We sure are living in interesting times. Those of us who had parents from the WWII era and heard their stories never thought we’d see things like we have on the news this past winter. Some of you who live in Maine may have caught Anne Hall on a local news report, as she was interviewed after the war broke out in Ukraine. She also participated in an Alumni Association webinar “American Diplomacy in Turbulent Times,” which you can watch on the association’s website: tinyurl.com/2p8z8w93
Retired now and living in Blue Hill, ME, Anne served as a U.S. Ambassador and career diplomat with 32 years with the Dept. of State in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Most recently, she served as the Ambassador to Lithuania from 2016-2019, and led a multiagency team focused on strengthening Baltic defense and security.
We have a number of classmates in the political arena here in Maine, including Mark O’Brien, who was elected mayor of Augusta and assumed that position in January. Mark is an attorney for the U.S. Small Business Administration and long-time public servant who previously served many terms on Augusta’s school board and city council.
Jim Boyle was elected to the Maine House of Representatives in January, representing District 27, which includes parts of Gorham and Scarborough. The House seat opened up as a result of a resignation and Jim will serve the remainder of the two-year term. He previously served as a state senator representing District 6 from 2012-14.
Stacey Smith Guerin is serving her second term in the Maine Senate. She previously served eight years in the Maine House. She also recently finished a term as national chair of the organization, Women in Government. She and husband, Joe Guerin, own R.M. Flagg Foodservice Equipment in Veazie. They enjoy their five grandchildren, biking, hiking, camping, and volunteering at church.
Janice Newell Bissex changed her career as a registered dietitian nutritionist, cookbook author, food blogger, and radio podcaster to become a holistic cannabis practitioner. Her passion is to reduce the stigma surrounding cannabis by educating others on the safe use of cannabis and CBD for treating a wide variety of debilitating conditions. Five years ago, after her dad experienced severe pain and side effects from the opioids prescribed to treat the pain, his doctor suggested medical cannabis. To his surprise, it relieved the pain without the side effects — and gave Janice the incentive to pursue training in cannabis and CBD therapy. She founded Boston-based Jannabis Wellness, has authored two books on the subject, and serves as program director, MS in Integrative and Functional Medicine/Cannabinoid Medical Sciences, at John Patrick University School of Integrative and Functional Medicine. She lives in Melrose, MA.
In April, UMaine’s Foster Center for Innovation announced the winners of its inaugural Innovation Awards. Doug Hall was honored for his contributions to the university. Doug is the founder of Eureka! Ranch and co-inventor of the Innovation Engineering curriculum that is the foundation of many Foster Center programs. First taught at UMaine, Innovation Engineering has been adopted by educational institutions around the world and used to train more than 1,000 Maine government officials and business leaders in the principles of innovation. Doug is the author of seven books, has co-hosted network television and radio programs, and contributed to new product development for many household brands.
I should have had a pile of news to report following Homecoming 2021 — but our reunion festivities were put on hold thanks to the darn COVID virus that just doesn’t want to go away. Dare I say that we may be safe to plan a 40+1 for Homecoming 2022? At press time, we’re not sure of the date, but stay tuned for details via our Facebook page (please join the page, if you haven’t already!) and email. In the meantime, please stay healthy, enjoy the summer of 2022, plan a trip to Orono in the fall (if not sooner!), and consider helping to increase our class scholarship fund with a gift this year. The last award was around $400, and the market value of the fund stands at around $17K. Pay it forward and give the gift of a UMaine education to a deserving student — perhaps one of your grandchildren will be a future recipient?