Ginny Bellinger Ollis
Happy anniversary of our 56th graduation. It is so nice in this riven world that we come together in so many ways. Please note: you may not know us all, but those who do know you would be so happy to read your news. And photos are welcome! Many of us have retired and sought a new purpose for our life. Your lessons on how you achieved this would be wonderful.
Classmate Roland Cole, who just retired after 38 years on the Maine Superior Court judicial bench, not only brought justice forward, but, following his passion to further serve, worked with Supreme Court Justice Donald Alexander and Cumberland County Justice Robert Cowley to establish the state’s drug court system. Starting from a 1998 first drug treatment court, the system evolved as the model for Maine’s six drug treatment courts. They combine a judge’s supervision with substance use treatment, counseling, drug testing, escalating sanctions for violations, meetings, and school attendance. Graduates of the drug treatment courts receive reduced sentences or lesser charges when they graduate from the program. Meeting people who have turned their lives around with this learning gave tremendous satisfaction to Judge Cole. Two other big changes he has seen are digital recordings of court proceedings, rather than court reporters, and a greater number of people who appear without an attorney to represent them. Privately, those around Judge Cole describe him as having an outstanding sense of humor and a gift for storytelling. Sounds to me like he should write a book.
Another classmate who is making a huge difference is E. James “Jim” Ferland (and wife Eileen P. Ferland), who were disclosed as the anonymous donors who gave $10 million to help construct the Engineering Education and Design Center at the University of Maine.
The Ferland Engineering Education and Design Center will house the Biomedical Engineering Program and Department of Mechanical Engineering, as well as teaching laboratories for the Mechanical Engineering Technology Program. It also will provide space for all UMaine engineering majors to complete their senior capstone projects and collaborative learning classrooms that will serve the entire campus. This facility will house the biomedical engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering, as well as teaching labs for mechanical tech and space for UMaine engineering majors to complete their senior capstone projects. The Ferlands had earlier provided a $1,000,000 engineering excellence scholarship. Their recent donation is also recognized for inspiring others to donate. The Maine legislature also made a $50,000,000 investment in this facility, fostering even more collaboration. Currently UMaine engineering grads have a 99 percent placement rate in careers or graduate school!
Some of us don’t have big money to give, but sharing the joy and great learning of our own UMaine experience, and encouraging others to notice the serious excellence our alma mater offers is good too. We can also make a difference in our own way within our communities. Think about wearing your UMaine T- shirts and hats, and showing your pride!
Joyce Harburger Bennett and family, like so many people of retirement age, recently sold their home and bought a no-responsibility-for-snow-removal-and-yard-work condo in their same town and are enjoying good health, piano playing, and volunteering. Sounds like an earned and valuable life! You may contact her or update your Christmas card list at her new address: 601 Smithfield Road, Contoocook, NH 03229. Susan Oakes Ackor is having a full life, in spite of being widowed after 53½ wonderful years with Jefferson ’62, ’75G. Recovery for her has centered on her two sons in Maine, one in Seattle, and a daughter in Coral Gables, as well as good friends and great memories. After her husband retired they bought a motor home and traveled all over the US and Canada, including twice to Alaska. And she is a friend of another of our classmates, Corinne Simmons Daggett.
Peter Bourque, a very involved member of our class alumni board, announced that Mary Holmes Davis would be secretary to our alumni board. He also smiled that all three children are UMaine grads and have delivered three grandchildren to the University of Maine as students in the freshman, sophomore, and senior classes. He enjoyed having the senior sing with the women’s a cappella group “Renaissance” at the Alumni Banquet, and the freshman with the Maine Steiners at the Pat’s Pizza Party.
If you want to contact a classmate with whom you have lost touch, you can call the Alumni Association office in Orono, 207-581-2586. Think how fun that would be!
If you have changed your email, I would love to hear your new one. I send invitations for news to many classmates in every class report, and I get a large number of returned emails. Thank you!