University message of gratitude
University of Maine System leaders respond to the Harold Alfond Foundation investment
- University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy
- University of Maine System Board of Trustees Chair James Erwin
- University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy
- University of Southern Maine President Glenn Cummings
- University of Maine School of Law Dean Leigh Saufley
- University of Maine Athletic Director Ken Ralph
Maine is receiving a transformative, unprecedented investment in its people and its future from the Harold Alfond Foundation. And it comes at a time when we need optimism and an affirmation that we work best when we work together. Through the work to achieve unified accreditation for our universities and, more recently, to bring our students back to Maine in one of the safest fall reopenings in the country, we have remained focused on both the success, and public health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, and the Maine communities where they learn, teach and engage in research.
We are extremely grateful for the Harold Alfond Foundation’s commitment to Maine’s public universities. We’re ready to use these generous investments and the matching dollars they leverage to transform our academic collaborations and facilities, provide resources to faculty for development and innovation, support student success and provide scholarships, and work with state and global partners to accelerate workforce and economic opportunities for Maine. All of this honors the Harold Alfond Foundation’s 70-year legacy of service and generosity.
The Board of Trustees is incredibly appreciative of the Harold Alfond Foundation’s support for and confidence in the steps we have taken to provide Maine’s public universities with the leadership and strategic direction necessary for them to become accessible, affordable, and responsive 21st-century leaders in education, research and workforce development. Given the right educational and experiential learning opportunities, Maine students and workers can compete with anyone in the world. With the Alfond Foundation’s historic partnership, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to become the high-performing statewide institution of public higher education Maine families, employers and community leaders need to overcome the state’s demographic and skills-gap challenges, and to participate fully in the rapidly changing knowledge economy.
We are deeply grateful to the Harold Alfond Foundation for providing this extraordinary opportunity for transformation at the University of Maine and across the University of Maine System. This investment will have a far-reaching impact throughout Maine and well beyond. The UMS and other initiatives announced today will enable the development of talent that will serve Maine for decades to come, grow the environments that foster innovation and entrepreneurship, and renew infrastructure for research and education.
The investments in Black Bear athletics are an investment in Maine. They will strengthen and solidify the state’s only Division I athletics program and ensure gender equity. UMaine will have the facilities to be able to welcome schools and organizations from across Maine for athletic competitions and championships, and other statewide initiatives ranging from STEM to the arts.
The Alfond Foundation’s vision and leadership give us opportunities unlike any we have ever had to emphasize student success and retention; expand engineering, computing and information science education statewide at the undergraduate and graduate levels, in partnerships with K–12, higher education, and the public and private sectors; and help drive economic recovery and growth in Maine through the integration of business, law and public policy. I thank the Alfond Foundation for its confidence in our capabilities and potential to use this gift of unprecedented magnitude to transform our institutions and our state.
The Harold Alfond Foundation has our community’s deepest gratitude for this historic gift to Maine’s flagship university, to the entire University of Maine System and to the University of Southern Maine.
The Foundation’s commitment will have a transformative and lasting impact on Maine students. The gift will allow our universities to add even greater value to our state’s workforce and will strengthen our graduates’ contributions to their communities. It’s especially wonderful to see the Foundation’s commitment to build new facilities for the Maine Graduate and Professional Center on USM’s Portland Campus and provide USM students with expanded scholarships. The Foundation’s investment will strengthen the Center’s ability to marshal programs in law, business, policy and public health to grow Maine’s economy. We will all gain from the Center’s ongoing service to Maine’s businesses and civic, legal and nonprofit organizations.
On behalf of the USM community, I thank the Harold Alfond Foundation for their confidence in our ability to realize the full potential of their investment and the magnitude of their generosity.
On behalf of the students — current and future — of Maine Law and the Graduate and Professional Center, we send our deepest gratitude to the Harold Alfond Foundation, not just for the extraordinary generosity demonstrated through this transformative grant, but also for the vision and support for collaborative and cross-disciplinary education. The interplay of business, law, science, engineering, and policy has never been more important in Maine and this country. The work already made possible through prior generosity of the Foundation has demonstrated the critical importance of educating the next generation of Maine’s business leaders, lawyers, policy makers, scientists and engineers across multiple disciplines, and this extraordinary gift will advance the reframing of graduate education in a way that will add immense value to Maine for generations to come.
Words cannot adequately convey our appreciation for the generosity of the Harold Alfond Foundation. This gift to the University of Maine System and to Black Bear Athletics once again shows how the Board of the Harold Alfond Foundation continues to honor Mr. Alfond’s passion for excellence in education and athletics. This grant will allow us to upgrade our facilities to improve the competitiveness of our Division I teams, advance our stated commitment to gender equity in our athletics programs, as well as create a destination for youth club programs and high school championship level events, cementing Orono as the premier destination in Maine for sports while drawing countless youth to our campus to enjoy the thrill of competing.
This grant will allow us to build out some new facilities and upgrade existing facilities. The full execution of our plan will positively impact all 17 of our varsity programs while also providing better facilities for our on-campus recreational sports. The spectator experience will also be enhanced so people can more easily make the decision to come to campus to cheer on their Black Bears.
Since the mid-’70s when Harold Alfond made a gift which would become Alfond Arena, the Alfond family has positively impacted generations of athletes in Orono. This new grant will allow us to enhance the Alfond legacy with the University of Maine and the Black Bears. We are humbled by the generosity shown by the Harold Alfond Foundation and will work hard every day to live up to the expectations Harold Alfond had for the university and its athletic department.