The University of Maine at Farmington awarded 456 diplomas at its 2013 Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 18, with new UMF President Kathryn A. Foster presiding. Foster, faculty, administrators and dignitaries led the graduates in a traditional procession to the festive sounds of bagpipes to open the ceremony. According to an article in the Kennebec Journal, William Wegman—pioneering video artist, conceptualist, photographer, painter and writer—delivered the keynote address to UMF graduates and their families, the UMF community and honored guests. The University awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to Wegman along with Barbara W. Woodlee, recently-retired president of Kennebec Valley Community College and UMF alumna. “I’m thrilled to be a part of this time-honored tradition at UMF,” said Foster. “This is not only a day to celebrate the outstanding work and academic achievements of our students over the course of their time at UMF, but also a time to look ahead to the opportunities that higher education make possible.”
William Wegman, acclaimed photographer, artist, writer and videographer, will be the keynote speaker at the University of Maine at Farmington’s upcoming graduation. The commencement will take place on the UMF campus on Saturday, May 18, at an outdoor ceremony. Wegman is noted by the New York Times as “one of the most important artists to emerge from the heady experiments of the 1970s.” He is best known for the photographs and videos of his beloved Weimaraner dogs that have captured the appreciation and affection of a broad audience. UMF President Kathryn A. Foster said in a recent Morning Sentinel article, “We are thrilled and excited to have him. The arts matter here and we felt that Wegman, with his breadth of work in the arts, was a wonderful way to demonstrate that commitment.”
Visiting UMF Libra Professor Sudip Mazumdar—one of the most influential reporters in the Indian journalistic scene—is teaching and lecturing at University of Maine at Farmington this semester. Recently featured on “207,” a primetime news show on WCSH 6, Mazumdar rose from the slums of India to become an award-winning investigative journalist and special correspondent and bureau chief for Newsweek in India. His work has included in-depth coverage of stories from the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the chemical disaster in Bhopal, India’s liberalization program, and terrorism to the global appeal of Bollywood. The Libra Professorship Program brings prominent faculty to UMaine campuses.
The Peer Financial Literacy Program at University of Maine at Farmington has students helping students understand how to make good decisions about college debt and money management. According to “207,” WCSH 6’s nightly Maine magazine broadcast, the program is unique in that it was created by students for students. Trained students interns provide the customized financial guidance that can help fellow students acquire less debt and be in a better financial position upon graduation. Michael Angelides, 2012 UMF graduate and developer of the program, sees how important it is to be a part of the national conversation about college debt. “Knowledge is power, and if you have the skills to manage money you have the skills to manage your debt too,” said Angelides.
The Emery Community Arts Center’s visionary performance and exhibit space brings artists throughout the literary, visual and performing arts to western Maine. According to a recent feature in the Maine Sunday Telegram, Emery’s performance and gallery space has “become a magnet for cultural events in the region.” The innovative venue for the arts opened its doors in 2011 and has, since then, become a keystone to the arts on the University of Maine at Farmington campus—providing a state-of-the-art portal to the much-loved Alumni Theater and embracing UMF’s Nordica Auditorium in historic Merrill Hall. Maine Sunday Telegram
UMF students met with Maine information technology professionals and employers on the UMF campus for an afternoon of networking and career building. The event was sponsored by Project>Login, the newest program of Educate Maine—a business-led organization whose mission is to champion college and career readiness and increased education attainment. The networking reception was just the first effort by Project>Login to help students partner with Maine businesses. The initiative includes many resources for students including internship opportunities, resume posting, instructional events, educational resources and a network of support designed to grow Maine’s computer technology workforce.
Demolition, painting, insulating and installing sheetrock…that’s just some of the ways 20 UMF students will be spending their February Break in New Orleans this year as they reach out to help the still-struggling victims of Hurricane Katrina. The students, part of the UMF club associated with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, are teaming up with students from other Maine colleges as they make plans to go to New Orleans from February 15-24, where they will work with Habitat for Humanity and other local charitable organizations. According to UMF senior Jacob Marcoux in a recent Sun Journal article, “It hits home when you see it. We want to rise to the occasion and help out. We are blessed in the United States and are compelled to use those blessings to care for the needs of others.”
Students from UMF and around the world shared their stories, knowledge and experience with members of the campus and local community at the annual UMF Study Abroad Fair. Both UMF students who have studied in foreign countries and international students studying at UMF were all on hand to talk about how the experience enriched their learning and expanded their horizons. An article in the Sun Journal detailed how students have furthered their education at UMF study abroad programs in England, France, China and Argentina and provider programs in Rwanda, Ecuador and Ireland. Regarding the semester she studied at University of Hull, in England, UMF junior Innes Herdan said, “It wasn’t just an educational experience, it was a life experience.”
(Left to right) Tricia Cook, program coordinator Western Mountains Alliance; Kyle Norweg, UMF student intern; Tanya Swain, executive director Western Mountains Alliance; Yellow Light Breen, executive vice president Bangor Savings Bank
The UMF Partnership for Civic Advancement, a new internship-based initiative to engage students in the community, recently celebrated its first year in operation. The student internships are designed in collaboration with the western Maine community to address economic and community development priorities while also achieving student learning objectives. As reported by the Sun Journal, the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation awarded a three-year grant to the Partnership in support of the program and also sponsored the celebratory event. F. Celeste Branham, UMF vice president for student and community services and director of the program, expressed the University’s gratitude to the foundation and observed that the new Partnership “is a pioneering example of campus-community collaborations, the first of its kind within the University of Maine System, and one that yields measurable benefits for our students and the community alike.”
Left to right: Stephen Davis, UMF career counselor; Samantha DePoy-Warren, class of 2006; and Benjamin Sandy, UMF senior from Vassalboro.
Successful Maine business professionals who received their undergraduate degrees from UMF recently shared their work experiences with students at UMF’s seventh annual College to Corporate Symposium. As reported by the Sun Journal, the yearly event invites students to participate in a professional networking opportunity that includes a panel discussion on hiring practices, industry trends and key ways to navigate today’s job landscape. Kate Baum, UMF assistant director of alumni relations and moderator of the event, sees the connection between students and successful alumni as very beneficial as students prepare for the working world. “Events like these help students be successful in the job market, and hopefully they’ll come back to campus to share their experiences with the next generation of students.”