Students in an advanced art education course taught by Constant Albertson at the University of Maine presented $2,730 to the Hirundo Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday.
The From Art to Empathy students created, marketed and sold ceramic mugs for $10 to support educational programs for children at Hirundo. Each handcrafted mug features a unique design inspired by nature.
The four students — Hannah Berta of Rockport, Elizabeth Miller of Kittery, Abigail LeBlanc of Brewer and Nicole McGuigan of Woolwich — worked together to spread knowledge and inspire the community.
The students raised $2,930, and after spending $200 for materials, they were able to present Hirundo with $2,730, according to Albertson.
Hirundo Wildlife Refuge is a 2,400-acre nature preserve 10 miles from the UMaine campus. The Hirundo land was deeded to UMaine in 1983, cementing a long-term collaboration based on research and scientific studies, according to its website.
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
When Mainers hear the term “local seafood,” a few words come to mind more than others — healthy, fresh, good, “Maine” and lobster. But ask those same people what they think when they hear the term “sustainable seafood” and the answers are less clear, varying from “I don’t know” and “nothing” to “it takes a long time to get” and “harvested.”
University of Maine Associate Professor Laura Lindenfeld and doctoral student Brianne Suldovsky, who are affiliated with UMaine’s Department of Communication and Journalism and Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, are conducting a social research project to understand how consumers, especially in inland Maine areas, perceive seafood, and whether they view local and sustainable seafood as important.
The research team, along with Teresa Johnson, assistant professor of marine policy at UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences, also hopes to learn what infrastructure exists for Maine’s seafood market, and how communication can be improved between producers, distributors and buyers.
The one-year Seafood Links Project, funded by Maine Sea Grant, focuses on surveys and interviews with consumers, restaurants, culinary schools and grocery stores in the Bangor and Portland areas.
Lindenfeld says the project is targeting the Bangor area and its connections, as well as looking at Portland as a model city supportive of local seafood.
“By comparing the Bangor area with the Portland area, we can look at a city where restaurants and markets are advancing seafood in interesting ways, with a lot of conversation across the industry,” Lindenfeld says. “What could we do in Bangor that would make sense and how could we learn from that experience to transfer that to other inland areas?”
With a large network of people involved in the seafood industry, the researchers decided to focus on looking into the decision-making process at restaurants, culinary schools and grocery stores.
Lindenfeld says it is important to come into the project with an open mind and not presume to know how the network is working and what consumers want. To get a sense of what questions to ask whom, the team started with a round of consumer surveys.
The team found people were interested in the question of where their seafood comes from.
“People said ‘Wow, I’ve never thought of this before. You’re right, we market beef, we market potatoes and vegetables and fruit with an origin, but we don’t talk about where the seafood comes from in our restaurants.’ Why should seafood be treated differently than other kinds of food?” Lindenfeld says.
Lindenfeld and Suldovsky have found the issue of food origin is complicated when it comes to seafood.
“It’s not as simple as this steer came from that farm in The County,” Lindenfeld says.
Suldovsky says from what she has learned of the process, fishermen come to a dock to sell their product to buyers who then send the seafood out to be processed, most of the time to Canada. Packaging then says the seafood came from Canada when it was actually caught in Maine.
“How do you successfully market that or communicate that it’s processed in Canada, but it’s caught in Maine?” Suldovsky asks. “And do consumers even care? To them is Canada the same thing as local?”
The preliminary round of surveys gave the team a look at the public’s perceptions of sustainable seafood, which is seafood that is either caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term effects on oceans and the environment.
“There’s just no cohesive understanding or meaning with the word ‘sustainable’ and yet you have grocery stores like Hannaford marketing sustainable seafood because consumers are demanding it,” Suldovsky says.
Lindenfeld stresses the importance of knowing how people feel about terms such as “sustainable” and whether it matters for marketing.
“We may be promoting products in ways that absolutely do not resonate with what people care about most,” Lindenfeld says.
The next set of interviews for the project will include a representative sample of people in Maine’s inland areas that remain underserved as opposed to coastal areas.
Lindenfeld says they hope to understand which terms imply what, and what people value and communicate the findings to the seafood industry.
They also hope these interviews will give them a picture of the network of fishermen, buyers and distributors looks like and how these relationships and communication between them can be improved.
Lindenfeld sees communication within the network, especially in the Bangor area and near coastal communities such as Bar Harbor and Belfast, as a possibility for improvement.
“A lot of people (in the Bangor area) will order from Portland or the midcoast area. Individual trucks will drive up, drop the seafood off once a week and go back down when there are suppliers on the coast right here who may not even know who to talk to,” Lindenfeld says. “So to us it’s this big gap in communication that can be overcome. There’s remarkable resources, there are incredible people, well-meaning people who want to support each other, who care about the state and the region. A little bit of communication research could go a long way.”
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.381.3747
KeepMEcurrent.com spoke with University of Maine Associate Professor of Sociology Kim Huisman about her Maine Mother-Daughter Project. The project aims to provide a framework for healthy relationships between generations and promotes critical thinking for mothers and daughters.
The latest post on the Bangor Daily News blog “Backstage at PTC” announced the Penobscot Theatre Company’s 2013–2014 season. The season will include “One Blue Tarp,” a new play by Travis Baker, Orono playwright and UMaine English lecturer.
The University of Maine is accepting applications from area middle school students for its Maine Summer Transportation Institute. The free two-week program will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 8–19 on the UMaine campus.
The institute is supported by Civil Rights Offices of the Federal Highway Administration and Maine Department of Transportation, along with the UMaine College of Engineering.
As many as 20 students from Greater Bangor will get a close look at engineering and transportation careers during the program designed to introduce students at an early age to jobs available in Maine’s transportation industry.
Activities will focus on electrical, mechanical, chemical and civil engineering as well as physical sciences. Students will participate in field trips, leadership and team-building activities, and workshops with hands-on laboratory experiences in areas related to transportation such as air-flight simulation, wind energy and computer-aided design.
The majority of the activities will take place at the Foster Center for Student Innovation, engineering labs on campus and various off-campus locations. Students also will participate in physical activities at the New Balance Student Recreation Center.
For more information or to request disability accommodations, call Sheila Pendse, 207.581.2225.
Application forms are available online at umaine.edu/msti.
Applications and required documents may be mailed to: MSTI, Dean’s Office, College of Engineering, 213 AMC Building, University of Maine, Orono 04469. Deadline for registration is May 31.
The Bangor Daily News reported the “Historical Atlas of Maine,” a four-part book displaying Maine’s history through maps, photos, art and stories, is the first product of the University of Maine’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Maine Humanities Initiative. The initiative aims to highlight the importance of the state’s economic, cultural and political strengths.
University of Maine Professor of History Howard Segal and UMaine Professor of English Deborah Rogers recently published the essay “Painful Admission” in Times Higher Education.
Baritone Ludlow Hallman, a longtime music director and conductor in the University of Maine School of Performing Arts, will receive the 2013 Vincent A. Hartgen Award from UMaine’s Patrons of the Arts.
The award will be presented in a ceremony May 10 at Buchanan Alumni House on campus.
During his more than 40 years in the UMaine community, Hallman has served as conductor of the University Orchestra and the Oratorio Society, director of the Opera Workshop and chair of the Music Department. He has been music director and conductor of dozens of opera and musical comedy productions — from Mozart to Puccini and Sullivan to Sondheim — throughout the country and around the world.
Hallman also has performed as a recitalist and soloist, with operatic roles with the Santa Fe Opera Company, Mozart Opera Salzburg, the Salzburg Festival and Surry Opera Company.
In addition, the professor of music has served as resident director of New England Universities in Salzburg, an immersion program for students of German.
Hallman studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Southern Illinois University and the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
UMaine flutist and chamber musician Elizabeth Downing, who nominated Hallman for the award, calls him an “institution” at the university and an “incredibly versatile musician” who conducts oratorio, opera and orchestral works, and has appeared on both sides of the Atlantic as a conductor and singer.
“Ludlow continues to give his full devotion to the conducting and teaching of music. There is no one more passionate and dedicated to the world of classical music, and he continues to share his wealth of knowledge and vision to music students, the musical community and the public,” Downing says. “As just one of many of his students, he truly changed my life and my career and brought the world of music to my heart.”
Hallman has taught hundreds of voice students and has introduced many to vocal recovery. One of his early students, Dr. Linda Carroll, a speech-language pathologist and voice trainer, became a leader in the field of vocal rehabilitation. Hallman also has served as a mentor teacher for the National Association of Teachers of Singing and as a presenter for the Voice Foundation in Philadelphia.
Since 1999, the Hartgen Award has been given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to arts advancement at the university. The award is named in honor of the late Vincent Hartgen, founder of the UMaine Department of Art and Museum of Art, and a champion of traveling art exhibitions for Maine schools.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
Jeffrey Thaler, a visiting professor of energy policy, law and ethics at the University of Maine, spoke to the Bangor Daily News about the proposed sale of Maine’s largest power plant and New England’s changing energy market.