Maine Memo — Resilience and collective commitment

Dear members of the University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias communities,

I wanted to add a few personal words of thanks and encouragement to the many greetings and end-of-semester communications that we all are receiving. In pandemic time, each semester brings more challenges, unexpected turns of events and issues than the one before. Yet throughout the now-endemic pandemic, our communities rise to those challenges and use unexpected changes to display ingenuity and problem-solving skills. And consistently we come together and stay focused, effectively, on what we are about, which are the opportunities for our students to learn. I thank you for your collective commitment to that enterprise.

Speaking directly to our more than 12,000 students at UMaine and UMaine Machias who come from all corners of Maine and around the world — your effort, your willingness to help care about one another and all in our communities, and your actions to be sure you are vaccinated or have allowable exemptions, to test, to distance, to understand that new requirements and changes in plans are now what we have come to expect, are most central in enabling your education to stay on track.

We hear a lot in the press about resilience, a topic studied by psychologists and very much front and center in the pandemic. And though it sounds trite, you, our students, demonstrate a remarkable collective level of resilience. The American Psychological Association defines resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress” ( This adaptation takes energy, work, commitment, and attention.

So, as you all complete your obligations for fall semester 2021, no matter what you will do over the holiday break, celebrate your remarkable resilience. And find ways to relax, decompress, refresh, and maybe even take a brief vacation from being constantly resilient.

I look forward to seeing everyone in January and together experiencing whatever challenges, unexpected turns and twists come our way while learning continues.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.


Joan Ferrini-Mundy