FARMINGTON, ME (December 18, 2018)—The University of Maine at Farmington is counting down to 2019 with a look back at some of the extraordinary people, happenings and opportunities that have made 2018 an exceptional year.
“This has been a remarkable and in many ways pivotal year for UMF,” said Eric Brown, UMF interim president. “We have experienced unprecedented good fortune on a number of fronts, and we are preparing for an even more monumental 2019.”
Now in its 155th year, UMF’s most valuable asset continues to be its outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni. About 1,850 students attend the University at any given time—a close community of caring and creative learners supported by dedicated UMF staff and faculty committed to their success.
Among these hardworking, purposeful students this year was 2018 UMF graduate Dorothy Barker White. About 400 fellow classmates cheered her on as “Dot” graduated in May at 89 years young after 48 years of taking classes at UMF, determined to never stop learning.
UMF students are mirrored in its alumni—those hardworking, successful students of yesterday—who continue to make their mark. Notable this year are the many thoughtful alumni who found a way to give back to their alma mater.
Alumni like T. Margaret Brown, class of 1955, a longtime Portland teacher. She was always there for her students in need and this year left the UMF Endowed Scholarship Fund one of its largest bequests that will continue to provide for students far into the future.
In the same spirit of generosity, Michael Bell, class of 1986, is investing in at-risk students with a gift that created the Bell Scholars Program. This cohort-based program supports at-risk students with an innovative four-year plan of mentoring, advising and career exploration to give them the kind of support that can provide them with a “roadmap to success.”
And alumni return to give of themselves to the next generation, like Steve Clifford, class of 1983 and recently named head coach of the Orlando Magic, who returned to his alma mater this past fall, as in years past, to offer a coaching clinic to aspiring athletes.
Rooted in a tradition of teacher preparation, UMF proudly announced this year that it has received both national accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and state accreditation from the Maine State Board of Education.
UMF is the first institution in the state of Maine to meet the new, rigorous national accreditation standards. It also received two commendations from the Maine State Board of Education regarding its ongoing commitment to full time faculty and its dedication to assistive technology with the Spenciner Curriculum Materials Center.
UMF’s support of the public liberal arts achieved a significant milestone this year with the creation of its New Commons Project—a cultural commons of 24 works of art selected from submissions by community members throughout Maine. The two-year partnership between UMF and the Maine Humanities Council, funded by a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, encourages individuals to nominate, by video submission, cultural works they deem worthy of inclusion in a statewide “digital commons” of art, film, literature and music.
UMF has been highly ranked time and time again this year for its academic quality, affordability, value, campus lifestyle and commitment to environmental sustainability.
It was recognized as a “Top Public College” and for “Best Undergraduate Teaching” by U.S. News and World Report, “Top 10 Baccalaureate College” by Washington Monthly, “Best College for Your Money” by Money magazine, “Top 100 Best Value College” by Educate to Career, “Most Affordable LGBTQ-Friendly College” by Student Loan Hero.com, “Top Green College” by Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges, and more.
UMF student athletes also had an outstanding year. Women’s soccer won their second North Atlantic Conference Championship in program history, and women’s cross country took first place at the NAC Championship this fall, while men’s rugby won their second straight New England Rugby Football Union championship.
Always mindful of new opportunities to help students be fully prepared and career-ready, UMF created a new World Language Education major for fall 2018. This program helps educators be fully certified to teach Spanish or French in K-12 classrooms and has the potential to help fill the significant language teacher shortage that exists in Maine and across the U.S.
2018 was an important year for the UMF Office of Graduate Studies that created six new certificate programs for educators in the field. Designed in close collaboration with industry leaders, certificates in Mathematics, Special Education and English Language Learners have been designed to help meet the professional needs of practicing teachers.
In addition, UMF partnered with UMaine School of Law to give students a more affordable path to a law degree in six years rather than seven. Also available this past fall, UMF’s new 3+3 Accelerated Pre-Law Program provides qualified UMF students with ready access to a path to a professional law degree a year early while also saving a year’s worth of tuition and fees.
New opportunities are also on the horizon for UMF. A new semester abroad program in Morocco is being developed for students interested in adding a unique international experience to their education. The new program will provide both exchange students and visiting scholars with a rich cultural experience and snow sport opportunities.
As 2018 comes to a close, a new UMF presidential search and invigorated bond investment in the campus promises great opportunity for the New Year. New campus vision and leadership will continue to fulfill UMF’s mission of access to high quality public higher education in Maine. While new investment will ensure campus facilities can meet student and community needs as UMF continues to advance and thrive.
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UMF Associate Director for Media Relations