A Letter to the University of Maine Community from University of Maine President Susan Hunter

1980 graduation
Students playing cards, circa 1953
Botany class in 1900

I am very pleased to welcome you to the start of the University of Maine’s 150th anniversary year. I feel very fortunate to be serving as president of the University of Maine at this particularly significant time in the institution’s history.

We will spend this year celebrating our legacy in Maine and understanding how that history informs our future. We will invite the many constituents of Maine’s land and sea grant university to join us in our year of reflection and celebration, including UMaine’s more than 105,000-member alumni base worldwide.

The University of Maine’s 150th anniversary observance will reaffirm the teaching, research and economic development, and outreach mission of a 21st-century land grant institution, and its potential to change lives.

For 150 years, the University of Maine has had a leadership role in the state. Because Maine’s potential is our purpose, UMaine serves as the state’s major research and cultural hub, linking our resources with the needs of industries and businesses, schools, cultural institutions, Maine government and communities. In this, our 150th year, there is more recognition than ever that the land grant university can — and must — play a key role in enhancing the quality of life for citizens all across Maine and beyond.

UMaine offers students a quality academic experience that is affordable and accessible. As the state’s research and graduate university, we have the most comprehensive academic offerings, confer the greatest number of Ph.D.s, and have the largest grant and contract research expenditures in Maine. Those distinctions are key to the UMaine student experience, highlighted by research opportunities and community engagement.

Our world-class faculty are leading scholars and researchers in their fields, helping address issues globally and locally. Our institutional commitment to public service ignites passion in students, and puts research to work in communities statewide and across the globe.

This past year leading up to our 150th, some segments of the UMaine community recognized their own milestones. UMaine’s Aroostook Farm in Presque Isle observed its 100th anniversary last August as the research center for Maine’s potato industry. In October, the University of Maine Foundation celebrated its 80th anniversary, and statewide for 100 years — since 1914 — University of Maine Cooperative Extension has been delivering knowledge developed at UMaine to Maine citizens.

Also in 2015, the Darling Marine Center in Walpole will be celebrating 50 years of cutting-edge research in the Gulf of Maine and worldwide.

Now it’s our collective turn to celebrate our leadership as the state’s flagship university.

Mark your calendars for UMaine’s 150th anniversary events, leading off with tonight’s School of Performing Arts benefit production, “150 Years of American Song: A Celebration of the University of Maine,” 7:30 p.m., at the Collins Center for the Arts.

Other 150th celebration events during our anniversary year:

  • University of Maine Day at the State House in Augusta, Feb. 24 — the date 150 years ago that the Maine legislature passed the bill creating the Maine State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts.
  • Women in Leadership Week, March 23–27, featuring a Presidential Installation on March 26, Collins Center for the Arts.
  • Maine Day, April 29.
  • Commencement, May 9.
  • Open University Day and Homecoming, Oct. 17–18.

More information about UMaine’s anniversary events will be on the 150th website. We hope you’ll regularly visit the website for news, archival photos and historical information, and consider sharing your memories of UMaine. Throughout the coming year, we’ll look forward to your participation in UMaine’s 150th anniversary celebration.

Susan J. Hunter, Ph.D.


1971-An image scanned from a black and white photograph of a student viewing a painting in Carnegie Museum
Bananas and Homecoming court undated