October 8th, 2010
Contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571
ORONO — The University of Maine recognized four people who have had a tremendous impact on the university and its students during the annual Stillwater Society Dinner on Friday Oct. 1.
Sen. Susan Collins, who was herself honored by UMaine’s prestigious Stillwater Society in 2009, presented 2010 honoree Prof. Habib Dagher of Veazie at the event, held in the Collins Center for the Arts before an audience of about 250 UMaine supporters. Dagher received a 2010 Stillwater Presidential Award for exceptional contributions, as did illustrious UMaine alums Russell and Barbara Bodwell of Orono, and Jon Sorenson of Boxford, Mass.
UMaine Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Robert Dana presented the Bodwells, while Vice President for Administration and Finance Janet Waldron introduced Sorenson.
The Stillwater Society honors those who have “made a significant contribution to the betterment of the university and the people of Maine and beyond,” through “demonstrated leadership, loyalty and dedicated service on the university’s behalf.” The Stillwater Presidential Award is the highest distinction UMaine can bestow on individuals who have brought great honor and prestige to the university.
Russell Bodwell (Class of 1944) and Barbara Higgins Bodwell (Class of 1945) have a long and extraordinary record of generous support of their alma mater. Russell Bodwell is a Springvale native whose UMaine studies were interrupted by World War II service, during which he executed a daring escape from enemy forces after being shot down over Europe. He returned to UMaine and earned a civil engineering degree, while Barbara Bodwell graduated with a degree in home economics education. He enjoyed a remarkable engineering career, supported by Mrs. Bodwell, whose generous spirit led UMaine to name its student volunteer center in her name. The Bodwells raised three children, all of whom graduated from UMaine.
Habib Dagher is a civil engineering professor who joined the UMaine faculty in 1985, shortly after earning a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin. An inspiration to his students, who feed off his creativity, energy and intellect, Dagher is the director of UMaine’s acclaimed AEWC Advanced Structures and Composites Center. Under the direction of Dagher — who has received a number of faculty awards for teaching, research and service, including the 1995 Distinguished Maine Professor Award — the center has developed several groundbreaking technologies that are leading to meaningful economic development through technology transfer and commercialization. His current efforts, focusing on the development of deepwater offshore wind power technology, are leading Maine toward a clean energy industry that could create thousands of jobs and sharply reduce the need for fossil fuels.
Jon Sorenson is a Camden native who earned an economics degree from UMaine in 1986. His leadership accomplishments as a student were legendary, including service as class president, leadership roles in Greek organizations, and membership in the prestigious Senior Skull Society. Sorenson works tirelessly to promote and serve his alma mater, including membership on the Maine Business School board of advisors, the College of Engineering board of advisors and the UMaine Alumni Association board. Sorenson’s alumni service also includes the enthusiastic promotion of two vital Bay State alumni groups, the Black Bears of Boston and the Boston Executive Club. He also lends his professional consulting expertise, gained through vast experience in the company in which he is a partner — Competitive Energy Services — to save UMaine millions of dollars in energy costs. The father of four children, Sorenson is an avid volunteer working in community organizations in his Massachusetts hometown.
“These honorees exemplify the impact of dedicated support on the University of Maine,” says UMaine President Robert Kennedy. “Their incredible contributions — in all forms — make a real difference in the day-to-day life of the university. Moreover, they are vivid, tangible examples that our students and others can work to emulate in support of UMaine’s unique and vital mission of service to our state.”
The Stillwater Society also inducted fifty new members to its ranks, this year, honoring individuals whose lifetime contributions exceed $25,000 in support of university priorities.