Well, that was a hell of a year, wasn’t it?! Although I write this column with about
three months to go in 2020, I think it is safe to lead with that line. And it’s
certainly my hope that things will be looking much better on many fronts by the
time you are reading this! We’ve all had to change our routines and become
hermits of sorts (which is sure difficult for some of us!), and we’ve been left
wondering what the new normal will be — and when it will arrive.
Hoping our beloved UMaine campus will return to more normal operations during
the spring and that we may be able to gather for Homecoming 2021, our 40th
Reunion (yikes!). Stay tuned for more on that subject!
We have a number of classmates who are doing great things in the medical field,
and one who is directly involved with working on a vaccine for COVID-19. Julia
Holmes O’Neil is working with Moderna Therapeutics in Cambridge, MA, as a
Distinguished Fellow, CMC Statistics Lead. She writes that she is “deeply
involved with preparing the COVID vaccine for full-scale manufacturing and
distribution, among other things.” She had been doing consulting work through
her company, Direxa, but said this opportunity was too interesting to pass up.
Indeed. She was fortunate to work remotely from her camp in East Machias this
past summer, which made her six-day workweeks a bit more bearable! We thank
you, Julia, for your work on this important vaccine — a huge step along the way
to returning our country to normalcy.
Sad news to report on Dr. Alison Poulin, who passed away on July 13th of last
year. Alison grew up in South China. After attending UMaine, she married and
had two children. In 1993, she moved to North Carolina to attend dental school.
She practiced dentistry in that area until 2013, when she moved back to Bangor
to run the dental practice where she got her start as a dental assistant nearly 30
years before. Gone way too soon — our hearts go out to her family and friends.
On a brighter note, Linda Rice has gone from growing up in Orono, to Broadway,
and back to Maine on North Pond. This theater major had an interesting career in
NYC, working with wigs and hair on Broadway, and then a stint on Saturday
Night Live for 14 seasons. At SNL, she would have just days to design wigs for
the show’s characters each week. During those years at SNL, she was able to
spend summers on North Pond in Smithfield, where her family had a seasonal
camp. It was during that time that she started volunteering around the lake and
soon became a tireless, self-taught crusader against invasive plants that choke
Maine lakes. She’s logged 10-hour days as a boat inspector, making sure boats
entering North Pond aren’t carrying milfoil or other threatening plants. She also
visits lakefront property owners to help them figure out how to slow erosion and
runoff into the lake, and patrols area lakes by canoe or kayak looking for invasive
species. She was honored with the Lakes Lobbyist Award from the 2020 Source
Sustainability Awards. Congrats, Linda, and thanks for your dedication to keeping
our lakes crystal clear!
Kevin Buckley works with a company called DS Graphics/Universal Wilde in
Westwood, MA. The business handles a range of digital print, print-on-demand,
direct mail services, and other services. Kevin helps connect clients and
Congrats to fellow public management grad, Bill Fraser, who became the
Northeast regional vice president for the International City/County Management
Association for a three-year term. Bill is the longtime city manager in Montpelier,
VT. You’ve come a long way from those Delta Upsilon days, Bill! Any other
classmates out there who hung out with us in North Stevens Hall who are still
working in municipal government? My career took a different path, as I sort of fell
into television advertising 36+ years ago and just celebrated the fifth anniversary
of operating my own agency, bbd marketing llc.
I’m surprised not to have more news, since we’ve all been stuck at home far too
much in the past year. I encourage you to send along news via email and to also
connect with classmates on our Facebook page. We really need to build our
following there, as it’s a great platform on which to share news “as it happens,”
along with photos and event announcements. Please, invite other classmates
whom you are in touch with to join! We also have done a sad job of building our
class scholarship fund. I’d welcome your donations and thoughts on rallying the
troops as we head toward our 40th Reunion. Let’s hope — we’ll be raising our
steins together once again!