UMaine names 2024 commencement speakers

The first woman to serve as adjutant general of the Maine National Guard and a professor emerita at the University of Vermont (UVM) who also serves as a research associate of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will address graduates at the University of Maine’s 222nd commencement ceremonies on May 3–4.

Stephanie Seguino, professor emerita at the UVM and UMaine alumna, will address the Graduate School Commencement that begins at 4 p.m. May 3 and Brig. Gen. Diane Dunn, adjutant general of the Maine National Guard (MENG) and commissioner of the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management (DVEM), will address the two undergraduate ceremonies that begin at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. May 4. The three ceremonies in Harold Alfond Sports Arena will be livestreamed on the commencement website.

“Dr. Seguino, an esteemed UMaine alum, has dedicated her career to research and education, which will resonate with and encourage our graduate students as they set out to make their own meaningful contributions to society,” says UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. “We are also privileged to welcome back Brigadier General Diane Dunn, my former chief of staff and a woman who continues to break barriers and demonstrate the power of inspired leadership. Hosting these two accomplished UMaine alums serves two purposes: to show the breadth and depth of the individuals whose education was provided in part by this institution and to inspire our next generation of leaders. We are honored they will both be joining us.”

A portrait of Diane Dunn
Diane Dunn

In the 200-year history of the MENG Dunn has broken many barriers. Early in her career, she served as the assistant professor of military science at UMaine, where she earned her Master of Public Administration. In 2009, she deployed to Afghanistan as commander of the 286th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. In 2014, she became the first woman to command a brigade in the Maine Army National Guard. As her journey continued, she was selected as the chief of staff and assistant adjutant general for the Maine Army National Guard. Dunn was further honored when personally requested by the director of the Army National Guard to serve as deputy commanding general for U.S. Army North at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

After retiring from the MENG in 2021, she returned to UMaine as a senior advisor to the president and later as chief of staff. 

The recipient of numerous accolades, Dunn has been awarded the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the National Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, the Global War on Terrorism-Service Medal and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal. She has also obtained a master of strategic studies degree from the U.S. Army War College.   

A photo of Stephanie Seguino
Stephanie Seguino

Seguino, a professor emerita at UVM, serves as a research associate of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and as a fellow of the Gund Institute for the Environment.

Seguino’s research explores the relationship between intergroup inequality by class, race and gender and their societal effects on economic development and growth. Prior to assuming her current position, she served as a professor of economics at UVM (2007–22). Other previous positions include associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences (2005–08) and chair of the Department of Economics (2003–06), both at UVM.

Before obtaining her Ph.D. from American University in 1994, she worked as an economist in Haiti through the United States Agency for International Development in the pre- and post-“Baby Doc” era. She obtained her master’s degree in economics from UMaine (1985). 

The author of numerous publications and articles, she currently serves as an associate editor for Feminist Economics and associate editor for the Review of Keynesian Economics. She also serves on the editorial board for the Revista de Economía Crítica. 

Seguino has served on several professional association boards and committees, including as president of the International Association for Feminist Economics; president of the Association for Social Economics; and member of the international advisory board for the Association for the Advancement of African Women Economists. She currently serves as a member of the Center for Research on Vermont; co-chair of the Burlington Police Commission; and member of the board of advisers for the Review of Political Economy. Additionally, she has served as an adviser and consultant to numerous international organizations including the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, U.N. Women and the Asian Development Bank. 

Contact: Shelby Hartin,