Office of the President

Monday Missive (Nov. 9, 2020)

Dear USM Community,

In April 1865, the formal surrender of the Confederacy transpired in the Appomattox Court House, ending the most deadly war in American history. Maine's own Brigadier General Joshua Chamberlain would oversee the Union Army at the ceremony, which would officially nullify the Confederate states and reunite our country under the ideals of our original Constitution.

Despite the joy of peace inherent in the celebration, America would soon face the enormity of its loss. Chamberlain himself would return to his native Pine Tree State to find the sacrifice of Maine's people so immense that entire hamlets, fishing villages, and forest plantations would disappear when fallen or severely wounded Union soldiers never returned to plow the fields, fish the waters, or cut the wood of their homesteads. Maine offered up the highest percentage of its adult population of any state in the North — and its sacrifice would reverberate for generations.

Today, Maine remains among the top three states in the country for percentage of adults in uniform. This week, America will honor the sacrifice of our veterans from every corner of the nation. May we each take a moment in the days ahead to share our gratitude for those who have served and, in many cases, given everything in defense of American democracy and its cherished freedoms.

The fruits of their labor and sacrifice were seen in full bloom across the nation this week as voters arrived in record-setting numbers to voice their opinions at voting booths in every state. Both presidential candidates received unprecedented numbers in their bids for the White House. We thank our veterans for protecting our ability for self-determination and helping to maintain the ideals, still to be made more manifest, of a truly great country.

I hope that you find a way to acknowledge and honor veterans this Wednesday, Nov. 11, when classes and the University will be closed for the national holiday.

1) Turning to the news, events, and announcements that will give shape to the week ahead, I’ll start by sharing a concern regarding dramatic increases in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Maine. In addition to encouraging everyone to stay healthy by following the actions outlined in Healthy Huskies Promise, I want to make sure everyone gets to enjoy a hard-earned Thanksgiving break. With the holiday just two-and-a-half-weeks away, please keep in mind that any exposure could disrupt your plans to return home for Thanksgiving. If you become infected or are exposed to a person who is confirmed to be infected, you will need to isolate or quarantine before traveling. For students, this could mean quarantining or isolating on campus during Thanksgiving break. Travelers who are ill, are infected, or have recently been exposed to the virus are not allowed to board planes and trains. So please take your safety and well-being very seriously.

2) This is all the more reason to participate in this week’s asymptomatic screening.

All residential students and student-athletes will test:

  • Monday, Nov. 9, 8 to 11:45 a.m. & 12:30 to 3 p.m., in Costello Field House, Gorham Campus.

Randomly selected commuter students, faculty, and staff will test:

  • Monday, Nov. 9, 8 to 11:45 a.m. & 12:30 to 3 p.m., Costello Field House, Gorham Campus
  • Tuesday. Nov. 10, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Abromson Center, Portland Campus
  • Thursday. Nov. 12, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Rm. 108/109, Lewiston Auburn Campus

To find out if you have been randomly selected for testing, check your email to see if you received a message from usmcovidtesting@maine.edu with all the details. For more information on next week’s testing dates, times, and locations, see the Asymptomatic Testing FAQ page. Participants who have tested at any point before with USM are expected to participate again as this is a new round of testing.

Please note: No pop-up flu clinics will be held this week or next. Students, faculty, and staff are welcome to schedule a time for a flu shot at 156 Upton on the Gorham Campus by calling 207-780-5411.

3) A reminder that "A Sturdy Vessel of Our Ideals and Aspirations,” our nonpartisan virtual conversation with U.S. Senator Angus King on the Election of 2020 and the Future of American Democracy, is this Friday at 2 p.m. “Seats” for this webinar are limited, so be sure to register soon. When you register, you’ll have the opportunity to submit a question for the discussion with Sen. King that will be moderated by Rebecca Gibbons, Assistant Professor of Political Science. In addition to serving as Maine’s Independent senator and former governor, Sen. King was a visiting fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and has served as a distinguished lecturer at Bowdoin since 2004. My thanks to Rebecca and Dean Adam Tuchinsky for their work to organize this event for students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

4) I’m pleased to report that Maine’s newly elected 130th Legislature includes many USM alumni and current students. My congratulations to these House and Senate members with a USM connection who won their races and continue our students’ and graduates’ proud tradition of public service:

Maine House
Poppy Arford (D, District 49/Cumberland County)
Christopher Babbidge (D, District 8/York County)
Lori Gramlich (D, District 13/York County)
Nathan Carlow (R, District 16/York County)
Randall Greenwood (R, District 82/Androscoggin County)
Matthew Harrington (R, District 19/York County)
Ted Kryzak (R, District 20/ York County)
Patrick Corey (R, District 25/Cumberland County)
Kyle Bailey (D, District 27/Cumberland County)
Suzanne Salisbury (D, District 35/Cumberland County)
Michael Brennan (D, Distinct 36/Cumberland County)
Joyce McCreight (D, District 51/Cumberland County)
Margaret Craven (D, District 59/Androscoggin County)
Kristen Cloutier (D, District 60/Androscoggin County)
Gina Melaragno (D, District 62/Androscoggin County)
Joshua Morris (R, District 75/Androscoggin County)
Holly Stover (D, District 89/Lincoln County)
Anne Perry (D, District 140/Washington County)

Maine Senate
Lisa Keim (R, District 18/Oxford County)
Rick Bennett (R, District 19/Oxford County)
Nate Libby (D, District 21/Androscoggin County)
Eloise Vitelli (D, District 23/Sagadahoc County)
Bill Diamond (D, District 26/Cumberland County)
Heather Sanborn (D, District 28/Cumberland County)

5) My deepest appreciation goes out to our University Libraries staff and David Lewis, Director of Student Engagement and Leadership, for providing election and voter registration information to our students. In addition, we had 25 students working over the last six to eight weeks to support outreach initiatives for the 2020 election. Their efforts were critical to helping Huskies make sure their voices were heard this year.

6) Please join me in congratulating Andrew Dolloff M.S.’95, Ph.D.’15 for being named the 2021 Maine Superintendent of the Year by the Maine School Management Association. Andrew is currently superintendent of schools for the Yarmouth School Department. He has also served as the superintendent of schools for RSU 21 in Kennebunk and as principal of Scarborough High School from 2000 to 2006. In addition to his career in educational administration, Andrew has taught courses in USM’s Educational Leadership program. He earned his master’s in Educational Administration at USM in 1995 and his Ph.D. in Public Policy with a concentration in Educational Leadership and Policy at USM in 2015.

7) Students, please take note of these important reminders regarding financial aid, course scheduling and registration, and upcoming career events.

  • Students who are planning to take courses next fall are strongly encouraged to complete the FAFSA by January 15. Since some federal financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, you can maximize your chance of receiving the best possible financial aid package by completing your FAFSA before January 15. Learn more about the benefits of completing your FAFSA early.

  • Registration for Winter Session at USM is open now through Dec. 21. Taking one or more Winter Session classes at USM is a great way to pursue your interests and stay on track to graduate in four years. Learn more about the courses offered and how to register

  • The last day to drop a full semester course for a grade of W (for Withdrawal) has been extended to Friday, Dec. 11Please see this email from the Office of Registration and Scheduling Services for information about how to drop a full semester course for a W. Since there may be implications regarding your financial aid eligibility, please consult with your financial aid counselor when considering dropping a course for a W.

8) Also, USM is offering two new and timely one-credit pop-up courses: "SKY Happiness & Well-being” and “The Election of 2020: The Long View.”

9) A reminder that tickets are now on sale for the USM School of Music’s Virtual Scholarship Gala 2020, at 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 4. Ticket proceeds will benefit the Music Talent Scholarship Fund and a pledge round will benefit the School of Music Emergency Scholarship Fund.

10) USM students looking for an opportunity to support fellow Huskies and learn leadership, communication, and development skills are invited to join the Student Philanthropy Committee. Last year the Student Philanthropy committee galvanized students to make donations in increments of $20.20, which raised nearly $6,000 for the Student Emergency Fund. Interested students are encouraged to sign up for an info session to learn more. The first 10 members will receive a USM Huskies mug!

On a personal note, provocative perhaps to both sides of the political aisle, David Brooks' New York Times column 'What the Voters are Trying to Tell Us' may offer some of the most meaningful insights on the recent election. He critiques both Left and Right orthodoxies, at their extremes, as misdirected and cites why the election results indicate that the American voter is searching for common sense, shared government, and a fair-minded perspective. Worth reading, whether you agree or not.

May your week be full of learning, connections, and gratitude for the service and sacrifices of veterans.
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