Students from Millinocket and York Named 2012 UMaine Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Rachel Binder-Hathaway of Millinocket has been named the valedictorian of the University of Maine Class of 2012. Kayla Peard of York is the salutatorian. Both will be honored during UMaine’s 210th Commencement slated for May 5 at Harold Alfond Sports Arena.

Binder-Hathaway graduates with dual degrees in financial economics and in business administration in finance, with an additional major in accounting. She is also a member of the Honors College and was named the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Business, Public Policy and Health.

Currently, Binder-Hathaway is a Fulbright Fellow in Bangladesh, where she is conducting microfinance research focused on alleviating poverty, and spearheading on-the-ground efforts for Seeds of Change Consulting Corp., the nonprofit organization she founded.

A 1993 graduate of Stearns High School in Millinocket, Binder-Hathaway is a nontraditional student and single mother to 12-year-old son, Jacob. Before coming to UMaine in 2007, Binder-Hathaway worked in New York City as a real estate broker, a fiscal manager for the nonprofit The Fund for the City of New York, and a professional jazz vocalist.

In 2009, Binder-Hathaway completed a summer-long microfinance basic training program with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization Grameen Bank. She also volunteered as a consultant for Grameen’s sister organization, Grameen Trust, where she worked on a microfinance replication project in southern India. In 2011, Binder-Hathaway returned to Bangladesh as a Gilman Scholar to work with the microfinance division at BRAC Bank.

At UMaine, Binder-Hathaway’s many honors include selection as one of 20 members of the 2011 USA Today’s All-USA Academic Collegiate Team, and selection as one of 20 Pearson National Fellows in 2011.

Salutatorian Kayla Peard majored in music education and was in the Honors College. She was a Dean’s List student and received the Presidential Scholar Award. Peard is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Kappa Lambda honor societies.

For four years, Peard was a member of the University of Maine Symphonic Band, serving as principal trumpet, manager and tour director. She counts performing in Boston’s Symphony Hall with the UMaine Symphonic Band among her most memorable UMaine moments. She also played in the University of Maine Jazz and Brass ensembles.

For her honors thesis, “The Case for Instrumental Music Education,” Peard worked with her mentor, music professor Jack Burt, to research the academic, physical and social benefits of instrumental music education for students.

Peard is a graduate of York High School, where she was valedictorian. She plans to work as a music teacher before pursuing a master’s degree in instrumental conducting.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, (207) 581-3745