Class of 1984 Winter 2021 Class Note

Hello, classmates!

I hope that 2021 is a happy, fun-filled year for all of you. May we be
able to put COVID-19 behind us. Although dealing with the pandemic
created some upheaval in our lives, I was energized by the logistical
challenges in dealing with my business and working with clients
remotely. I enjoyed having fewer social obligations and more free
time last summer and fall. Most importantly, however, I am relieved
we have stayed safe and healthy.

I started my freshman year at Maine in the fall of 1980 — 40 years
ago (!) — as did many of you. On August 31, 2020 (a beautiful late
summer day) I drove to Orono to have lunch with a friend. Afterward,
I walked around campus to reminisce and compare campus today to
what it looked like in August 1980. One of the biggest changes, of
course, is the addition of a number of new buildings since we left
UMaine in 1984. Notable of these are the Collins Center for the Arts,
the Advanced Structures and Composites Center, and the New
Balance Student Recreation Center. I also went by the construction
site of the $78 million Ferland Engineering Education and Design
Center, which will provide much improved learning space for
engineering students. There were very few students on campus due
to the pandemic restrictions, but the majority of those I saw were
walking with their heads down looking at their phones, oblivious to the
world around them. As I stood by the Black Bear statue at the
Fieldhouse, I looked down the mall to Fogler Library. I realized that
the little elms that were planted when we were freshmen to replace
the majestic elms lost to Dutch elm disease have now grown to be
large, beautiful elms. I walked down the mall basking in the sun-
dappled shade of those elms. I really wanted to twirl around and
throw my hat up in the air like Mary Tyler Moore. I doubt the students
would have noticed as they stared at their phones.

The Bangor Daily News printed a series of stories last spring and
summer about former UMaine athletes, talking with them about their
time at UMaine and their subsequent careers. One of the interviews
was with Bill Swift. After playing baseball in the major leagues, Bill
coached at Scottsdale Christian Academy and Arizona Christian
University. He and his wife live in Paradise, AZ, and have three
daughters. My favorite part of the story was that his two older
daughters run a wedding planning business, and he and his wife will
sometimes make the five and a half-hour drive to help them. I thought
that was sweet.

Sherree Dubendris Craig is now a licensed insurance consultant in
Maine. She is a senior account executive in the benefits division at
Allen Insurance and Financial. Sherree also holds Fellowship
standing in the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit
Specialists and an advanced certification in self-funding from the
National Association of Health Underwriters. Way to go, Sherree!

I received an email from Pat Dunn, who has relocated to San
Francisco, CA, where he is the compliance program manager for
UJET. His job challenges include developing a business continuity
program from the ground up, and writing the pandemic plan, including
a back-to-work plan in an ever-changing pandemic and
political environment. He is hoping to touch base with fellow alumni in
the Northern California area, so if you live there, look him up!

I saw lovely photos on Facebook of many of you dealing with the
pandemic. Rich Vannozzi ’06G had a great vegetable garden. Diana
Douglas Nye made incredible COVID cocktails, every single day for
months! Even though they were “stuck” at home, they made the best
of it. I would love to know what you are up to this winter. I’m sure
many of you have postponed trips and adventures. I want to know,
where will you go when you can travel again? Email me your replies
and I will share them in my next column. Join us next time to read
where I will be going! In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy!