University of Southern Maine (USM) students, faculty, staff, and alumni are getting involved and giving back. From internships to research, community engagement to public service, and so much more, we are proud to share their stories.
The University recently received a $350,000 gift to support 15 to 20 craft beverage businesses in their efforts toward going green. This gift will allow our New England Environmental Finance Center to work with businesses — including breweries, distilleries, wineries or cider makers within our state — to implement crucial sustainable practices and improve processes that impact the environment.
L.L.Bean has announced a gift of $850,000 to support a new Career & Student Success Center as well as a scholarship for students pursuing environmental education. The student center and environmentally friendly campus quad are all part of the historic transformation of our Portland campus — the University's largest construction project ever and our most sustainable.
At last year's Tony Awards, Ed Reichert — a Musical Theatre lecturer at our Osher School of Music for 20 years — was surprised and thrilled to hear his own name. Broadway star and nominee Robyn Hurder credited Reichert and his belief in her as one of her inspirations to keep pursuing theatre. Key to Reichert's decades-long involvement in Maine theatre is the kindness and respect he shows students, staff, and colleagues alike.
Dr. Jacqueline Edmondson will become the 18th President of USM on July 1. Coming to us from Penn State University, Dr. Edmondson is a first-generation college student, faculty member, author, and academic administrator who has a vision for building on our strengths, helping us realize new opportunities, and expanding our impact.
Some of our Tourism and Hospitality students recently met with members of the Wabanaki community in Millinocket. They learned about the region's cultural tourism potential from the people who stewarded the land for the past 10,000 years by participating in a smudge ceremony, snowshoe tour, medicine plant walk, and traditional dinner.
We are grateful to have received a $1 million anonymous gift, which ensures that two high-impact scholarship programs for underserved Maine students remain adequately funded. The Access to Education Fund provides scholarships to Maine residents who don't qualify for state or federal financial aid, while the Promise Scholarship Program supports limited-income, first-generation Maine students who are referred by youth-serving organizations throughout the state.
A reporter for the Bangor Daily News interviewed one of Maine's last Holocaust survivors and turned to history professor Abraham Peck — who teaches courses on genocide and worked alongside Elie Wiesel — for further insight. Peck says there is "tremendous ignorance" about the Holocaust among young Americans. A recent study found that nearly two-thirds of Americans don't know that six million Jews died in the Holocaust.
Staff and researchers from our Maine North Atlantic Institute and the University of New Hampshire came together to dialogue about the future of the New England Coastline. Their work — Toward the Next Century: Envisioning & Designing Sustainable Coastal Communities — summarizes the actions they recommend for coastal communities facing climate change.
Thanks to a $1 million gift from the Crewe Foundation — who remain committed to advancing opportunities in music and the fine arts in Maine — the soon-to-be-constructed Center for the Arts on the Portland campus will be able to expand its much-needed rehearsal space. This generous new gift extends the foundation's total philanthropic investment in the project to $6 million.