First Coast News based in Jacksonville, Fla., carried a video clip of therapy dogs at Fogler Library during finals week.
Archive for the ‘Student Affairs’ Category
A Family Tradition
When John “Jack” Baldacci Jr., graduates from the University of Maine May 11, he will be joining a long line of family members who are UMaine alums — including his mother and father, six of his aunts and uncles, and two cousins.
His father, Gov. John Baldacci, says it will be “a tremendous honor — and humbling” to see his son get his UMaine degree in May, maintaining the proud family tradition.
“The university will always be a part of me and my family,” Gov. Baldacci says.
The former two-term Maine governor and four-term U.S. Congressman received his bachelor’s degree in history from UMaine in 1986. He met his wife, Karen, at UMaine. Mrs. Baldacci received a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition from UMaine in 1983, and a master’s in elementary education in 2001.
May 11, Jack will receive a bachelor’s degree in international affairs, with a concentration in political science. He is headed to the University of Maine Law School.
Jack chose his international affairs major based on the recommendation of his roommate, Jordan Bailey, a graduate student in the program. “It was one of the best decisions I made,” Jack says.
“The University of Maine is great,” says Jack, a Dean’s List student. “I owe a lot to the faculty and staff. I’m very fortunate to have chosen to come to Maine, and the lessons I have learned here I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
Jack took the advice of his parents, who encouraged him to find a field of study that interested him and learn everything he could about it.
“Challenge yourself, your professors and your fellow students,” Mrs. Baldacci told him. “Ask questions, struggle with issues, understand the who, what, where, when and how of the profession.”
The governor’s advice to his son was to stay focused on his studies, ask for help if he needed it — and have fun.
“UMaine is like a lantern,” says Gov. Baldacci. “It helps you find your way and (then) you have the responsibility to lead others.”
At UMaine, Gov. Baldacci studied a subject for which he is passionate — history.
“Where we come (from) leads a path to where we’re going,” he says of his choice of undergraduate study. “(UMaine) gave me a solid foundation and clearer thinking on difficult issues.”
UMaine was the governor’s school of choice not only as the alma mater of six of his siblings — Robert, Peter, Gerry, Rosemary, Lisa and Joseph Baldacci — but also because the university offers a “quality education” and is “affordable and represents value,” he says.
The Baldacci family has since established the Robert E. Baldacci Sr., and Rosemary K. Baldacci Memorial Scholarship Fund in honor of their parents.
Growing up in Dexter, Maine, the university was Mrs. Baldacci’s school of choice because it was “close, has incredible opportunities, experienced professors, challenging studies and a great campus.”
“UMaine has incredible faculty and curriculum that challenge you to learn,” Mrs. Baldacci says. “They engage you in necessary, real-world experiences and connections that help you succeed, from your college preparation to your future career choice.”
For Mrs. Baldacci, human nutrition — the study of food and its relationship to human health — has long been an interest. As a UMaine undergraduate, she completed a dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian and was mentored by legendary nutritionist Katherine Musgrave. For 27 years, Mrs. Baldacci has worked in the dietetic profession, in both the clinical arena, as well as community dietetics.
Mrs. Baldacci also pursued a graduate degree at UMaine after her experience as a volunteer in Jack’s kindergarten class. With her master’s degree in elementary education, Mrs. Baldacci taught kindergarten in the Bangor School System until Gov. Baldacci was elected to the Blaine House in 2003.
Today, she says, UMaine is still part of her life. Mrs. Baldacci has mentored and been a preceptor for many UMaine nutrition students. And she continues to be a guest lecturer in the community nutrition class.
“I believe it’s important to reach back, as well as lean forward — to be a mentor,” she says, adding that her advice to students is to be engaged, active learners.
“Take advantage of the opportunities UMaine has to offer,” she says. “Make connections, build relationships, and make UMaine the college of your heart always.”
WLBZ (Channel 2) reported on the University of Maine’s 78th annual Maine Day. The day’s events included a parade, service projects and a mud volleyball, or oozeball, tournament. Around 2,000 students took part in the cleanup effort that included 70 different projects throughout the campus. The Bangor Daily News also carried photos of the oozeball competition.
The University of Maine’s 211th Commencement will be held May 11 in Harold Alfond Sports Arena on campus.
Held in two ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., the university’s Commencement is one of Maine’s largest graduation events. Live streaming of the ceremonies will be available online (umaine.edu/commencement) for friends and family worldwide. Also on the Commencement website that day will be the names of all graduating students.
This year in keeping with UMaine’s leadership as a nationally recognized “Green campus,” each graduating student attending one of the ceremonies will receive a digital Commencement program on a commemorative 2GB USB flash drive. The full program will contain the names of all degree-earning undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a welcome message from the University of Maine Alumni Association. At the ceremonies, an abbreviated print version of the program will be available for audience members.
The 10 a.m., ceremony is for graduating students in three colleges: Liberal Arts and Sciences; Business, Public Policy and Health; and Education and Human Development. Joining them will be students graduating from the Division of Lifelong Learning.
The 2:30 p.m., ceremony is for graduates in the College of Engineering and the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.
The honorary degree recipient and Commencement speaker will be UMaine alumnus Lawrence Bender, the producer of films that have won a total of six Academy Awards®. He will address both ceremonies. Bender graduated from UMaine in 1979 with a degree in civil engineering. His successful career as a producer and activist spans two decades. His films, which include such noteworthy projects as “Inglourious Basterds,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Good Will Hunting,” have been honored with 29 Academy Award® nominations, including three for Best Picture.
This year’s valedictorian and salutatorian are Spencer Hathaway of Turner, Maine, and Lindsay LaJoie of Van Buren, Maine, respectively. Both were 2009 valedictorians of their high schools. Hathaway will receive two bachelor’s degrees — economics and business administration in accounting. LaJoie will receive a bachelor’s degree in food science and human nutrition.
Also being honored at Commencement and at a Faculty Appreciation and Recognition Luncheon that day are 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 Award.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
During the last two weeks of the semester at the University of Maine, when undergraduates are camping out in Fogler Library poring over textbooks and notes in preparation for finals, Joey will be on duty. He may be only a few feet tall, but his silky hair, dark brown eyes and gentle demeanor make him the perfect calming agent.
Joey is one of seven certified therapy dogs who will have special office hours in the Reserve Reading Room on the library’s first floor, May 1–8, for any student or faculty member looking to escape from end-of-semester stress.
No appointment is necessary.
“We really think of this as the student’s library,” Fogler’s Public Relations Manager Gretchen Gfeller says. “They brought the suggestion to us, so we wanted to do it for them. We’re trying to keep it as relaxed and open as we can.”
The event is in response to student suggestions on the library’s comment board to “please bring puppies” during finals week, according to Gfeller, who says this is the first time Fogler Library will host therapy dogs.
Fogler’s staff did research into similar successful programs at the University of New Hampshire and Massachusetts Institute of Technology before reaching out to Rebecca Henderson of Holden-based Renaissance Dogs who organizes a group of trained handlers not affiliated with her business.
Henderson says visiting with the dogs would be great for someone who is missing their own pet, seeks comfort and laughter from animals, or wants a five-minute diversion from studying.
“Studies have proven that petting a dog can lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety,” Henderson says. “What other time are students more stressed than during finals week?”
Seven dogs of various sizes and personalities are scheduled to visit the library, according to Henderson, who will bring her own yellow Labrador retriever Atticus and two papillons, Finch and Keeper. The other dogs include another Lab, a Sheltie, a corgi and a goldendoodle. All of the animals have been trained and certified by either Therapy Dogs International, Therapy Dogs Inc., or Love on a Leash.
One of the dogs scheduled to visit the library is owned by Patty Counihan, director of UMaine’s Career Center.
Counihan’s dog Joey is a 6-year-old Shetland sheepdog, or Sheltie, who will be making his official debut since passing Therapy Dogs International’s certification test a few months ago.
Counihan, who has used Henderson’s boarding, doggie day care and agility training services for years, thinks the event will be a great way to help students and is confident everyone will love Joey.
“Joey is so sweet and cuddly — not to mention soft and furry — and petting him is really soothing. He will just crawl in your lap and snuggle in,” Counihan says of her pet. “I know how nice it is to cuddle with Joey when I’ve had a bad day or if I’m stressed, so I’m looking forward to sharing him with others who might need a four-legged, furry destressor.”
Henderson, whose dogs also volunteer at the Bangor Public Library, is excited to introduce more people to therapy dogs while giving back to the community. She says she is proud of the owners and dogs who are volunteering their time.
Gfeller says if the event is well received, the library would like to expand the program and host the dogs two or three times a semester in addition to finals week.
Dogs will be available in the library 2:30–4:30 p.m. May 1 and May 8; 10 a.m.–noon May 2–3; and 2–4 p.m. May 6–7. For more information or to request disability accommodations, call Gfeller, 207.581.1696.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
Around 200 people, including runners and UMaine students, gathered at Alfond Stadium at 9 p.m. Tuesday to run a mile in honor of the Boston Marathon tragedy victims. WABI (Channel 5) covered the event.
The 78th annual Maine Day is slated for Wednesday, May 1 and includes campus service projects, a barbecue and oozeball — mud volleyball — competition.
The University of Maine’s tradition began in 1935 when President Arthur Hauck set aside a day every spring for students, faculty, staff and alumni to come together to spruce up the campus. Maine Day is usually observed on Wednesday during the last week of regular classes of the spring semester.
The day begins with a campus parade starting by the New Balance Student Recreation Center at 8:30 a.m., and ending at the Mall around 9 a.m., followed by cleanup projects throughout the morning. A free barbecue will be held at noon in the Steam Plant Lot and is open to UMaine students, faculty and staff. In the afternoon, student teams will compete in the oozeball championship.
Service projects will include bike path cleanup, graffiti washing, picnic table painting, a car wash, and general trash pick up and beautification around campus and along College Avenue.
In the event of rain, the barbecue and other events will be held in the New Balance Student Recreation Center as space allows.
For more information or to request disability accommodations, visit the Student Affairs website, email David Fiacco on FirstClass or contact Lisa Morin at 207.581.4194. To sign up for service projects, visit the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism website by April 19.
Maine Day is organized by the Division of Student Affairs’ Maine Day Committee and is funded through the support of the President’s Office, Division of Student Affairs, vice president for administration and finance, Facilities Management and University of Maine Dining.