$2 Million Correll Gift to Boost UMaine Efforts in Energy Research, Graduate Education and Literacy

Contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO — Alston D. “Pete” Correll and Ada Lee Correll of Atlanta, Georgia, have provided a $2 million gift to the University of Maine. The gift will be directed to four key areas at UMaine, where Pete Correll received two master’s degrees in engineering, one in 1966 and one in 1967.

The Corrells are highly respected community leaders and philanthropists in their home state of Georgia, where they were recognized last week as “Philanthropists of the Year” by the Atlanta chapter of the Association for Fundraising Professionals.  That award recognized their work to enhance Atlanta’s healthcare, cultural and educational resources.

The Correll gift will support four priority areas at the University of Maine:

• a new Presidential Chair in Energy which will enable UMaine to recruit a leading national expert in offshore wind and tidal energy development.  Together with the university’s recent $8 million federal grant supporting the development of this new technology, this gift will fortify UMaine’s position as an international leader in the field;

• new graduate fellowships (scholarships) for each of UMaine’s five colleges and scholarship funds in the Dept. of Ecology and Environmental Science;

• a new Professorship in Early Childhood Literacy in UMaine’s College of Education and Human Development;

• an unrestricted “excellence” fund allowing UMaine President Robert Kennedy to address immediate priorities and enhance programs not covered by state funding, tuition or endowments.

“It’s so much more fun to give money away than it is to earn it,” Pete Correll says. “It makes us feel really good if we can have an impact on a certain number of people and give them a chance they wouldn’t have had otherwise.  That’s as good a feeling as you can have in life.”

“This extraordinary gift will have a significant positive impact on the University of Maine, and we are most thankful to Pete and Ada Lee for their generosity,” Kennedy says.  “It will help us to enhance our teaching and research activities in areas of critical importance to our state and its future.  This gift represents a landmark moment for UMaine and we look forward to using it to reinforce the institution’s unique and vital role as the state’s research and graduate education university.”

Pete Correll, chair of Atlanta Equities, a new company he founded, retired recently from a 40-year-career as a highly respected and visionary international leader in the forest products industry. During his tenure at Georgia-Pacific, he transformed that company into a global consumer product powerhouse. Under his leadership, G-P garnered the best safety records in its industry sector, became a better environmental steward, and greatly expanded opportunities for women and minorities.

Ada Lee Correll began her career as a school teacher in Old Town, where she started a lifelong commitment to children and young people.  In addition to raising the Corrells’ two children, she has devoted her life as an effective community leader, working to enhance the quality of life for all Georgians.  She currently chairs the Emory University School of Medicine’s $500 million fundraising campaign.

“We are passionate about education and children.  That’s why the educational component was included in the gift,” says Ada Lee Correll, who also noted that their time living in Maine had a transformative impact on their lives.

“We left Maine a whole lot more prepared to deal with the world than when we moved there, and we remember our time at the university and in the community fondly,” she says.

Several UMaine officials also applauded the gift and praised the Corrells’ generosity and foresight in helping to advance the university as the state’s premier research and teaching institution.

“Hiring a Correll Presidential Chair in Energy is critical to the University of Maine’s research efforts and the future economy of Maine,” says College of Engineering Dean Dana Humphrey. “It will help us move forward in the effort to develop offshore wind and tidal energy and develop a cost effective source of power to further the state’s economy,” he says.

The gift will go a long way in attracting more high quality graduate students, says Daniel Sandweiss, dean of the Graduate School.  Because the graduate fellowships are funded for five years rather than the typical three and because they come with a higher than average stipend, “we will be able to recruit really excellent students – most of whom will be doctoral students – who will contribute to the research and education mission of UMaine,” he says.

The Correll Professorship in Early Literacy will be the first named professorship in the College of Education and Human Development.

“This is a significant development, which will enhance UMaine’s leadership role in research and scholarship in this important field of study,” says College of Education and Human Development Dean Anne Pooler.  “We have faculty members with international stature in literacy studies, the Correll Professorship will provide important new opportunities.”

The University of Maine System Board of Trustees formally accepted this gift at its meeting today in Bangor.