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UMaine Names Valedictorian and Salutatorian

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University of Maine President Paul Ferguson has announced Spencer Hathaway of Turner, Maine, as the 2013 valedictorian and Lindsay LaJoie of Van Buren, Maine, as the salutatorian.

“Spencer and Lindsay represent the very best of our outstanding UMaine students — both for their outstanding academic success, but for their dedicated service to the campus and community as well,” Ferguson says. “We are extremely proud of their achievement.”

Both will be honored at UMaine’s 211th Commencement ceremonies in Harold Alfond Sports Arena May 11.

Hathaway will receive two bachelor’s degrees — economics and business administration in accounting. LaJoie will receive a bachelor’s degree in food science and human nutrition.

Both were 2009 valedictorians at their high schools and received the University of Maine Top Scholar Award.

Hathaway has accepted an auditing position in the Portland, Maine-based accounting firm Baker Newman Noyes, and plans to be a CPA. LaJoie has a dietetic internship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston this fall. She plans to pursue a career as a clinical dietitian.

Hathaway, a graduate of Leavitt Area High School, received a number of other awards, including the Class of 1945 Scholarship and, most recently, the Maine Business School Excellence in Accounting Award.

Last summer, Hathaway interned with Baker Newman Noyes, doing tax and audit work to help companies prepare their financial statements. In summer 2011, he was a project manager on the statewide waste composition research project, led by UMaine Professor of Economics George Criner in conjunction with the State Planning Office. Also that summer, Hathaway was an intern in the Farm Credit Fellowship Program, working with loan officers in Presque Isle.

For two years, Hathaway was a peer tutor with Academic Support Services for Student-Athletes, teaching accounting and economics, and mentoring in the Maine Business School’s accounting lab. He also was involved with UMaine’s Knowledge Transfer Alliance, helping small businesses set up or revamp their accounting systems using QuickBooks software.

“Early on, I knew I wanted to get into the business world,” says Hathaway. “Then I took my first accounting class and really enjoyed finding the nuances of how the accounting world fit into the business world. Economics? I had no idea what it meant before I came here, but I discovered all of the different questions you can answer with an economics mindset. Economics is more than just money.”

Hathaway says he chose UMaine because it is close to home in the state he loves. The university is also affordable and has a great reputation, he says.

“The University of Maine has made all the difference,” Hathaway says. “People here are so inviting. If you want to do something, they help you do it.”

LaJoie, a graduate of Van Buren District Secondary School, received numerous awards, including the Frank B. and Charles S. Bickford Prize, and the Edward and Grace Cutting Award. She also minored in child development and family relations.

For two years, she worked as a student research assistant in the laboratory of Adrienne White, professor of human nutrition, where LaJoie was involved in two multistate research projects. The first, “Young Adults Eating and Active for Health,” was led by UMaine graduate student Jennifer Walsh, and LaJoie collected health-related data on 18- to 24-year-olds to understand the potential for behavior changes for improved health, including weight management. The second project, called iCook 4-H, led by graduate student Douglas Mathews, is a five-state study of a childhood obesity prevention program.

LaJoie is a nutrition services volunteer at Eastern Maine Medical Center. Last summer, she interned with St. Apollonia Dental Clinic in Presque Isle and, in 2010, was a dietary aide at Borderview Rehabilitation and Living Center in Van Buren.

On campus, LaJoie is president of All Maine Women Honor Society and Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society. She is also an active member of the Nutrition Club, through which she has volunteered at such community organizations as Manna Ministries, the YMCA and the Ronald McDonald House.

In her sophomore and junior years, LaJoie also was involved in UMaine’s Alternative Breaks, traveling to El Paso, Texas to volunteer with a child crisis center, and to West Milford, N.J., to volunteer at Camp Vacamas, a camp that serves at-risk youth.

“I’ve always been interested in health care,” LaJoie says. “I was fascinated to learn that what we eat plays a huge role in overall health and wellness. Through taking classes, my interest has grown in the field of nutrition. It’s very up-and-coming.”

LaJoie says she chose UMaine because of its proximity to her family and the beauty of the campus.

“There’s just something about the buildings and the atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re in a special place,” she says. “The faculty and administration emphasize the value of education, making me as a student value my education.”

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

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