Class of 1978 Winter 2020 Class Note

Rev. Linda Card

Classmate John Witherspoon, who has served as president and CEO of Skowhegan Savings Bank since 2007, announced his plan to retire at the end of 2019. During John’s tenure, the bank expanded into both western Maine and the Augusta area; he also established the bank’s charitable foundation with over $2 million in assets. In addition, the bank has been recognized for its commitment and support of career readiness and financial literacy programs, and was awarded the national honor of the Corporate Above and Beyond by Jobs for America’s Graduates.

John began his career at Kingfield Savings Bank and became its president and CEO at age 27. Prior to his appointment to the top job in Skowhegan, he served for four years as the chief executive officer of the Finance Authority of Maine. In support of his career in banking, John has been the president of the Maine Association of Community Banks and director of the Maine Bankers Association; he currently serves on the board of directors of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. His community involvement includes serving on the boards of the Maine Community Foundation, Maine Huts and Trails, and Redington Fairview Hospital. Best of wishes, John, on the next chapter of your life.

Retired USMC Col. Emile Paradis works with veterans, helping to retrain them while they contribute to their communities. Emile’s Fast Forward Restart nonprofit, which assisted small businesses in post-Katrina New Orleans, is connecting Atlanta-area veterans to their communities, and helping senior citizens at the same time. He has collaborated with other organizations to help veterans develop new expertise, leading to new employment opportunities for them.

Brenda Nasberg Jepson and her husband, Alan Jepson ’76, owners and operators of Crown of Maine Productions in Stockholm, ME, are in the final stages of a new film to be shown on Maine Public Television. It is called Cycling Acadia – Carriage Road Encounters, and shows the beauty of Acadia for cyclists in all four seasons. According to Brenda, some cyclists are so enthusiastic about visiting Acadia in the winter that they mount giant snow tires on their bikes — that way no amount of snow can prevent them from enjoying their bike ride. Brenda has been a volunteer producer for Maine Public Television for 35 years. Her company produces historic and cultural documentaries and she has filmed in various parts of the US and Europe to bring to life stories with a Maine connection.

The alumni office has received word on another UMaine alumnus from Aroostook County — Steve Young of Frenchville. Steve is a wildlife biologist who fell in love with nature as a child in Madawaska and has shared his respect and appreciation for Maine’s natural landscape with others ever since. Following graduation with a degree in wildlife management, Steve worked in a variety of wildlife-related jobs in Canada and the Bering Sea, eventually returning to Maine to work for Fraser (now Twin Rivers) Paper. When, in 2004, the company sold off land, there was no longer a need for a staff wildlife biologist. Undeterred, Steve went back to school to earn his degree in business management from the University of Maine at Fort Kent, which he now uses in his position of president of the non-profit Upper St. John River Organization. The mission of the organization is the promotion of wildlife habitat and biodiversity enhancement, as well as soil and water conservation throughout the St. John Valley international boundary area. Steve has the distinction of being the first person in Maine to achieve the credential of certified USDA National Resources Conservation Service technical service provider for wildlife conservation planning.

Steve says, “I’m always trying to introduce people who might have an interest in nature and wildlife to the endless depths of nature and provide them with good quality information. There’s a world in an acre; it depends on what level your appreciation is.” When Steve is not working with nature or spending time with his family, he is an avid photographer and photo printer. He also volunteers to cut trails and old roads on community properties with his new brush saw.