USM Spotlight

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.


Congress Square Park in downtown Portland is bustling with activity. A band is playing, people are dancing, others are seated at tables watching. A woman places an order at a food truck on the left.

August/September 2021

The results are in. According to U.S. News & World Report, Portland, ME is the eighth-best place to live among the 150 most populous cities in America. It's also considered the safest place to live in the country and the ninth-best place for quality of life. Which adds up to something we've known all along: it's a great place to go to college, too.

From left to right: Ainsley Wallace, Glenn Cummings, Dannel Malloy, Reid Crewe, and Dan Crewe

July 2021

Thanks to a historic gift from the Crewe Foundation, our dream of a Portland campus Center for the Arts may become a reality. The $5 million gift — one of the largest cash gifts in University history — will be used to build a world-class facility that supports our music and visual arts students. It will also contribute to a thriving arts scene that attracts visitors and jobs to the region.

A composite image featuring headshots of six students

June 2021

At this year's Commencement, we celebrated the courage and persistence of some of our graduates. Tiffany Dunn earned her degree in social work six weeks after receiving a new heart. Peter Paolucci, an artist with autism, pursued a new love of art after enrolling in computer science. Graham Botto transitioned from chef to social worker, so he can help under-served communities access mental health care.

A composite of Commencement 2021 speakers

May 2021

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi — professor, best-selling author, and founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research — captivated viewers of our online 141st Commencement ceremony with his powerful keynote address. We are excited to see how our 1,665 graduates — including eight doctorates, 240 graduate degrees, and 1,237 undergraduate degrees — will change the world.

David E. Shaw clapping in a cap and gown at Commencement 2015. A student stands clapping to his left.

April 2021

Thanks to a $500,000 gift from David E. Shaw '76G, '15H — founder of IDEXX Laboratories — we launched the Shaw Innovation Fellows program. Each year, the program will award five graduate students a fellowship to conduct research projects that demonstrate innovative approaches to solving environmental, economic, human, and societal problems. Fellows will receive a $5K grant and mentorship from business leaders in their fields of interest.

A health care provider wearing a face mask, scrubs, and a rainbow watch band places a bandage on the injection site of a patient, who just received a vaccine and is wearing two, layered face masks.

March 2021

More than 250 nursing students from across the entire University of Maine system will enter clinics and hospitals this spring to participate in Maine’s COVID-19 vaccination deployment. 100 of these dedicated students are from the School of Nursing at USM — they’re ready and willing to help and grateful for the experiential opportunity.

A close up of a microphone on a swivel arm mount tinted USM blue with gold gradients in the top left and bottom right corners. In the background is a computer monitor that displays audio files in editing software in front of a window with closed blinds. The Hired Huskies graphic appears in the bottom right corner.

February 2021

Are you wondering what our Huskies do with their first-rate education? Available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, our Career Hub and WMPG teamed up to launch a new "Hired Huskies" podcast that will provide you with some answers! Through personal interviews, you'll get a taste of some remarkable careers of our alumni from all walks of life and professional industries. Learn tips and tricks for getting hired and launching your own successful career.

Colorful houses in Greenland's capital city of Nuuk overlook the ocean. Snow covered mountains crowd the horizon.

January 2021

We recently joined the Arctic Education Alliance to help build international education programs that support training in sustainable tourism, hospitality, and land and fisheries management in Greenland. Funded by a two-year, $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of State, the partnership will lead to collaborations — like student exchanges — between USM and the University of Greenland.

Ashanthi Maxworth, assistant professor of electrical engineering, giving a presentation about space environments for CubeSats.

November/December 2020

Thanks to a $2.8 million grant from NASA, we launched a series of workshops to engage Maine high school students in Cube Satellite development. "CubeSats" are miniature research satellites that have ushered in a new era of space research. Workshop speakers included an award-winning educator, engineers from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a commercial CubeSat kit company, and USM faculty.

A badge that reads, 'Best Colleges U.S. News & World Report Social Mobility 2021' appears in the upper left corner of a photo of a graduate wearing a mortarboard decorated with small, fake roses and text that reads, 'Be the change; empower; respect; advocacy; empathy; USM BSW.' A tassel with blue, gold, and white strands hangs over one edge.

October 2020

The U.S. News & World Report college rankings for 2021 are here! Out of 4,000 colleges and universities in the country — 1,500 in the northeast — we ranked as a top university for social mobility in the northern U.S. The strength of our undergraduate engineering program also earned recognition.

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