Block “M” Award
Each year the Alumni Association presents the Block “M” Award to deserving individuals who, over a period of years, advance the strength and success of their alumni class, Chapter, and/or Alumni Interest Group. No more than six awards may be given annually, and only alums are eligible.
Patricia Fraker ’57 has assumed many leadership roles, both during her time as a student at the university and as an alumna. Fraker served as dorm president for West Chadbourne, was a sophomore eagle, an All Maine Woman, a part of the student senate, Panhellenic Council, and a member of other honor societies. When Pat and her husband moved back to Maine, she started organizing luncheons with her Chi Omega sisters. The luncheons then grew to include UMaine alumnae from the classes of ’57 and ’58, and they met at various locations once or twice a year with 20 to 35 attendees! Pat currently serves as the Class Correspondent for her Class of 1957, writing a column in the Alumni Magazine twice a year, sharing news about her class and her classmates, something she has been doing in one way or another since graduation. Her nominators and classmates credit her for “helping to keep our class together all these years.” They say they “could not have had the success we have had” without her and call her the “heart” of their class.
Timothy McGonagle ’96 is an active alumnus who has been serving as President of the UMaine Alumni Chapter of Southern Maine for 5 years. His dedication to this position has helped see the chapter grow under his leadership, both in membership and in its ability to raise funds for annual scholarship distributions and the chapter’s two endowment funds at the UMaine Foundation. As the chair of the UMACSM Golf Classic committee, this relentless alumnus has recruited players and teams, sought and secured sponsors, coordinated logistics, and attended to the many small details that make the tournament such a success year after year. Under his capable guidance, a comprehensive update of the chapter’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws was completed- no small task and a critically important one to the long-term health of UMACSM.
Andrew T. McGarry ’61 served for twenty years in the United States Army, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. For more than 25 years, he has held leadership positions with his class. Beginning with a decade of service on the executive committee, he then became class vice president for a decade, and then served as class president from 2016-2021. During these 25 years, he has been an active and willing volunteer. Described as “a champion of get-togethers,” he helped plan class reunions and worked to strengthen the ties among classmates and their connection to the University of Maine. McGarry began to develop his leadership skills as an undergraduate (1957-61), serving as vice president of his Fraternity (Sigma Alpha Epsilon) and as a member and rush chairman of the Inter-Fraternity Council. He was recently was appointed president of the Senior Alumni in 2021 and 2022. As head of Senior Alumni, McGarry recognized the need for additional support for nontraditional scholarship aid and has been instrumental in gaining support for these scholarships with his class fund donations.
Ann Maxim ’84, ’86G was a standout runner for the UMaine Cross Country team as a student before working in Academic Support at the University. Under Ann’s leadership, academic support has been transformed into a powerful support tool for student-athletes, helping them balance their grueling competition schedules with a demanding academic calendar. Maxim has served on the Board of Directors of the University of Maine M Club for many years and since 2018 has served as the organization’s president. In this important role, she has advocated for the support of all athletes and teams in accordance with the M Club creed—“past, present, and future.” She has been the strongest voice in finding new and creative ways to make the Maine athletic experience the best possible for Maine student-athletes.
Mary Jane Lenhardt ’77 represents one of the most consistent caretakers of our alma mater, serving the Class of 1977 and the University of Maine for decades. Mary Jane participated in the band as a student and completed a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1977. After graduation, she joined the insurance industry and credits Russ Lovaas ’54 as an early mentor. She later started her own agency, working from her home. Mary Jane is an active member of the Class of 1977, participating on the Leadership committee for many years and regularly attending Reunion, Homecoming, and many other University of Maine Alumni Association and UMaine Foundation events. Mary Jane and her husband, Stephen, are active participants in the Boston Executive Club of UMaine. She has made it possible for the Class of ’77 to distribute over $11,000 to 22 UMaine students. In 2019, Mary Jane became an incorporator member of the University of Maine Foundation, serving as a role model of philanthropy and service. Mary Jane has offered guidance and support for multiple generations of Alumni Association and Foundation staff.
Jennifer Ouellette ‘89 is a loyal and dedicated alumna who has devoted her time and talents to the UMaine Alumni of the Low Country Chapter since it was founded in 2008. She continues to be an instrumental part of the chapter and its success and deserves recognition for her history of leadership as a student and an alum. During her time at UMaine, she was an engaged and active member of the Student Alumni Association, President of Delta Zeta, and a member of the UMaine Homecoming Court in 1988. She has continued to be an exemplary Black Bear, serving on the UMaine Alumni of the LowCountry Chapter’s Executive Board and acting as the chapter’s Social Event Coordinator since 2010. Chapter members commend her for her work over the years to coordinate alumni events ranging from Harbor Tours, Christmas shows, dinners in Charleston and, of course, Lobster Maine-ia. It should also be noted that the Low Country Chapter has an active social media presence on Facebook because of Jenn. She has been extremely helpful in growing the chapter and keeping area alumni engaged. As the event coordinator for the chapter, fellow board members call her work “painstaking.” She organizes event details and logistics, including the site location, set up, clean up, event publicity and more. The time and dedication to preparing these events do not go unnoticed. Since 2008 when the chapter was founded, Jenn has been a champion for the vision of the chapter and has worked tirelessly to ensure its success and longevity.
Black Bear Award
The Black Bear Award is presented annually in appreciation of outstanding service through continuous, outstanding advocacy for the University of Maine in ways that increase or enhance UMaine’s reputation and public appreciation in academics, athletics, the arts, and/or alumni success. The award is inscribed with the legend: “For devotion and loyalty to the highest traditions of the University of Maine.” No more than four awards may be given annually, and both alumni and non-alumni are eligible.
John ’89G and Marisue Pickering – This couple has a long history of service to the University of Maine community and has been actively engaged and dedicated to the many offerings of the state’s flagship University for decades. They are both experienced educators with close ties to UMaine. Marisue is a professor emerita, and John is an alumnus. In 2014 they proposed an idea for Self Guided Walking Tours of UMaine. Their vision for the project included enhancing the experience of campus visitors and enlightening those on campus daily. They served as the principal researchers for the online project that now includes six walking tours – gardens, sculptures, the art inside, Circle the Mall, trees in the campus-wide arboretum and the historical district. Their faithful advocacy and dedication have been a valuable resource to UMaine.
Mark Cross ’79 has an incredible talent for connecting people to his alma mater, both through his philanthropy work and his commitment to encouraging support for the University of Maine. This alumnus has used his connections and engagement to be a stalwart participant in many efforts providing scholarship and learning opportunities to current and future students. His family ties to the University of Maine are strong. His mother, father, aunt, and uncle were all Black Bears. When his mother passed away, this College of Engineering graduate asked for memorial gifts to the Ferland Engineering and Design Center to be made in both his parents’ names. He and his wife also made naming gifts to labs and suites within the Center. And, as a direct result of his advocacy, Packaging Corporation of America CEO Mark Kowlzan committed a one million dollar pledge to construct the Ferland Engineering Education and Design Center. As a tireless volunteer on the Executive Committee for the University of Maine Pulp and Paper Foundation, he makes decisions that shape the future of the Pulp and Paper Foundation and the University of Maine, enhancing both institutions’ reputation and public appreciation.