UMF Commencement – Saturday, May 8
This year, due to continued COVID restrictions, the University of Maine at Farmington held a different kind of Commencement. The ceremony was a pre-recorded video event available for viewing here.
All portions of the ceremony — including students having their names announced as they marched across the stage of UMF’s Nordica Auditorium in caps and gowns to receive their diplomas — were pre-recorded in advance the weeks prior to May 8. The recording sessions followed all Maine CDC, State and UMaine System COVID guidelines.
The pre-recorded segments were edited into a final Class of 2021 Commencement Video that premiered at 10:30am the morning of May 8, allowing graduating students, their families and their friends to watch the ceremony in its entirety together, safely and remotely: speeches, music, conferring of degrees and more. The 2021 Commencement video will also be available on the University of Maine at Farmington Youtube channel for viewing for years to come.
Keynote Speaker and Class of 2021 Student Speaker
Daniel Gunn, UMF Professor Emeritus of English, was the Keynote Speaker.
A much-loved and respected colleague, student mentor, advisor and friend, UMF Professor Emeritus of English Daniel Gunn served the University of Maine at Farmington for more than 40 years.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to speak to these students, many of whom I know well, and all of whom I admire for their courage and resilience under very difficult circumstances during the past year,” said Gunn.
During his time teaching, he offered courses in the English novel, the eighteenth century, Shakespeare, James Joyce and many other areas. He also served as Faculty Senate Chair, Chair of the Division of Humanities, Acting Dean of Arts and Sciences, and Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
His professional contributions include critical essays on Jane Austen, George Eliot, James Joyce, Samuel Richardson, Henry James and other novelists in distinguished academic journals, including Narrative, Nineteenth-Century Literature, James Joyce Quarterly and Eighteenth-Century Fiction. He has also published occasional essays in the Georgia Review, the Iowa Review, the Ohio Review and other magazines.
Recently retired, Gunn continues to teach one course in Literary Analysis and Interpretation each year.
Billie Rose Newby was the Class of 2021 Student Speaker.
A double major — Creative Writing and English, Billie Rose Newby was drawn to UMF for its notable Creative Writing program but also loves the outdoor activities offered by the rural setting.
During her four years at UMF, she has been very involved with the campus community serving on the executive board of the Student Theater at UMF organization, as a teaching assistant in Creative Writing, and a co-editor of the Sandy River Review. She has also served as president of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society, and works for the University’s Conferences and Events office.
“This has been an extraordinary year, but our class is an extraordinary class,” said Newby. “We have done our best to rise to the occasion with every challenge, to come together, make a difference, and now to celebrate our success. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, she plans to work in film production for animated television as well as developing her own personal creative writing projects, including a flash fiction web-series, a book of short-stories and serial narrative podcasts.
Office of the Provost/
Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Maine at Farmington
224 Main Street
Farmington, Maine USA 04938
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