Dr. Ibram X. Kendi — professor, best-selling author, and founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research — captivated viewers of our online 141st Commencement ceremony with his powerful keynote address. We are excited to see how our 1,665 University of Southern Maine (USM) graduates — including eight doctorates, 240 graduate degrees, and 1,237 undergraduate degrees — will change the world.
Grace Muheto ’21 (shown) gave the student address at our 2021 Commencement ceremony. A refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Grace arrived in Maine at age 14 — painfully shy and just learning to speak English. Now, Grace, a Human Biology major with minors in Biochemistry and Psychology, plans to pursue a career in health care and hopes to encourage others by sharing her story.
It was positive experiences with occupational therapy that drew Jennifer Yazwinski ’21 (shown) to pursue a master’s degree in it. But as she prepared to begin the program, the 41-year-old mother of two learned she had cancer. Her diagnosis nearly derailed her dream. Instead, she threw herself into the program, not even letting radiation therapy stop her.
$400k NIH research grant awarded to the Muskie School
Our Muskie School of Public Service was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to study the health of new mothers in Maine. Kate Ahrens, an assistant research professor with our Public Health Program, and her team will compare the diagnoses and medical care of women living in rural Maine with those in other parts of the state in order to uncover any potential health disparities.
Thanks to a $500,000 gift to the University of Southern Maine (USM) from David E. Shaw ’76G, ’15H (shown) — founder of IDEXX Laboratories — we launched the Shaw Innovation Fellows program. Each year, the program will award five graduate students a fellowship to conduct research projects that demonstrate innovative approaches to solving environmental, economic, human, and societal problems. Fellows will receive a $5K grant and mentorship from business leaders in their fields of interest.
Please mark your calendars for 10 a.m., Thursday, May 20, and plan to join us in celebrating the launch of the Portland Campus Development Project, the largest construction endeavor in USM history. The 30-minute YouTube-hosted program will feature remarks from several of our highly accomplished student groundbreakers.
USM alumna Julia Gustafson ’20 earns prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship
A year after Julia Gustafson graduated from USM and left for Galway, Ireland — a prestigious Government of Ireland International Education Scholarship in hand — she has earned an even more prestigious honor. This time, Gustafson has been awarded a highly competitive Gates Cambridge Scholarship that will pay her tuition and expenses for the four years it will take her to earn a doctorate at the University of Cambridge in England.
Tiffany Dunn ’21 receives degree and a new lease on life
For nearly three years, Tiffany Dunn ’21 pursued her studies at USM while coping with heart failure. She attended classes when walking a few yards left her exhausted. She often completed assignments from a hospital bed. When her heart function plummeted, she went to classes tethered to a 6-pound battery that ran a mechanical pump keeping her alive. In early May, she received her Bachelor's in Social work, six weeks after receiving a new heart.
McKellen Spiller ’21 to commission as Air Force Intelligence Officer
Like many new USM graduates, McKellen Spiller ’21 will start a new chapter this summer. Hers may just be a little more adventurous. Spiller, 23, will commission as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Air Force. She will be the only USM senior graduating from the Air Force ROTC program this year and is the first Air Force Intelligence Officer to commission from USM in recent history.
While our in-person visits and campus tours are limited, there are still many dynamic opportunities for you to learn about our thriving academic community from home. Attend an informational webinar about our university or a specific academic program, schedule a one-on-one video chat with a current student or an admissions counselor, and more. We’re excited to connect with you!
USM's 2021 virtual Commencement aired at 9 a.m. on May 8. The YouTube-hosted video features individual recognition of each USM graduate and remarks from keynote speaker Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, student speaker USM Grace Muheto, and USM’s four honorary degree recipients: Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia Inc.; Timothy P. Wilson, senior advisor and director of the Maine Seeds Programs; and Beverly and David Worthington, co-founders of the Worthington Scholarship Foundation.
USM's African American Collection unveils exhibit on Maine’s Black families
We invite you to experience the just-opened digital exhibition, "We Exist: Evidence of Maine's Black Families from 1800 to the 20th Century." Hosted by the USM Digital Commons, "We Exist" tells the stories of Maine's Black families through photos and interviews, and is the first of six digital exhibitions at USM focused on Black Mainers. The digital exhibit is curated by Dr. Lance Gibbs, Lecturer in Race and Ethnic Studies, Director of USM’s Race and Ethnics Studies program, and the Talbot Fellow for the Gerald E. Talbot and African American Collections.
USM researcher Heather Shattuck-Heidorn works to understand gender and race difference among COVID-19 deaths
Researchers at the University of Southern Maine and Harvard University have released a new report examining COVID-19 deaths and their discovery that African-American women are dying at rates higher than men in other racial and ethnic groups. Heather Shattuck-Heidorn, an assistant professor of Women and Gender Studies at USM, served as the senior author of the article, just published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The U.S. News & World Report college rankings for 2021 are here! Out of 4,000 colleges and universities in the country — 1,500 in the northeast — the University of Southern Maine (USM) ranked as a top university for social mobility in the northern U.S. The strength of our undergraduate engineering program also earned recognition.