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

Community Members:

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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.

Spencer Davis

Suzanne Davis

Camden Martin

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.

James Myall headshot.

James Myall (Interim Chair)

Maggie Pelletier

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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.

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David Nutty (USM Director of Libraries Emeritus)

Cecile Thornton (Treasurer)

 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.