President’s Message to the Community: April 26

As we near the close of another academic year, thoughts are with our students and faculty as preparations are made for finals and final papers, theses and dissertations, capstone projects and class presentations. For those students completing their academic requirements for graduation, it is a particularly exhilarating time.

Whether graduating or returning this summer and fall, the achievements of our students in and out of the classroom should be celebrated. Their UMaine experience has to do with the quality of our faculty and their dedication to mentoring, and the breadth and depth of what this flagship university has to offer.

For example, I’d like to introduce you to valedictorian Graham Van Goffrier and salutatorian Brianna DeGone. In his four years at UMaine, Graham completed both a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in electrical engineering, spent his summers in our research labs, and is now headed to Cambridge. He also took to the stage in UMaine performing arts events, took on student leadership roles and took to the ice for the first time to join the Figure Skating Club. Brianna is a record-holding scholar-athlete on the women’s track and field team who had two internships related to her bioengineering major, worked with the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center), and had international volunteer experience. She is headed for an MBA and a career in the biomedical field.

I hope you will take the time to read more about them and the nine named Outstanding Graduating Students. As we do every year, we asked our top students what difference UMaine made in their lives. We asked them about the professors and mentors who made their UMaine experience better. And we also ask them: Why UMaine?

Their responses are inspiring and should make this community proud. Their perspectives speak to the distinction of this research university, including the faculty and staff at its heart.

As Graham noted: “I credit UMaine and its professors with offering so many research opportunities to their students. This makes a big difference to any student working to determine career path options.”

UMaine celebrated those multifaceted opportunities for research, scholarship and creative achievement with awards to undergraduates and graduate students at the 2018 Student Symposium earlier this month. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to take a look at the impressive list of award winners, their projects and their faculty mentors who help make it all possible.

Next week, UMaine’s commitment to community engagement will be in high gear with our many Maine Day activities on May 2. Among the nearly 70 projects on and off campus involving UMaine community volunteers will be the second Maine Day Meal Pack-out beginning at 9 a.m. in New Balance Student Recreation Center. As of April 26, more than 1,000 volunteers have signed up for activities. Looking for ideas of how to get involved? Sign up on the Maine Day project list, coordinated by the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism. Watch the UMaine news website for a full story about this year’s Maine Day events.

May 2 also will be the University of Maine Foundation’s third annual Maine Day of Giving. More information is online.

We look forward to the many exciting events leading up to Commencement May 12, including the ceremonies for ROTC Commissioning, Graduate Commencement and School of Nursing Pinning.

Hope to see you there.