Alumni Webinar Series

In an effort to stay engaged with UMaine alumni and to keep them informed on relevant university-related topics, the University of Maine Alumni Association is proud to offer the Alumni Webinar Series, a special, bi-weekly webinar program to keep Black Bears up to date on students, current events, university initiatives, and more. Click here for full playlist

“BioHome3D: An Affordable Approach to Sustainable Housing” Webinar

On November 21st of 2022, the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) debuted BioHome3D, the world’s first 3D-printed house built completely of bio-based materials. The 600-square-foot prototype has 3D-printed flooring, walls, and roof made of wood fibers and bio-resins. The home is 100% recyclable and highly insulated, with 100% wood insulation.

Dr. Habib Dagher, P.E., Executive Director of Advanced Structures and Composites Center shared details surrounding the project and what the future holds. We also heard special remarks from UMaine President, Joan Ferrini-Mundy.

“Building the Future for UMaine Athletics” Webinar

Seth Woodcock, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development and Capital Planning, shared the vision for the future of UMaine athletics facilities, funded in large part by a $90 million commitment from the Harold Alfond Foundation. The plan includes support to maintain excellence in the state’s only Division I athletics program, advance gender equity, and provide a preferred destination for high school sports championships, large academic fairs and competitions, and community events. All of the university’s students and people from throughout Maine will be able to use the state-of-the-art athletic and convening venues at the state’s flagship university in Orono.

Seth was joined by Men’s Ice Hockey Head Coach Ben Barr and Softball Head Coach Jordan Fitzpatrick, who shared their insight into what these renovations will mean to current and future student athletes and their respective programs.

“First Franco: Albert Beliveau in Law, Politics, and Love” Webinar

The UMaine Alumni Association and Franco American Centre co-hosted a webinar celebrating the release of First Franco: Albert Beliveau in Law, Politics and Love, a biography of Maine’s first Franco American Supreme Court Justice. The book is published by the University of Maine’s Franco American Programs, in association with the University of Maine Press.

First Franco author Douglas Rooks shared excerpts from the book and discussed the research behind it. The webinar also featured remarks by Justice Beliveau’s son, attorney Severin Beliveau, and the Honorable Leigh I. Saufley ’76, former Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court and the current dean of the University of Maine School of Law.

Floating Offshore Wind Project Webinar

Watch Dr. Habib Dagher, executive director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, for a May 2021 update on UMaine’s offshore wind program. UMaine is collaborating with New England Aqua Ventus LLC, a joint venture between Diamond Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Corporation, and RWE Renewables, the second-largest company in offshore wind globally, to develop an 11-megawatt floating offshore demonstration project off the coast of Maine.

The New England Aqua Ventus offshore wind project is a critical milestone in the commercial realization of UMaine’s internationally recognized offshore wind technology that was developed at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center. The project has received major funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Dr. Dagher was joined in the presentation by Maine State Rep. Genevieve McDonald, a UMaine alumna, lobster boat captain, and consultant on the project.

2021 Allan Miller Lecture: “Bearing Witness” ft. Janine di Giovanni

Janine di Giovanni ’83 is internationally renowned for her gripping first-hand coverage of war zones and uprisings in Europe, Africa, and Asia as well as for her essays and highly praised TED Talk. Di Giovanni, recipient of the University of Maine Alumni Association’s 2020 Bernard Lown ’42 Alumni Humanitarian Award, discussed her career and coverage of world events as UMaine’s 2021 Alan Miller Lecturer in a presentation titled “BearingWitness.” The event was co-sponsored by the University of Maine Alumni Association, the University of Maine Department of Communication and Journalism, and the McGillicuddy Humanities Center at the University of Maine.

Maine MBA Webinar

Online education is big business, and UMaine is at the cutting edge of delivering world-class online education through the MaineMBA. Learn from MaineMBA alumni who shared insight on how their online experience unlocked doors, broadened horizons, and helped them to succeed in the changing business world.

“Fighting Time,” a talk with Isaac Knapper and Dr. Amy Banks

Event co-hosted by the Maine Historical Society
and the University of Maine Alumni Association

A conversation between Amy Banks and Isaac Knapper, co-authors of Fighting Time, a true story of a partnership forged in the aftermath of murder and injustice

In 1979, University of Maine Professor Ronald Banks, a renowned scholar of Maine history, was murdered in a street shooting while in New Orleans to attend a conference. Authorities quickly arrested 16-year old Isaac Knapper, who was convicted and imprisoned for 13 years until his advocates uncovered evidence that proved his innocence.

In 2015, Isaac met Professor Banks’s daughter Amy, who, like Isaac, was 16 at the time of the murder. The two formed an immediate bond—and, in very different ways, a shared sense of victimhood.

Together, Amy and Isaac collaborated on Fighting Time, to be issued in November by Regal House Publishing. In the book, they share their 36-year journey: from young victims of trauma, prosecutorial misconduct, and systemic racism, to becoming allies and advocates for social justice. Watch it here.


MLK Day Virtual Event: “Being Black in Maine:
Lived Experience and Prospects for Change”

Event co-hosted by the Greater Bangor Area Branch NAACP
and the University of Maine Alumni Association

This year’s MLK Day event will feature a panel of UMaine alumni, students, and friends who will address the topic of “Being Black in Maine: Lived Experience and the Prospect for Change.” The event will also include a special announcement about the establishment of a new civil rights speakers series. The event was live streamed on YouTube. Watch it here.

“‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year’: Religious Holidays in December” Webinar


While Christmas gets a great deal of attention each December, the month is significant to many cultures and religious traditions. In fact, much of what is commonly associated with Christmas comes from interfaith borrowing of practices and customs that have occurred over the centuries.

This webinar and Q&A, presented by Derek A. Michaud ’99, a lecturer in UMaine’s Department of Philosophy and the coordinator of its Religious Studies and Judaic Studies academic minors, explores the representative beliefs and practices associated with these holidays.

“Constellations and the Christmas Star” Webinar


Shawn Laatsch, director of the Versant Power Astronomy Center and Jordan Planetarium shared the stars, constellations, and planets visible in our winter skies. Participants learned how to find these objects in their own backyard, got a special look at a special December planetary conjunction, and looked at what the famed Christmas star might have been.

“Interpreting the 2020 Elections: Expert Analysis from Orono” Webinar


UMaine political science professor and 2020 Distinguished Maine Professor Award recipient Dr. Richard Powell shared his interpretation of this year’s election outcomes in this edition of the Alumni Association’s webinar series.

Powell’s research and teaching interests include the U.S. Presidency, Congress, Leadership, Elections, and American Political Thought. He is the author of numerous books, journal articles, and book chapters on presidential-congressional relations, presidential communications, presidential and congressional elections, and state politics.

“First Persons: The Wabanaki Peoples of Maine” Webinar


Maine and several other states will commemorate Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday, October 12th.

As has been the case for Native Americans most everywhere, for centuries Maine’s original inhabitants have maintained their Tribal Nations as well as resisted and struggled against powerful political and social forces for the rights, opportunities, and protections legally retained by them as indigenous people and promised to them in treaties.

While minor progress has been achieved in some areas—most recently, the establishment in Maine of Indigenous Peoples Day and the elimination of Native names and imagery as mascots—many issues and tensions remain, especially as they relate to tribal sovereignty. Discourse continues in Augusta and throughout the state, in many instances led by Native Americans with strong UMaine ties.

“First Persons: The Wabanaki Peoples of Maine” featured a panel of representatives of Penobscot Nation and Passamaquoddy Tribe. Each shared her perspective on the history of the region’s original inhabitants as well as the public policy, social, and cultural issues that Native Americans continue to address.

The presentation featured the following panelists:
Maulian Dana ’06
Sherri Mitchell ’08
Bridgid Neptune

Donna Loring ’86 moderated the discussion.

“Commemorating Maine’s Statehood: What We Can Learn from Its Bicentennial” Webinar with Dr. Liam Riordan

Maine’s path to statehood in 1820 followed years of tensions with the political and economic powers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, of which Maine was a part.

Now, 200 years later, remnants of those early political, economic, and cultural issues remain. As Maine celebrates its bicentennial as a state, what can we learn by revisiting Maine’s evolution over these many years? Professor Liam Riordan will address those issues and will take questions from members of the webinar’s audience

“Mt. Everest Expedition” Webinar with Dr. Paul Mayewski

UMaine Professor Paul Andrew Mayewski has been to the top of the world—literally.

Mayewski was the leader of a 2019 expedition to Mount Everest, which installed the world’s highest weather-monitoring station and extracted the highest-altitude ice core ever collected. The expedition was organized and funded by National Geographic and Rolex. Listen as he tells UMaine alumni and friends what it was like.

“What’s Ahead for UMaine Football?” Webinar with Coach Nick Charlton

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on college football for UMaine and most other schools. What does this mean for players, recruits, and fans of the Black Bear program?

Listen as Head Coach Nick Charlton addresses these questions as part of the UMaine Alumni Association’s twice-monthly webcast series.

“Taking Care of Business During Tough Times” Webinar

Small businesses and their customers and clients continue to experience the pandemic’s economic consequences.

Listen as officials from Bangor Savings Bank share an online presentation and Q&A about how owners and managers can protect their businesses during times of economic uncertainty and hardship.

“Horror and Humanity” Webinar

As Stephen King fans know, horror stories can be a great escape from the stress of everyday life. But what happens when life starts imitating art?

Watch UMaine professor Caroline Bicks, holder of the Stephen E. King Chair in Literature, as she discussed what scares us and why, and what she learned with the students in her Horror and Humanity class last semester as they all face the unknown—on the page and in real time.

“Summer Gardening Webinar”

Watch UMaine alumni Katherine  Garland ’01, ’09G, a horticulturalist with UMaine Cooperative Extension address frequently asked questions about flower and vegetable gardening, suggest things that could still be planted in a vegetable garden in late June, and provide an overview of UMaine Cooperative Extension’s resources to help both experienced and new gardeners.

“George Floyd, Anti-Black Racism and #BlackLivesMatter”

Watch three members of the UMaine Alumni community, share their perspectives and answer questions about their experiences being Black in the U.S. in an important discussion.

“Black Bear Athletics and the Pandemic”

Watch Ken Ralph, the University of Maine’s Director of Athletics, address the future of UMaine sports. Ralph shared his insights regarding Black Bear and NCAA athletics in light of the current pandemic and answered questions from webinar participants.

“Unusual and Unprecedented: The Final Semester of UMaine’s Class of 2020”

Hear from three members of the UMaine Class of 2020 as they reflect on how the pandemic disrupted their final semester on campus—their abrupt departure from campus in March, the shift to online classes, the loss of a traditional graduation ceremony, and much more.

“Journalistic Ethics During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

How well are the news media covering the pandemic? How well are the news media covering media coverage of the pandemic? Dr. Michael J. Socolow, a noted media historian and faculty member of UMaine’s Department of Communication and Journalism, addresses these and other questions posed by participating alumni and friends about media ethics and practices.