Passing of Don Zillman

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

I share with you the sad news of the passing of longtime University of Maine champion, Don Zillman. Don, who was 79, died on July 27, 2023. He had a long and distinguished career within the University of Maine System, serving in various leadership roles across different campuses, in each impressing all with his optimism, friendship and commitment to people.

At UMaine Don was interim provost from 1999–2000, where his visionary leadership and dedication to academic excellence left a lasting impact on the entire institution. This was seen through the forward momentum he provided to the faculty while serving as a kind and compassionate mentor to many. He was widely respected and his caring and supportive efforts on behalf of the campus community are fondly remembered today.

Over many years, Don and his wife Linda Zillman have been deeply involved with the Zillman Art Museum, a cherished institution within the University of Maine. Their dedication to the arts and education has been evident in their generous support of the museum’s initiatives, making a profound impact on its growth and success.

Don’s influence was instrumental in the museum’s relocation to downtown Bangor. This move allowed the museum to expand its reach and engagement with art lovers from across the state, further enriching the cultural landscape of Maine.

Don’s legacy extends far beyond his individual accomplishments; he leaves a profound and lasting impact on the University of Maine, the University of Maine at Presque Isle where he served as president, and the entire System. His dedication to education, leadership, and community service has touched the lives of countless individuals, and he will be remembered with great admiration and respect.

Don was a hero to many and a voice of reason and compassion in an ever-changing world. Our thoughts are with Linda and the entire Zillman family during this difficult time. Don will be sorely missed, yet his contributions to the University of Maine and to advancing the arts in Maine will continue to inspire and guide us as we move forward.


Joan Ferrini-Mundy