Keynote Speaker, Maine Author Monica Wood

Portrait of 2024 Commencement Keynote Speaker, Maine author Monica Wood
UMF 2024 Commencement Keynote Speaker, Maine author Monica Wood

Best-selling Maine author, Monica Wood was the Commencement speaker at UMF’s 2024 Commencement ceremony. She also received an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters.

Wood is an award-winning novelist, memoirist, and playwright. Originally from Mexico, Maine, her writing tells character-driven stories about life-changing events. She was named the 2024 recipient of the Sarah Josepha Hale Award for excellence in the arts in New England. The Hale Award has been given to distinguished writers since 1956. Notable recipients include Robert Frost, Ogden Nash, and Arthur Miller.

Monica Wood was also awarded the 2019 Constance Carlson Prize for contributions to the public humanities in Maine and the 2018 Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Distinguished Achievement Award for her contributions to the literary arts.

Her newest novel, “How to Read a Book,” has already secured translation rights in five countries. Her previous novel, the bestselling, “The One-in-a-Million Boy,” has been translated into 20 languages in over 30 countries.

Wood is also the author of “When We Were the Kennedys,” a New England bestseller and winner of the May Sarton Memoir Award. Her other fiction, “Any Bitter Thing,” “Ernie’s Ark,” and “My Only Story” have also won awards and made bestseller lists. Her short stories have been widely anthologized and featured on Public Radio International.

Her nonfiction and reviews have appeared in O, the New York Times, Literary Hub, Down East, the San Francisco Chronicle, Martha Stewart Living, Parade, and many other publications.

She has also written several books for aspiring writers and three plays including “The Half-Light,” “Saint Dad,” and “Papermaker,” that in 2015 debuted in an extended run at Maine’s Portland Stage. She lives in Portland with her husband, Dan Abbott, and their cat, Susie.

Senior Class Speaker, Jacob Patrick Turlo

Senior Class Speaker Jacob Turlo
Senior Class Speaker Jacob Patrick Turlo from Benton, Maine, a Political Science graduate

Graduating senior Jacob Patrick Turlo, from Benton Maine, gave the student address. Turlo graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

A transfer student to UMF, Turlo felt right at home in the Farmington community. He invested himself academically in his love for government and public affairs and served an internship with the Maine People’s Alliance and its grassroots community outreach to help Maine people.

He also participated in the UMF travel course to Washington, D.C. where he learned about the political workings of the federal government, visited the White House, and with his group, met with members of the Maine Congressional Delegation.

Turlo was encouraged by UMF Professor of Political Science Jim Melcher to apply for a year-long research scholarship as a Maine Policy Scholar and recently presented his research on how to better recruit and retain special educators in Maine.

While at UMF, he was involved with the Sustainable Campus Coalition and played on the Ultimate Disc club sports team.

Turlo plans to continue his education and hopes to work on behalf of the people of Maine.

Recorded Livestream of Commencement Ceremony

See the recording of the Commencement 2024 Livestream here and on our Youtube Channel.

Commencement Location — Narrow Gauge Amphitheater

The Narrow Gauge Amphitheater is located in downtown Farmington, behind Narrow Gauge Cinemas — near UMF’s Prescott Field (adjacent to Leib Field soccer pitch). This is a short walk from campus. For spectators who cannot sit outdoors, limited indoor seating and a livestream of the event will also be available inside Narrow Gauge Cinemas, next to the outdoor venue.

Contact Us

UMF Commencement Committee
University of Maine at Farmington
Merrill Hall
224 Main Street
Farmington, Maine USA 04938
tel  207-778-7276
TYY (via Maine Relay Service) dial 711