Alumni Association Pays Tribute to Suzanne Kay Hart ‘68

The University of Maine Alumni Association (UMAA) made a tribute to Suzanne Kay Hart ‘68 at the senior alumni reunion held in late September in Orono. The tribute was made to Hart, who passed away in 2020, in light of the gift she left to the University of Maine Foundation to create an endowment to support the Alumni Association in perpetuity. The gift is known to be the largest ever to benefit UMAA for operations, in their 148 year history. 

The tribute to Suzanne Kay Hart ‘68 included remarks from the Alumni Association’s CEO and President, Tom Peaco ‘88, the UMaine Foundation’s CEO and President, Dr. Jeffery Mills ‘82, and longtime friend Barb Brown Dalton ‘81. 

Senior alumni from the Class of 1968, as well as other senior reunion class members attended the tribute, where a handful of classmates shared personal memories and stories about their friend, Suzanne. The tribute was held in the Buchanan Alumni House, in front of a painting of Suzanne Kay Hart ‘68. 

Caption: [Alumni Association’s CEO and President, Tom Peaco ‘88, and UMaine Foundation’s CEO and President, Jeffrey Mills ‘82 stand in the middle of 1968 class members before the Suzanne Kay Hart ‘68 painting. ]

Hart, a third-generation Black Bear, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at UMaine before pursuing master’s and doctoral studies at the University of Michigan. Her career included
various public policy and data analysis positions at Medical Care Development in Augusta, the Muskie School for Public Policy at the University of Southern Maine, and UMaine’s Social Science Research Institute and Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.

In 2021, the UMaine Alumni Association Board of Directors voted to rename one of its most prestigious awards after a longtime Association volunteer and leader who passed away on October 9, 2020.

The board voted unanimously to rename the “Pine Tree Emblem Alumni Service Award” as the “Suzanne Kay Hart ’68 Alumni Service Award.” The action honors Hart’s decades of active service and volunteer support, which included 17 years on the Association’s governing board. Her leadership positions included terms as the board’s treasurer, vice chair, and chair.

Established in 1930, the annual Pine Tree Emblem Alumni Service Award “recognizes exemplary leadership and extensive service, in multiple ways and over a lengthy period of time, to promote the success, reputation, and value of the University of Maine Alumni Association.” Hart herself received the award in 2012.

“Suzanne was an exceptional leader and volunteer,” said Association’s past President & CEO John N. Diamond ’77, ’89G. “She believed strongly in the value and importance of a self-governing alumni association as the best model for engaging alumni and advocating for the university’s interests.”

The UMaine Alumni Association is extremely grateful for the generous gift left by Suzanne Kay Hart, as well as her decades of commitment and faithfulness to the University of Maine.