University of Maine Graduate School Celebrates Centennial June 29

The University of Maine Graduate School is celebrating 100 years of advanced training and workforce development in the state and beyond on June 29, the same day the first Graduate Faculty meeting took place in 1923.

While the Graduate School was formed in 1923, UMaine has actually granted graduate degrees since 1881, when the Maine State College (now University of Maine System) Board of Trustees awarded the first master of science degree to Walter Balentine in the subject of agriculture. At that time, graduate degrees were only offered in five disciplinary areas: agriculture, chemistry, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and science and literature. 

One successful student whose impact is still felt today was Elizabeth Johnson Levinson. She was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Maine and the founder of the Levinson Center, which houses medically fragile children and adults with significant cognitive and medical needs. She was the first woman to earn a doctor of philosophy degree at UMaine, and the first recipient of a psychology Ph.D. degree from the university. 

UMaine Graduate School has a long history of graduate education and research, supporting a highly successful and diverse group of graduate students for a century.  Over the years, its academic offerings have expanded to 150 graduate programs that encompass additional areas of study, including offshore wind and other renewable energy sources, biomedical sciences, business administration, teaching, psychology and more.

Today, the university’s graduate student population contains representation from 74 countries and conferred a record-breaking 769 graduate degrees during the previous school year. As a leader in workforce development, the Graduate School is laser-focused on making a global impact while staying locally relevant. 

UMaine is designated an R1 university by the prestigious Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The R1 designation signifies “very high research activity” and is the highest possible tier a doctoral research university can achieve in the Carnegie Classification. Only 146 of the nation’s 3,982 degree-granting postsecondary institutions, or 3.7%, are classified as top-tier doctoral research universities.  

UMaine Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School Kody Varahramyan says that “the Graduate School’s Centennial is a wonderful time to reflect on the impact that research and graduate education have had on Maine’s workforce and economic development in the past 100 years, and to support further student access to graduate education. In commemoration of the Graduate School Centennial and through collaboration with the University of Maine Foundation, the Graduate Centennial Impact Fund has been established as part of a fundraising campaign to advance graduate education at the University of Maine, and for providing our graduate students with the premier graduate programs and the resources that they need to be successful, both in and out of the classroom.”