UMaine launches the College of Earth, Life, and Health Sciences 

The College of Earth, Life, and Health Sciences made its debut during a town hall meeting at the University of Maine on Oct. 31. 

The college, formerly known as the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture, is the largest of UMaine’s six colleges, accounting for 26.5% of all university enrollments. Members of the newly named College of Earth, Life, and Health Sciences helped generate 41% of the university’s research awards over the past year while driving impact across life, health, social and natural sciences. 

The name College of Earth, Life, and Health Sciences captures the breadth of our community’s impact. It comprehensively represents the systems and unique collaborations we foster,” says Diane Rowland, dean of the college and director of the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station. “I am so grateful to the faculty, staff, students, partners and UMaine’s leaders who helped us develop this modern and vibrant representation of the teaching, research and service we deliver every day to the state and the globe.”

The new name was selected from a shortlist advanced by a task force Rowland formed shortly after she assumed her current role in fall 2021. The task force, composed of faculty, staff and students, advanced an inclusive name development process that engaged with internal and external stakeholders. Through focus groups, surveys, community forums and other opportunities for input, the task force advanced a grassroots approach to rebranding a college that covers everything from climate change to clinical sciences. The deliberate approach also ensured that schools and departments had time to expend existing marketing and outreach materials prior to the new name’s adoption. 

“As a member of the task force charged with collecting ideas for a new name, I was impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of my colleagues across the entire college. I looked at the process as not just selecting a new name, but as a way to position our college to best serve our students, the state of Maine and our community of stakeholders around the world,” says Todd Gabe, a professor at UMaine’s School of Economics. 

The former name was adopted in 1996. At the time, the college oversaw UMaine’s natural resource programs like forestry and agriculture. In subsequent years, numerous other disciplines joined the college, including marine sciences, nursing, molecular and biomedical sciences, economics, social work, communication sciences and disorders, and earth and climate sciences. Faculty and staff of the college have previously advocated to rename the college. A request to consider elevating the profile of UMaine’s health and wellness programs was included in a white paper submitted to the then-dean, Fred Servello, in May 2020. 

“For the last two years, the college has worked inclusively and thoughtfully to develop its new name, and I applaud everyone who has been part of this process. The new name represents the university’s commitment to earth, life and health sciences both in our state and globally,” says John Volin, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost for UMaine. “I look forward to working with the college to capitalize on this expanded recognition of our impact. I have no doubt that this modern and unique name will also resonate strongly with students now and into the future.” 

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Contact: Erin Miller,