Three years we waited. Reunion gatherings cancelled in 2020 and again in ‘21.
Three UMaine 50-year classes (1970, ’71, and ’72) waited month after month for
their long-anticipated 50-year celebrations.
And then, suddenly, the waiting was over. Finally, last September, we went back
My Class of 1960, celebrating our 60th/61st/62nd Reunions, chose to schedule a
pre-campus reunion gathering at the Newagen Seaside Inn and Resort in
Southport, ME. The sound of harbor bells heralded our arrival. Julie Hanson
Burns ’60 with Bob ’60H, Jean Chapman ’60, David Ferris ’60 and Romelle
‘60H, Joan Gregoire ’60 with Barbara Bund ’60H, Kay Sawyer Hannah ’60 and
Peter ’59, Jane Libby Littlefield ’60 and Bill ’61, Norman Nutter ’60 (back for
his very first UMaine reunion!), Ralph Pilsbury ’60 with Susan ’60H, Joanne
Keith Sullivan ’60 and yours truly, Nancy Morse Dysart ’60 rounded out the
An afternoon harbor cruise aboard the Novelty started the trip off perfectly,
especially when we learned our captains were Bill Campbell ’80, whose father is
Robert Campbell ’56, and Kevin Colby ’81, whose father is Robert Colby ’51.
What a joy to have a genuine Maine Black Bear crew at the helm, with a perfect
sea and sun breaking through the clouds. On-shore, dinner was an everything-
you-could imagine Downeast Maine Lobster Bake. A perfect ending to a perfect
We started the next day with a guided tour of the Coastal Maine Botanical
Gardens. If you’ve never visited this Maine jewel, add it to your bucket-list. Even
in early fall, it was spectacular! That evening we attended a dinner theater show
at the Carousel Music Theater to see The Wonderettes with music of the ’50s.
Unexpectedly, front-row David Ferris ’60 became the “Mr. Lee” high school
teacher, focus of the affection and dreams of one of the high school
Wonderettes. Such joy! We laughed and applauded all the way through the
show; and David got his photo taken with the four singer/performers after the
show. We’re all wondering how soon he’ll be headlining on Broadway.
Thursday, a smaller group headed for campus where the Maine Hello! greeted us
An All-Alumni Dinner was held at the Black Bear Inn, giving us our first
opportunity in three years to gather together. It was good to visit with Linwood
“Woody” Carville ’53, celebrating his 69th Reunion with a hale and hearty group
of classmates. Check out the details in Nancy Plaisted’s ’53 class column for
more information. Judy Ohr ’61 was surrounded by a celebration group of Alpha
Chi Omega sorority sisters and classmates and will have a column filled with
details. Charles Stanhope ’71, who serves on many university committees and
is a member of the UMaine Alumni Association Board of Directors, was proudly
hosting his 50-year classmates.
UMaine President, Joan Ferrini-Mundy’s message to attendees was filled with
exciting superlatives regarding progress in many areas of campus development,
including the new Ferland Education and Design Center where silo learning is a
thing of the past and interdisciplinary team study is opening doors to dynamic
new discovery opportunities. She added that the university had recently received
an “R-1” certification from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher
Education, the top level in its 24-tier classification system. UMaine is now one of
just 146 institutions out of 3,982 to receive this prestigious designation.
At our class business meeting, the Class of 1960 observed a time of
remembrance with the reading of the names of the 246 classmates we had lost
since our last Reunion in 2015. Together we recited “They are gone, but not
forgotten. In our hearts we cherish the friendships we shared. In our memories,
our classmates live forever.” At last, we had returned to the joy-filled tradition of
class reunions, and we were once again able to honor the memory of times
shared with those no longer with us. It is a tradition we agreed to carry forward in
the years ahead.
NOTE: As a final act of business, we voted, among other things, to contribute
from our class fund $10,000 to the Senior Alumni Non-Traditional Student
Scholarship Fund. We hope other reunion classes will follow in our footsteps.
With the joy of reunion, I’d be remiss not to include a sad note on the loss of a
dear friend and someone I will always consider the “Mother” of UMaine Hockey.
Norine “Nonni” Hilchey Daly ’59 died last year. As an undergraduate, she was
noted for her commitment to the work of the Memorial Union activities board and
for her work on the Prism yearbook. She obtained her doctoral degree and
followed a highly successful career in publishing, She returned to Orono after
taking an early retirement, and was elected to serve on the UMGAA Alumni
Council, a position she held for multiple terms. But it was her work with the
students of the university, and her commitment to bring out the very best in each
of them that will forever be the hallmark of her life. She served as advisor to the
Equestrian Club and All Maine Women Honor Society. When Division I Hockey
arrived on campus, Noni’s enthusiasm became an all-in commitment. She became president of Friends of Maine Hockey, helping to raise friends and funds
for the newest sport on campus; eventually becoming President of Hockey East.
But her biggest contribution to the hockey program was her commitment to the
individual players. Players, far from home, experienced an open-door welcome at
Nonni and John’s home. If tutoring was needed, she was a willing teacher. If a
home-cooked meal helped to ease the pain of homesickness, it was prepared.
Players became her “boys” and she their surrogate mother. Players knew they
could share concerns with her. Her home was their home, and even after they
graduated and went on to successful professional careers or fulfilled long-held
dreams with the NHL, they would return to Orono for alumni reunions — and
always, these young men would take time to visit Nonni and John. They shared
their lives with her (she fairly burst with pride at their many accomplishments);
they stayed in touch with her. And when age took its toll and eventually the life of
her beloved, John, she was the one who needed help. It was one of her boys
who came to her rescue, running errands, delivering groceries, taking her to
appointments, checking on her to be sure she was safe. She was not alone
because she never let her boys be alone. She gave of herself, unconditionally,
and she made a difference. She is missed.
Stay safe, stay well…and keep in touch with each other and your university.