Part of the Legacy: UMaine Grads Reminded of Their Role in Carrying the Land Grant Mission Forward
More than 10,800 family members, friends and colleagues filled Harold Alfond Sports Arena May 9 for the two ceremonies of the 213th Commencement at the University of Maine.
An estimated 1,687 undergraduate and graduate students participated in Commencement, one of the largest graduation events in the state. This year’s Commencement is part of UMaine’s 150th anniversary celebration.
Commencement speaker M. Peter McPherson, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, told members of the Class of 2015 that they are now part of UMaine’s 150-year legacy — and have a role to play.
“This institution’s work and commitment to bettering Maine are found in its students and in every corner of the state,” McPherson said. “The University of Maine is committed to its public purpose of seeking new knowledge, and helping to solve problems throughout Maine and beyond.”
The University of Maine has lived up to the vision of the Morrill Act, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, to enable every state to have a land grant college with a statewide mission of teaching, research and public service, McPherson said.
“This land grant, sea grant and flagship university will continue to change, but it also will continue to be more than the sum of its parts,” McPherson said. “No other institution in Maine is in position to play the same leadership role in academic, research and engagement within the system and for the whole state.”
UMaine’s land grant mission is “at the center of its being” and imparts an obligation on its graduates to be “constantly working to make a more fair, just and prosperous world.”
“Being from a land grant institution, particularly one as notable as the University of Maine, means that you have an obligation to carry that land grant status with you — and as part of you — for the rest of your life,” said McPherson.
“The University of Maine sweatshirt you now have should not just be a sign of where you’re from, but where you’re going,” McPherson said.
The morning Commencement ceremony included the College of Education and Human Development, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Division of Lifelong Learning, and the Maine Business School. The afternoon ceremony includes the College of Engineering, and the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.
Honorary doctorates were awarded to McPherson, and alumni Dana Connors of Gray, Maine, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, and Dennis Rezendes of Boulder, Colorado, who pioneered the hospice program in the United States.
This year’s valedictorian is Gwendolyn Beacham of Farmington, Maine, a biochemistry major and honors student. The salutatorian is Katelyn Massey of Waterville, Maine, a psychology major with a concentration in development and a minor in communication sciences and disorders, and a member of the UMaine women’s ice hockey team.
Also honored were four faculty members in civil engineering, philosophy, history and communication who received UMaine’s highest awards:
The 2015 Distinguished Maine Professor is Bill Davids, the John C. Bridge Professor of Civil Engineering. The annual award is presented by the University of Maine Alumni Association in recognition of outstanding achievement in UMaine’s statewide mission of teaching, research and economic development, and community engagement.
Kirsten Jacobson, associate professor of philosophy, is the 2015 Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award winner; Richard Judd, Col. James C. McBride Distinguished Professor of History, the 2015 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award; and Laura Lindenfeld, director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and associate professor of communication, the 2015 Presidential Public Service Achievement Award.ads reminded of their role in carrying the land grant mission forward.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745