UMaine announces commencement speakers for May 6–8 ceremonies

Two nationally recognized University of Maine alumnae, the scientific director of The Jackson Laboratory and a land protection project manager for Maine Coast Heritage Trust will be the UMaine and University of Maine at Machias commencement speakers for ceremonies for 2022 graduates and 2020–21 alumni, May 6–8.

Jacob van de Sande, a land protection project manager for Maine Coast Heritage Trust, will address the UMaine Machias commencement ceremony that begins at 11 a.m. May 6 in the Performing Arts Center.

Alumna Shontay Delalue, senior vice president and senior diversity officer at Dartmouth College, will address UMaine’s Graduate School commencement that begins at 4 p.m. May 6.

Nadia Rosenthal, scientific director and professor, The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, will give addresses at the 220th commencement ceremonies for 2022 undergraduates. Those ceremonies begin at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. May 7.

Alumna Ukeme Awakessien Jeter, a partner at Taft, a national law firm, will address the commencement celebration May 8 for alumni of the Classes of 2020 and 2021.

All UMaine ceremonies are in Harold Alfond Sports Arena.

A photo of Jacob van de Sande
Jacob van de Sande

Since 2014, van de Sande of East Machias has been a Maine Coast Heritage Trust land protection project manager. Prior to joining Maine Coast Heritage Trust, he worked for the Downeast Salmon Federation for 14 years as hatchery manager, and outreach and education coordinator, focused on salmon and sea-run fish conservation and restoration in Washington County. 

Van de Sande has a master’s degree in fisheries from the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. He is completing his second term on the UMaine Machias Board of Visitors, including two years as chair from 2019–21.

A photo of Shontay Delalu
Shontay Delalu

Delalue was named the inaugural senior vice president and senior diversity officer at Dartmouth College in 2021. She is a thought partner and subject matter expert responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating Dartmouth’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, as well as overseeing compliance programming related to civil rights. She holds an adjunct assistant professorship in African and African American Studies.

Prior to moving to her appointment at Dartmouth, Delalue served as vice president for institutional equity and diversity at Brown University. In her career, she has worked in admissions, advising and counseling, as well as international and multicultural affairs. She also managed the recruitment of students from historically underrepresented groups at UMaine. At the University of Alaska Southeast, she directed admissions of the three southeast campuses and ran the dual enrollment program. She later served as director of the Intercultural Center at Bryant University.

Delalue is from New Jersey and is a proud first-generation college graduate. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and a Master of Education, both from the University of Maine. She earned a Ph.D. in education through a joint program of the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College. Delalue is a member of the University of Maine Board of Visitors.

A photo of Nadia Rosenthal
Nadia Rosenthal

Rosenthal obtained her Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School, where she later directed a biomedical research laboratory, then headed the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) campus in Rome. She founded EMBL Australia as its scientific head and was founding director of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute in Melbourne. She is an EMBO member, a fellow of the U.K. Academy of Medical Sciences and of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science. She also holds a chair in Cardiovascular Science at Imperial College London.

At The Jackson Laboratory, Rosenthal’s research team focuses on the role of growth factors, stromal cells and the immune system in the resolution of tissue injury for applications in regenerative medicine. They have recently shown how modifying the profile of immune cell infiltration can facilitate or prevent tissue repair and have demonstrated the power of harnessing mouse genetic diversity to identify new genetic pathways in the varied response to cardiovascular disease. Since 2019, they have turned their expertise in mouse genetics toward creating more precise mouse models for SARS-CoV-2.

A photo of Ukeme Awakessien Jeter
Ukeme Awakessien Jeter

Awakessien Jeter is a partner at Taft, a law firm with approximately 625 attorneys, where her practice focuses on helping clients drive innovation. She enjoys collaboratively working with brilliant minds on developing solutions to the emerging and complex challenges encountered when bringing innovative and revolutionary products and services to market.  

Awakessien Jeter is an active member of her community in Ohio. In 2021, she was elected to Upper Arlington City Council, making history as the first person of color elected to council in the city’s 103-year history.

Awakessien Jeter also is a tireless advocate for causes of access, equity and inclusion. She serves on the board of directors for Ohio Legal Help, a startup nonprofit that leverages technology and innovation to improve justice and fairness for all Ohioans. She also serves on the United Way of Central Ohio’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council.

Awakessien Jeter received a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, an MBA from University of Massachusetts Lowell and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UMaine, where she currently serves on the UMaine Alumni Association Board of Directors. 

Contact: Margaret Nagle,