UMaine to award honorary doctorates to alumni Donna Loring, Kenneth Hodgkins

Maine Native American elder Donna Loring and Kenneth Hodgkins, a leader in developing and maintaining peaceful international use of outer space, will receive honorary degrees on May 13 from their alma mater, the University of Maine.

The honorary doctorates will be awarded as part of UMaine’s 215th Commencement. Loring will be honored in the morning ceremony that begins at 9:30; Hodgkins in the afternoon ceremony beginning at 2:30.

“It is a distinct pleasure to honor two Mainers whose vision, leadership and outstanding contributions throughout their careers have made our world a better place,” says UMaine President Susan J. Hunter. “Both Donna and Kenneth have been recognized and honored for their many lifetime achievements. Now UMaine will show its pride in their accomplishments.”

Donna Loring
Donna Loring

Loring is a council member of the Penobscot Indian Nation. For more than a decade, she was the Nation’s representative to the Maine State Legislature.

Among her achievements in the Legislature, Loring authored and sponsored LD 291, “An Act to Require Teaching Maine Native American History and Culture in Maine’s Schools,” which was signed into law on June 14, 2001. The legislation has changed the way Maine views its history.

Loring is a Vietnam War veteran and the first female graduate from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy to become a police chief. She graduated from UMaine in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Loring, founder and president of the nonprofit Seven Eagles Media Productions, based in Bradley, Maine, is the author of the book, “In the Shadow of the Eagle: A Tribal Representative in Maine,” and a musical, “The Glooskape Chronicles: Creation and the Venetian Basket.”

She hosts a monthly show, “Wabanaki Windows,” on WERU Community Radio.

Loring received a Maryann Hartman Award from the University of Maine in 1999. Hartman Awards recognize Maine women whose achievements in the arts, politics, business, education, health care and community service provide inspiration for women.

In 2004, the Maine Sunday Telegram cited Loring as one of 10 women making a difference in Maine. Three years later, Portland Magazine named her one of the 10 most intriguing people in the state.

The University of New England houses her papers as part of its Maine Women Writers Collection and sponsors an annual lecture series in her name. Loring is a member of the Deborah Morton Society of the University of New England and a member of the International Women’s Forum.

Kenneth Hodgkins
Kenneth Hodgkins

Hodgkins is the director for the Office of Space and Advanced Technology in the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs in the U.S. State Department. The office is responsible for bilateral and multilateral cooperation in civil and commercial space and high-technology activities, including the International Space Station, collaboration in global navigation satellite systems, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), and nanotechnology, and represents the department in national space policy review and development.

Hodgkins serves as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). He has been the state representative for major Presidential policy reviews on remote sensing, the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system, orbital debris, and the use of space nuclear power sources in space.

Before coming to the State Department in 1987, he was the director for international affairs at the National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service (NESDIS) of the Department of Commerce.

Hodgkins received a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1978 and an MPA in 1980 from UMaine. He joined the federal government in 1980 as a Presidential Management Fellow.

In 2010 and 2017, respectively, he was the first and only Department of State recipient of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ International Cooperation Award and the American Astronautical Society’s award for Advancement of International Cooperation. He was also named by GPS World as a “GNSS Leader to Watch in 2009–2010.”

Hodgkins is a member elect of the International Academy of Astronautics and the International Institute of Space Law.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745