University of Maine to participate in ceremony naming U.S. Capitol room for Sen. Margaret Chase Smith

The director of the nonpartisan policy center at the University of Maine charged with carrying forth the ideals of Sen. Margaret Chase Smith will speak Wednesday at a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol naming a room there in her honor.

UMaine’s Jonathan Rubin will join Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and U.S. Senate leaders from both sides of the aisle at the official opening of the U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith Room (S-124), as well as the U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski Room.

The naming follows unanimous passage by the U.S. Senate in December 2020 of a resolution that marked the first time rooms in the U.S. Capitol would be named for women who served in the upper chamber.

Smith was the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress, the first woman to hold a leadership position in the Senate as the chair of the Republican Conference and the first woman to represent Maine in Washington.

She’s also the namesake of UMaine’s independent Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, which was created in 1989 with her full support. The center conducts applied public policy research to inform local, state and national decision makers, and publishes the Maine Policy Review.

It also supports student scholarships and leadership development programs, including one that annually places dozens of Maine students into meaningful full-time paid internships with state agencies and local and county governments. Another annual center program that seeks to prepare and empower more young women to pursue civic and political leadership roles will convene its 13th cohort on Friday in Winter Harbor, Maine.  

UMaine also operates the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan, Maine on behalf of a foundation carrying the late senator’s name. Library Director David Richards will attend and share brief remarks at the Capitol ceremony, which begins at 5 p.m.