USM’s Franco-American Collection is governed by a Board of Directors who represent the interests of the University of Southern Maine and the Franco-American Community. A number of positions are therefore reserved for staff, faculty and students of the University of Southern Maine, Lewiston-Auburn College. Appointments to the board, and responsibilities of board members are determined by the Collection’s By Laws.
Ex-Officio Board Members:
USM Dean of Libraries and Learning: Zach Newell
Franco-American Collection Fellow: Emmanuel Kayembe
Franco-American Collection Archivist: Anna Faherty
USM Research Librarian: Maureen Perry
USM Library Specialist: Elizabeth Bull
Doris Belisle-Bonneau (Treasurer)
Doris Bonneau is a retired educator. She served as the Chair of the Board for 4 years and is currently its Treasurer. During that time, she was inducted into the Maine Franco-American Hall of Fame. In 2013, the French Government also recognized her work in education by awarding her the medal of Chevalier des Palmes Académiques. In 2017, she received a second decoration entitled Chevalier de l’Order de Mérite which recognizes Frenchmen and foreigners who have been prominent in community service to enhance French connections in the US. In the past, she has been a trustee of the Lewiston Library and a Trustee of the State Community College, where she served as chair of its Education Policy Committee. In addition, she served on numerous local boards and committees such as the Board of Directors of the Gendron Franco-American Center. Currently, she serves as trustee to the Auburn Public Library and she volunteers and does ministry at D’Youville Pavilion.
Why I serve on the board
Stories are part of the most precious heritage of mankind which is the reason that I continue to be passionate about supporting the Franco-American Collection (FAC) at the Lewiston College of USM. Its mission is not only to archive resources but also to continue to collect and celebrate Franco-American values and traditions that contributed to the development of the State of Maine. Franco-American scholar, Claire Quintal, in her 2005 article on Franco archives, reinforces the significance of Franco institutions to the preservation of Quebecois and Acadian diaspora group records in New England. She notes that “If it is possible to ensure that archives are places of memory, and that their worth not be under-estimated, then we must know where to find them and be able to use them.” I trust that my commitment to the Collection will assist in recording, inventorying, acquiring, cataloguing and sharing the stories of the Lewiston Auburn Franco Community.
George Blouin (Emeritus)
George Blouin was born in Lewiston, Maine, and attended Saints Peter and Paul’s Elementary School under the auspices of the Dominican nuns and the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. Following Elementary School, George left Lewiston to study for the priesthood at Eymard Preparatory Seminary in Hyde Park, New York, the training campus for the Blessed Sacrament Fathers. He received his high school diploma at the seminary and his Associate in Arts from New York State. He then received the habit at the novitiate of the congregation in Barre, Massachusetts. After a year and a half, George left the seminary to continue his studies in English at the University of Maine in Orono, He taught English at Bangor High school for a half year and then went to a small town in upper state New York to teach English and drama at the Lowville Academy and Central School for some three years. His teaching career ended after 36 years in Long Island New York at the John F. Kennedy High School. He received his MA in Liberal Arts from the New York State University at Stony Brook.
During his tenure at these schools, he produced plays and musicals while continuing his seminary position organist, composer and choir director. He became the teachers’ union representative to the PTA, a member of the teachers’ negotiating team and was the committee chairperson for the 30 member merger committee when the two Plainview high schools’ numbers decreased.
He returned to his native state of Maine for his retirement and became active on the boards of several local institutions: The Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine, L/A, The Maine Franco-American Genealogical Society and the Senior College at the University of Maine, L/A.
Returning to his Franco-American roots was an inevitability, as within minutes of starting any new class, his students were informed that his Franco identity was one facet that stamped both his life and his teaching.
Juliana L’Heureux (Board Chair)
Why I serve?
In the 2012 Legislative Session, the State of Maine mandated the creation of a task force to examine the status of Maine’s Franco-American populations. I was honored to serve on this committee, and to help communicate the published findings through newspaper articles, blogs essays and in public speaking forums. A few years later, I was inducted into the Franco-American Hall of Fame by the Maine legislature. Although I grew up in Maryland, my experience with the French culture was enriched by learning about how the French were essential in supporting General George Washington, during the Revolutionary War. Therefore, when my Franco-American husband asked our family to move to Maine, after he retired from the U.S. Navy, I became fascinated to learn more about the culture where he grew up, in York County. Since 1988, I have been writing about Franco-Americans in Maine, in New England and around the world. My point of view has always been to shine a light on the culture I learned about through the numerous contributions I witnessed and reported via interviewing hundreds of wonderful people and many family members who shared their diverse stories. Merci beaucoup! My service on the Franco-American Board is an extension of all the experiences I shared during the past three plus decades.
Raymond J. Lagueux
Ray is a Lewiston native educated in local schools. After graduating from Providence College and earning an MA from The Ohio State University, Ray was hired to establish a Foreign / Modern Language Program at Farmington State Teacher’s College (now UMF) where he taught for several years full-time and then part-time at Lewiston-Auburn College (now USM/L-A Campus). While at UMF he helped develop a proposal for the creation of their Liberal Arts Degree Program.
His interest in the French language and culture led him to work passionately at the Chamber of Commerce for the FFA (Forum Francophone des Affaires) establishing a business rapport with Canada and international French speaking countries.
Eventually Ray worked in the family business as Marketing Director, but always maintained an active role in promoting the French language. He was a Director of the Gendron Franco Center for many years as well as a resource for local businesses to foster French in their global market.
Ray served on the boards of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce and Maine Family FCU. He was a lector at Holy Family Church and prior to Covid 19, he was a docent at Museum L-A. Ray was inducted to the State of Maine Franco-American Hall of Fame in 2016.
Why I Serve:
The Renaissance of Franco-American Cultural awareness that was taking place upon my return to Maine after graduate school helped me to use my role as a French language instructor to high-light the benefits of a bi-lingual culture that was often maligned.
I continue to seek opportunities to encourage, support and maintain the history of Franco-Americans in Maine and elsewhere.
Camden Martin was born in Lewiston and grew up in Auburn, he attended Edward Little High School until his sophomore year before attending the Lycée Albert Camus in Nîmes, France. He was able to do so after having won a scholarship that permitted to study in France for two months. This in turn resulted in him studying there for two years both his junior and senior year. After having graduated from both Edward Little and Lycée Albert Camus, Camden took a sabbatical year where he worked in French Language customer service. Afterwards, he went to school at the Cégep Saint Félicien in Québec, where he studied Environmental protection. Upon returning to Maine, he worked at Museum L-A before becoming the French Teacher at Saint Dominic Academy. Why I serve?Having grown up in Lewiston-Auburn and discovering my rich Franco-American heritage as a teenager, all causes that seek to promote and preserve the French language and culture are very near and dear to me. Therefore, in serving on the board, I wish to continue in the tradition of my ancestors and continue the notion of La Survivance.
Roger Philippon (Emeritus Board Chair)
A Lewiston native, Roger retired in December 2020 as dean of planning and public affairs at Central Maine Community College. Prior to his tenure at CMCC, he served as assistant dean for student and community affairs at USM’s L-A College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration from the University of Maine and a master’s degree in adult education from the University of Southern Maine. Long active in local civic and cultural affairs, Roger serves on the Lewiston Finance Committee and is a former Lewiston city councilor and planning board member.
Roger served on the FAC board of directors for over 15 years, including several years as chair. A past president and secretary of the Lewiston Richelieu Club, he also served as treasurer of the Festivale Franco-Americain. An actor by avocation, Roger is still remembered for his performances as Louis Morin in the musical production “Lewiston, A New Home,” and as Papa Martel, the main character in Gerard Robichaud’s novel of the same name. Active with the L-A Metro Chamber of Commerce, he is also a member of the L-A Rotary Club. He and his wife Celeste live in Lewiston and devote much time and energy to the L/A Community Little Theater, where they serve as co-executive director and artistic director respectively.
Andrea Quaid (Vice Chair)
Andrea Quaid presently works for US Senator Angus S. King, Jr. Before joining the Senator’s staff, she worked for 14 years for Congressman Michael H. Michaud in his Lewiston office. Previously, Andrea spent 12 years living and working in Paris, France for La Caisse des Depôts et Consignations where fluent French was a requirement. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and majored in French. She spent several terms in Bourges and Toulouse with their Language Study and Foreign Study Abroad programs.
Upon moving to Maine, she was delighted to find French-speaking communities where she could continue using her spoken French. Discovering the Collection only added to her delight as a resource for both written French and cultural artifacts.
Why I Serve:
Preserving the cultural heritage of the Franco community is an essential part of both the history of Maine and of the United States. The French language and culture have shaped the Lewiston/Auburn communities and we have a responsibility to save and share all of this with future generations.
Mary Rice-DeFosse is a professor of French and Francophone Studies at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. She offers a variety of courses on the French-speaking world, including French in Maine, a course on the history, literature, and culture of Franco-Americans. She is co-author of The Franco-Americans of Lewiston-Auburn (The History Press, 2015). She served as scholar for a permanent exhibit at Lewiston’s Gendron Franco Center on the Sisters of Charity, also called the Grey Nuns, and their work in the local community. She co-produced and wrote a documentary film with the same title as the exhibit, They Came, They Served /Elles sont venues, ells ont servi. Her students conducted many of the interviews featured in the film. In addition to her research on Franco-Americans, she has published widely on French literature of the nineteenth-century, especially women writers. She is currently President of the George Sand Association and is a past President of Women in French. She earned her B.A. in Romance Languages at Boston College and an M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Yale University.
Why I Serve: When I arrived at Bates College, I asked my students in the course Oral French to interview a French-speaker as one of their assignments. The students often chose to speak in French with members of the college’s staff with whom they interacted on a daily basis. The interviews led to the development of courses and course units on Franco-Americans. The late Madeleine Giguere, Professor Emerita of Sociology at USM and an expert in the field, provided mentorship and guidance and later invited me to join the board. I serve to honor Madeleine and all the generous Franco-Americans and French-speakers who have enriched my own life and those of my students.
In 2021 I participated in a film project entitled “Le Carrefour” and was feeling energized and excited about all Franco-related things. So, it was the right time for me to engage.
As my story is related in the film, I was not always thrilled about my Franco heritage. I avoided the Festivals de Joie that were held in Lewiston. I tried to lose my Lewiston accent. I even joined in mocking the French. (I think because I had the mentality of “You aren’t laughing at me if I’m laughing too. You are laughing with me.)
You could call it a form of atonement. As I am ashamed of my past behavior and ways of thinking. But I also see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. My quest to relearn my first language has opened many doors for me. And I consider serving on this board just another of those wonderful opportunities.
I hope that my service will bring good things to the collection and its mission.