University of Maine Graduates 1,700 in Class of 2010

Contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO — Maine governor John Baldacci challenged University of Maine graduates to “stand up for what is right” during his commencement address at Alfond Arena today.

Recalling the “turmoil” of the 1960s and the progress society has made since then, Baldacci pointed out that injustice remains and he urged the graduates to practice social consciousness.

“There is still discrimination and hate — intolerance for the things that make us different,” he said.  “And the struggle for equal rights and justice — for gay rights, for immigrants or people of different faiths — continues.  These battles are sometimes fought in crowds and through protest, but they are won with one person at a time and one changed mind at a time.  With every conversation and action, you can influence your family your friends and your community.  Through small, individual acts of kindness, strength and moral courage, the world can be changed.”

Baldacci spoke at each of UMaine’s two ceremonies.  Graduates from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the College of Business, Public Policy and Health; and the Division of Lifelong Learning participated in a ceremony that began at 10 a.m.  Those earning degrees from the College of Engineering; the College of Education and Human Development; and the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture participated in a 2:30 p.m. commencement exercise.  An estimated total of 14,000 people attended the ceremonies.

A 1986 UMaine graduate, Baldacci recalled his “non-traditional” path to a college degree and told the audience that his college experience changed his life.

“It was the University of Maine that opened my mind to a wider world, where I learned history and a broader point of view,” he said.

UMaine President Robert Kennedy presided over the ceremonies.  Among the graduates were 49 people receiving doctoral degrees, 19 who earned certificates of advanced study and 452 receiving master’s degrees.

Prof. Paul Myewski, the director of UMaine’s Climate Change Institute, also addressed the graduates.  Winner of the 2010 Distinguished Maine Professor Award for outstanding achievement by a UMaine faculty member, Mayewski is an acclaimed climate scientist who has led more than 50 expeditions to some of the world’s most remote locations.  He drew on those experiences to craft a message about the “immense opportunities to be on the leading edge of change” that lie in front of the new graduates.

“Wherever, whenever and however you can, consider how your actions will produce change,” he said.  “You have the opportunity to produce a world in which humans and the ecosystem will be healthier, in which the economy will be more stable and vibrant.  A world based on the improved quality of life is in your hands.”

Prof. Judith Pearce from the UMaine School of Engineering Technology was recognized as winner of the 2010 Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award. Anthropology professor Paul “Jim” Roscoe was similarly recognized as the recipient of the 2010 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award, and Prof. Thomas Christiensen from the School of Engineering Technology was honored as the Presidential Public Service Achievement Award winner.

The Class of 2010 valedictorian is Amy Marie Smith of Lincolnville, who earned a degree in history.  Salutatorian Matthew Bouchard of Lewiston graduated with a business degree, majoring in both finance and accounting.

Two distinguished and accomplished people with Maine ties were awarded honorary doctorates.  Charles Cawley, the MBNA co-founder and generous benefactor who has supported numerous Maine causes, received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the morning ceremony.  Cawley is also credited with driving significant Maine economic development by bringing MBNA operations to Maine in the 1990s. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, an electrical engineering pioneer and one of India’s leading humanitarians, received a Doctor of Science degree in the afternoon.  Jhunjhunwala was the first person to receive a UMaine electrical engineering Ph.D., in 1979.

He is a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India.

William Johnson of Saco, a 1956 UMaine graduate, brought greetings from the University of Maine Board of Trustees at both ceremonies.

University of Maine Alumni Association Board of Directors chair Suzanne Hart, a member of the UMaine Class of 1968, welcomed the new graduates to the ranks of some 97,000 UMaine alumni.