, Wabanaki Homeland and the New State of Maine: The 1820 Journal and Plans of Survey of Joseph Treat. Pawling is now a UMaine assistant professor of history and Native American studies.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
Editor’s note: University of Maine assistant track and field coach and alum Viktoriya Rybalko placed 20th out of 32 competitors in the preliminary round of the long jump at the London Olympics. Rybalko, representing her native Ukraine, leaped 6.29 meters that put her 10th in her group and 20th overall for the preliminary round. The top-12 jumpers from the preliminary round advanced to the finals. A July 25 news release has more.
As a 2003 University of Maine graduate who returned to Orono earlier this year to serve as an assistant coach for the Black Bears track and field team, Viktoriya Rybalko considers UMaine to be her second home. This summer, however, she is spending most of her time in Europe. First, Rybalko was in her native Ukraine in order to qualify for the Olympics in the long jump. Having accomplished that goal, she will now head to London to compete in her second Summer Games.
Rybalko finished 12th in the long jump during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
“Why not?” Rybalko says of her decision to attempt to qualify for a second Summer Olympics. “Participation in the Olympics has always been one of the highest achievements for any athlete, including myself.”
The qualifying rounds of competition in the women’s long jump begin Aug. 7 at the Olympic Stadium in London. Rybalko’s personal-best jump of 6.95 meters, which she registered on June 13 during a meet in Yalta, Ukraine, is ranked 16th in the world this year. The distance improved her previous personal best of 6.87 meters.
Rybalko, known as Vika, was named an All-American in 2003 after she finished second in the long jump at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. She won 10 America East individual titles while also leading the UMaine women’s team to the 2003 New England Championship.
In addition to her athletic successes, Rybalko was also a top student while at UMaine. She earned the 2003 “M” Club Dean Smith Award, given to Maine’s top scholar-athlete. Time management and discipline were two key life lessons Rybalko learned during her time in Orono.
“As a student-athlete you learn to integrate academics and athletics until it becomes a way of life,” she says. “The two aspects of intellectual and physical development are important on a day-to-day basis. Learning how to fit everything in one day can be a challenge, but nothing is impossible. Successes in academics definitely help me to move forward as an athlete and a coach. I enjoy everything that I do.”
Since her graduation, Rybalko has earned her master’s degree in microbiology from the University of Rochester and is pursuing her doctorate in exercise science at the University of Texas.
Rybalko’s passion for track and field, her personal training experiences and her years as a coach led her to the field of exercise science. Her major interest is muscle injuries, with a focus on muscle regeneration. Following the Olympics, Rybalko intends to return to UMaine as an assistant coach, while her advisor at the University of Texas establishes a research collaboration at UMaine, which will allow her to continue working on her Ph.D.
“UMaine is my second home. I love everyone there: coaches, staff, administrators and most of all, my athletes,” Rybalko says. “I definitely want to contribute as much as I can to make a difference and help my athletes to learn how to set and achieve their goals. It is the greatest lesson in life any coach can give.”
Contact: Jessica Bloch, (207) 581-3777