William Wingate was appointed to the Board of Trustees by Gov. Joshua Chamberlain in 1867, serving as Board president from 1879–83. Wingate was influential in establishing the University in Orono, and helped to assure the necessary buildings for its development. His connection with the university marked a period of construction of numerous buildings on campus. During his tenure, he was a prominent member of nearly every university building committee and an adviser in university policy.