University of Southern Maine receives $850,000 gift from L.L.Bean

For Immediate Release: 6/23/22

Contact: Corey Hascall, USM Foundation,, 207-650-2343

PORTLAND, Maine — The University of Southern Maine Foundation has received a gift of $850,000 from L.L.Bean, including $750,000 to support a new Career & Student Success Center (CSSC) and green campus quad, now under construction on USM’s Portland campus.

An additional $100,000 will establish a new scholarship to benefit USM students, the L.L.Bean Environmental Science Endowed Scholarship.

The Career & Student Success Center, the campus quad, and the adjacent Portland Commons residence hall, are all part of the historic transformation of USM’s Portland campus––the University’s largest construction project ever and its most sustainable. The CSSC is being built to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver certification and will overlook a one-acre expanse of green space––to be named “the Bean Green”––formerly a paved parking lot.

L.L. Bean brought its Bootmobile to the announcement about the company's gift in support of the Portland Commons development project.
L.L. Bean’s Bootmobile provided a visual reminder of the company’s gift.

Standing on the Portland campus construction site, L.L.Bean’s executive chairman Shawn Gorman announced the gift on Thursday, June 23, during a “topping off” ceremony for the Portland Commons residence hall, when the final structural beam was lifted into place.

“We’re proud of our long-standing partnership with USM, and excited to play a role in bringing a reimagined Portland campus to life,” said Shawn Gorman, executive chairman of L.L.Bean. “This new building, with its green quad in the center, will make it easy for busy students to build outside time into their daily routines, and experience the restorative power of nature just outside their door. We are also pleased to support students pursuing an environmental education with the permanent endowment of the L.L.Bean Environmental Science scholarship.”

L.L. Bean Executive Chairman Shawn Gorman views the construction site that his company's gift will help to transform into the Portland Commons and Bean Green.
Shawn Gorman, Executive Chairman of L.L. Bean.

Inside the CSSC building, L.L.Bean’s gift will also be recognized with the naming of the “Double L Fireside Lounge,” a prominent gathering space for students, distinguished by its monumental, two-story stone fireplace.

“We are deeply grateful for L.L.Bean’s generosity, which will support a true, green transformation on our Portland campus,” said USM President Glenn Cummings. “The new center will become the campus crossroads for our diverse community, with an inviting, outdoor space––the Bean Green––at the heart of it all. We are so thrilled to recognize L.L.Bean’s gift in a way that honors the company’s core belief in the power of the outdoors to bring people together.”

President Glenn Cummings envisions how the completed Portland Commons development project will look with the help of a gift from L.L. Bean.
President Glenn Cummings gestures to the future location of the Bean Green.

USM’s new Career & Student Success Center, slated to open in 2023, is a three-story, approximately 42,000 square foot space where students, faculty, alumni, and employers can connect and collaborate, putting career readiness and community at the heart of the USM student experience. Home to an expanded Career & Employment Hub, the center is expected to add over 750 career-ready graduates to Maine’s workforce each year.

“For decades, L.L.Bean and the Gorman family have partnered with USM to make a deep and meaningful impact in the lives of our students, who comprise Maine’s most diverse campus community,” said Ainsley Wallace, President & CEO of the USM Foundation. “The new Career & Student Success Center, with its expanded Career Hub, is where USM students will engage with employers like L.L.Bean as they build their future career paths.”

USM Foundation President Ainsley Wallace explains how a gift the L.L. Bean will benefit the Portland Commons development project.
USM Foundation President Ainsley Wallace shares a vision of the future.

Outstanding sustainability features of the CSSC include the use of low-carbon technologies and green building materials such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels, a 30kW rooftop solar photovoltaic array tied to the electric grid, and innovative energy-efficient building and site design.

The adjacent 580-bed Portland Commons residence hall will meet leading-edge Passive House sustainability standards and is on track to become the 2nd largest Passive House university building in the country. It will provide attractive, affordable housing for USM students and residential staff and will feature the newly named Dr. Glenn Cummings Courtyard, a half-acre, semi-private green space for studying and group gatherings.

A ceremonial beam is fitted into place at the top of the future Portland Commons residence hall.
A ceremonial beam crowns the framework of the Portland Commons residence hall.

For more information about the USM Career & Success Center, Bean Green, and Portland Commons residence hall, please visit: Portland Campus Development Project.


The USM Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with the University to support the aspirations of students and the strategic vision of USM. Now in its third decade of service, the Foundation is raising the critical funds needed to increase scholarship resources and achieve ambitious goals, as it helps to catalyze transformation at the University of Southern Maine.