U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe will be the speaker for the University of Southern Maine’s 132nd Commencement. The ceremony will take place beginning at 9 a.m., Saturday, May 12 in the Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland.
“I am profoundly honored to join the University of Southern Maine’s distinguished 2012 graduates at their commencement ceremonies this spring,” said Snowe. “USM stands as a beacon of learning and opportunity, and has been deservedly recognized for several years and counting, including in 2011, as one of the Best in the Northeast by The Princeton Review. True to its mantra ‘connecting you with tomorrow,’ USM is equipping the students of today with the tools and skills to become the leaders of the future, and I could not be more pleased to return to USM to share in this milestone occasion and deliver the commencement address.”
Senator Snowe, who recently announced she would not seek re-election, is only the fourth woman in history to be elected to both houses of Congress and the first woman in American history to serve in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of Congress. When first elected to Congress in 1978, at the age of 31, she was the youngest Republican woman, and the first Greek-American woman, ever elected to Congress. She has won more federal elections in Maine than any other person since World War II.
In 2005, she was named the 54th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine. In 2006 Time magazine named her one of the top 10 U.S. Senators. Calling her “The Caretaker,” Time magazine wrote of Snowe: “Because of her centrist views and eagerness to get beyond partisan point scoring, Maine Republican Olympia Snowe is in the center of every policy debate in Washington, but while Snowe is a major player on national issues, she is also known as one of the most effective advocates for her constituents.”
“We are deeply honored to have Senator Snowe speak at USM’s commencement,” said USM President Selma Botman. “Her distinguished record of public service embodies fundamental Maine values that will inspire our graduates and their families: integrity, hard work, and courage in defense of principle.