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Cultivating Cultural Knowledge

WHEN CLEMENT MCGILLICUDDY ’64 attended the University of Maine, one of his professors required him to read The New York Times daily. The course was introductory and not related to his major. But McGillicuddy dutifully followed through with the assignment. He passed the class and more importantly, gained a valuable lesson to view life through a different lens.

“To this day, The New York Times feeds my deep interest” says the Houlton native. “It contributed to my curiosity and created a foundation for lifelong learning.”

The Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center in South Stevens Hall was dedicated two years ago. Its mission fulfills the wishes of the McGillicuddys to weave humanities into the lives of all students, faculty, and others on the Orono campus. It also shares university resources throughout Maine, collaborating with kindergarten through high school students and teachers, historical societies, art galleries, theaters, orchestras, museums, and more.

“Humanities at UMaine includes many majors,” explains Margo Lukens, an English professor at UMaine and director of the McGillicuddy Humanities Center. “What we see in the humanities are the studies that look at fundamental human activities, like modern languages and classics or the study of English and the creation of literature, communications, journalism, visual art, philosophy, performing arts, and emerging media. It’s so much about human beings creating things to communicate with each other.”

The University of Maine Humanities Center was established in 2010 within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Approximately eight departments within the College identify as promoting humanities work. 

“The Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center [MHC] enhances the visibility of the humanities and arts, within UMaine and beyond,” says Dean Emily Haddad, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “I value the MHC as an effective way to create a prominent identity for the humanities at UMaine. Faculty and students alike appreciate the recognition and financial support provided by the Center.”

THE CENTER SPONSORS guest lecturers throughout the year working closely with campus partners such as the Stephen E. King Chair in Literature and other faculty. Additionally, it hosts an annual humanities symposium. This year’s theme spotlights the legacies of World War I. Throughout the academic year, the Center has provided public lectures, films, and interactive events centering on the complex outcomes of the “Great War.”

The McGillicuddy Humanities Center also supports the Maine Folklife Center’s “Framing Maine” series, which brings lecturers and performers to campus whose work has helped to shape Maine’s past, present, and future. The MHC also partners with the Collins Center for the Arts, offering faculty speakers that illuminate upcoming performances and shows.

The McGillicuddy Humanities Center collaborates with area schools as part of its extensive public outreach activity. One example is Philosophy Across the Ages, a program that pairs UMaine undergraduate students with high schools and retirement communities to engage in seminar-style discussions. In 2014, Orono High School’s English Department took the Philosophy Across the Ages concept to another level by creating the Humanities Collaboration. Orono High juniors and seniors interact with students and faculty from the University of Maine, as well as members of the community, to promote philosophical dialogue based on humanities-focused events.

“STEM gets all the attention,” says Jim Bulteel, an English teacher at Orono High School. “We feel the humanities both complements it and enriches other regions of society that STEM can’t reach and we wanted to do something about that.”

There have been more than 20 roundtable discussions to date, featuring guest speakers on topics ranging from the #MeToo Movement to Keeping Hollywood Relevant. “I would love to see more opportunities to do this with UMaine,” says Bulteel.

Linda and Clement McGillicuddy are active participants in promoting the purpose of the Center. “Each time we meet with them, they are thinking up new things,” says Lukens. That includes creating the Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellowship for juniors and seniors. Awardees receive $4,000 for two consecutive semesters to work on research projects that engage the community in the practice of humanities.

“One of the things that makes this humanities center stand out in the country is its focus on the undergraduate experience,” says Lukens. “We really want these students to be ambassadors for the Humanities Center and humanities in general.”

The goal is to award eight fellowships every year with four students beginning their projects each semester. “We’re very interested in raising the profile of the humanities among undergraduates,” Lukens adds.

UMaine students and faculty are eligible for grant programs provided by the MHC. Donors to the McGillicuddy Humanities Center have enabled students to travel abroad for a semester. Endowments also provide for the study of Franco American culture, communication, and journalism as well as other areas of the arts. “There’s the Richard Parks Anderson ’73 and Karin M. Anderson Music Composition Fund,” says Lukens. “It is going to be about the creation and performance of new musical compositions.”

“The McGillicuddys’ gift has had a transformational impact in moving the center forward to the next phase of its growth,” says Henry “Hank” Schmelzer ’65, co-chair of the McGillicuddy Human­­ities Center executive committee. 

“We’re beginning to develop a plan for how we’d like to see the center expand its impact during the next three to five years,” he says. “We can contemplate setting goals that would have seemed unreasonable three years ago.”

LUKENS SEES THE center funding more interdisciplinary work in the near future. “I’m talking about humanities being the source of a project rather than being added as an embellishment,” she explains. “It could be an institute for K-12 teachers with instructors from history and English and Native American studies. Or taking on some of the world’s grand challenges, like clean water access rights and climate change.”

She believes the framework is already in place. “We’re trying to get out of the ivory tower but also not abandon it either,” says Lukens. “We want to recognize the wealth that’s there and then share it.”

From Activist to Authority

ASK ANY COLLEGE or university administrator to list priorities, and you’ll likely hear some combination of these answers: Academic excellence. Access. Innovation.

Ask Shontay Delalue ’00, ’03G? She has something important to add.

“You can’t do any of that without equity and diversity,” says Delalue, who has served as Brown University’s vice president for institutional equity and diversity since 2017. “My job is to ensure that every individual within the institution understands how those things are connected.” 

As a national authority on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education, Delalue understands that words matter, and her choice here — as always — is deliberate: Diversity as central. Not additional. 

“We’re trying to shift the conversation to say you can’t have excellence and innovation without representation and structural change,” she says. “Historically, higher education was not created for certain individuals, and we need to ensure that the landscape changes in a way that opens access and cultivates supportive environments for individuals from underrepresented groups.”

At Brown, Delalue is charged with driving that change by providing strategic oversight of the policies, practices, and structures that promote the inclusion of all members of the campus community.

“She’s not only doing diversity work — her role is much more expansive,” says Brown University President Christina Paxson. “Having her as part of the broader conversation means she’s allowed to contribute to everything. 

“Her perspective on things influences everyone and everything on campus,” adds Paxson. “She brings an analytic clarity to what she does and that has helped her gain remarkable credibility and trust among students, faculty, staff, senior administrators, and board members.” 

The plan — and thus Delalue’s job — confronts the ways in which Brown and other institutions of higher education 

have historically failed to “fully include people of all races, ethnicities, creeds, socioeconomic classes, gender identities, sexual orientations, and disability statuses.” 

No small task. But Delalue has never been one to shy away from a challenge.

She grew up in New Jersey about 20 miles outside of New York City. While she takes great pride in the neighborhood where she grew up, she now realizes her high school lacked certain resources to prepare students for life after high school. Although she was an honors student from a low-income background, she was never encouraged to pursue an Ivy League education even though those institutions provide need-based financial aid. 

Delalue noticed a very small group of her peers in high school getting opportunities to attend college prep programs that somehow eluded her. She decided to advocate for herself and was allowed to attend the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) program in her sophomore year. Little did she know that the HOBY weekend would open the door to her Black Bear experience.

When the time came to make a decision as to what college to attend, she had to choose between Rutgers University, the University of Maine, and her first choice,  Hampton University, a historically black college in Virginia. The University of Maine gave her a better financial aid package — including a full academic tuition scholarship — which helped her family make the final decision. Though she was not familiar with UMaine, she later learned that the admissions office took an interest in academically talented students who had participated in the HOBY program.

Her counselor said she’d never make it at UMaine, in part because she had too much attitude and in part because the student body was almost entirely white.

“That guidance counselor’s attempt to dismiss me turned into an opportunity I could never put into words,” Delalue recalls. “Making the decision to go to Maine despite the lack of support changed my life.” 

That’s not to say the transition was seamless. She had classmates who had never interacted with a person of color before. She was lumped together with black international students where peers didn’t understand the rich diversity that existed across the African diaspora. 

Eventually, she found her major (communications), and her niche (leadership). She shared her personal story in classrooms and discovered a love for public speaking. She became a vocal advocate for underrepresented students who were not always at the table. And it laid the foundation for everything that followed.

“I had to quickly develop a broader sense of the country and the world,” she recalls. “I gained cultural humility. I realized that I had the skill and experience of engaging with people different from me, but I still had limits to my own knowledge. That’s where it was implanted in me that diversity, equity, and inclusion work was important.”

She went on to work in college admission — first at her alma mater, recruiting minority students to join the Black Bear ranks —  and later as director of admission at University of Alaska Southeast. In 2005, she returned to the East Coast, where she worked at a high school as a counselor and then pursued a Ph.D. in education in a joint program run by the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College while working full time as the director of an intercultural center at Bryant University. In 2013, she began working at Brown as associate dean of international student experience and later moved to the provost’s office. 

“While I have a depth of experience across the institution from admissions, to advising, to international affairs, my work is fundamentally grounded in race,” Delalue says. “I believe one of the things that impedes us on campus and in the country at large is our discomfort with grappling with race. Dr. Kimberly Richards said, ‘Race is the glue that holds class together,’ and I believe that.” 

HER SCHOLARLY RESEARCH focuses on African and Caribbean students who are racialized as black within a U.S. context. In January, as part of a course on The African Atlantic Diaspora: Race, Memory, Identity and Belonging, which Delalue teaches in her American Studies faculty role at Brown, she traveled with a small group of students to Ghana, where visits to slave castles, cemeteries, and monuments drove home history of the transatlantic slave trade in a site-specific way.

“We all have very different notions of what blackness means,” says Delalue. “How is race created? How is it constructed? How is the slave trade connected with the way race is contextualized today? How do people in other countries think about race?” 

And connecting Delalue’s research and her day-to-day work, how have race — and other facets of diversity — shaped the history of U.S. higher education? And why is that important?

When Harvard College opened its doors in 1636, its students, professors, and administrators were primarily white, wealthy, and male. Over time, the demographics of U.S. campus communities began to shift, driven in part by federal policies such as the Morrill Act, which established land grant institutions such as UMaine, and the Higher Education Act, and in part by institutional measures such as affirmative action in admission. 

Women have outnumbered men among college students since the mid-1970s, but racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic divisions persist. In 2016, 56.9 percent of U.S. residents enrolled in a post-secondary degree-granting program were white, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. Trailing that were black students (13.7 percent), Hispanic students (18.2 percent), Asian/Pacific Islander students (6.9 percent) and American Indian/Alaska native students (.8 percent). And according to Forbes, in 2019, income inequality in the United States is at its highest level since the Great Depression. 

“Diversity work encompasses three areas: compositional — basically who’s represented and who’s not; interactional — ensuring there are intentional opportunities to engage across difference on campus; and structural — an institution has to be willing to take a real intense look at itself and the systems that it operates within,” Delalue explains. 

“Coupled with that is equity work. The equity piece is recognizing that the playing field was not designed with fairness in mind and we must continuously work to address that imbalance. When you bring people from different backgrounds together, problems can occur so you must be willing to hold people accountable for the values set forth by our institutions.”

At Brown, this means deeply examining the institution’s historical relationship with slavery. It means building community and mentorship opportunities to support new faculty hires from underrepresented groups. It means exploring the ways in which the institution interacts with the broader community of Providence, RI. It means empowering individual campus units to create diversity plans unique to the work they do. For Delalue, it also means understanding that this framework and these challenges aren’t unique to Ivy League institutions or other elite private colleges. During a recent visit to UMaine, it became clear to her that limited resources present a different — but no less pressing — kind of burden for public institutions.

“Limited resources can be a real concern, but I wonder how we can get creative and move past that as an impediment,” Delalue says. “Do we understand truly and deeply the value of diversity? 

“That’s actual return on investment, and that’s a good thing. How do we incorporate this mode of thinking when we’re creating budgets? If diversity initiatives are seen as extra, we’ll never have the money. But if they’re seen as essential and central to fulfilling the mission of the institution, as long as the university doors are open we should have the resources to do this work.”

“Shontay has leveraged her experience in international education and intercultural understanding to promote a leadership style that advances innovation and embraces collaboration in diversity and inclusion and internationalization,” says Shannon Marquez, dean of global education at Columbia University. “In doing so, she has emerged as a successful leader who inspires, motivates, and enlists people to embrace a shared vision to get extraordinary things done.”

In the late 1990s, Delalue was one of a handful of students of color at UMaine, and while she has stayed connected, many of her peers have not. The university has made strides in terms of compositional diversity and Delalue hopes the university will find opportunities to re-engage diverse alumni — in every definition of the word — with current students and faculty. 

If anyone can help make that happen, it’s Delalue.

“Shontay was the spark that lit the flame here,” says Robert Dana ’80, UMaine’s vice president for student life. He worked closely with Delalue when she was a student and continues to engage her as a consultant and adviser. 

“She instilled in me the urgency of change,” Dana says. “She was always thinking about the future — what the future could be and what a modern university could be like, how promising it could be. Because of what she started, thousands of other UMaine students have and will be positively affected for their lifetimes.”

SHONTAY DELALUE

Current role: Vice President for
Institutional Equity and Diversity,
Brown University

Hometown: Roselle, N.J.

Current residence: Pawtucket, R.I.

Education: B.A. in communication,
University of Maine; M.Ed., University of Maine; Ph.D. in education, University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College; Certificate of Completion – Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Institute for Management & Leadership in Education

Family: Vinald Francis, spouse; Kiara, 14, daughter; Kordell, 3, son

Hobby: Travel — 24 countries and 47 U.S. states

Best UMaine memory:  Joining peers, including members of the UMaine football team, to hold a successful protest with the goal of improving the experience of students of color on campus

Fun UMaine fact: She lived on the same floor as Steve Kariya and other hockey players yet only went to one hockey game during her time at UMaine

Favorite restaurant: Margarita’s 

Core belief: The power of narrative

Anne Fortin Wortman ’89 works with a first-grade student as part of the Reading Recovery program. The University Training Center for Reading Recovery has helped over 100,000 Maine students in grades K–12, and trained more than 200 Maine teachers in literacy practices.

Reading Recovery – Young learners benefit from UMaine Center

Reading Recovery - Young learners benefit from UMaine Center By Sharon Pelletier-Ayer ’94, ’12G

EMMA HARGREAVES recently graduated as valedictorian of her class at Old Town High School, and was named one of just two Maine students in the 2019 class of U.S. Presidential Scholars.

While she will tell you how hard she worked to keep up with all of her Advanced Placement classes, she also credits some one-on-one time with a teacher way back in first grade for her academic success. Back then, Hargreaves was struggling to learn to read, impacting her confidence in the classroom.  Her teacher called Hargreaves’s mom and recommended that her daughter take advantage of Reading Recovery, an internationally recognized early literacy intervention program for first-grade students who struggle to learn to read and write.

Literacy is the foundation of learning across all content areas, which makes this work critically important. It’s challenging to learn science, history, or even math if you struggle to read.  Through Reading Recovery, students receive individualized instruction over a 12 to 20 week period until they achieve average proficiency for their age. That’s precisely what happened with Hargreaves: the one-to-one guidance she received elevated her literacy skills to an above-average level. Over time she was placed in her school’s  gifted and talented program

Hargreaves credits her Reading Recovery teacher as a difference-maker. “She made me feel really capable, and I think that was part of the reason I got better at reading so fast, that she made me feel I could do it.”

Hargreaves’s instructor, along with most Reading Recovery teachers in Maine, received her training through the University Training Center for Reading Recovery (UTC), started in 1993 by UMaine’s College of Education and Human Development. UTC trains the Reading Recovery teachers and teacher leaders through graduate-level coursework and ongoing professional development. Currently Reading Recovery instruction is available in more than 100 elementary schools across the state. More than 37,000 first-grade children throughout Maine have participated in the program.

UMaine’s Mary Rosser, who has been UTC’s director over the last decade and a half, says Reading Recovery works because it addresses a student’s individual needs. The program acknowledges that every student learns differently and that sometimes in order to progress as literacy learners, students need additional, focused instruction to support classroom instruction.

Anne Fortin Wortman ’89 was one of the first teachers in the state to be trained in Reading Recovery practices by UTC. She has been a Reading Recovery teacher ever since and says she loves her work.

“I continue to be energized with every student because they begin the year as struggling literacy learners,” Wortman says, “and within 20 weeks of intense, individualized instruction, they are most often able to read and write at or above the average level in their classroom.”

That seems to be the case for most students who participate in Reading Recovery. According to UTC data, more than 1,000 Maine students participated in Reading Recovery during the 2017-18 school year. By the end of the year, 70 percent of them were reading as well or even better than the average of their peers. Those students who continue to struggle were referred to more intense intervention.

Reading Recovery teachers continually work to optimize their skills with support from the experts at UTC.  The center also includes a Comprehensive Intervention model for grades K through 12 as well as the Maine Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy.

Timothy Reagan, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, sees the work at the UTC as essential to the university’s mission. He points out that it is research-based, theoretically valid, and has impacted a lot of lives.

“There are a huge number of us who believe in it both academically and programmatically, but who also have a personal commitment because our children have been touched.” He noted that his own daughter fell behind in reading as a first-grader, even though she was raised in a literacy-rich home environment. He says Reading Recovery turned her into a reader.

Josh Curtis ’02 says the same about his son who was experiencing learning problems in the first grade. “I know that without support, the gap between him and his peers would have grown. My son is a success, and the support he received helped to make his future bright.”

Experts say that early intervention is essential. It can prevent years of struggle and failure, and send students on a positive trajectory in their academic careers.

That’s part of the reason the Galen Cole Family Foundation was motivated to support UTC’s work.  Gary Cole ’72 says his parents, Galen and Suzanne, always valued reading and knew that helping children to learn boosts their confidence. For years the family foundation hosted a gathering of Reading Recovery graduates at Cole Land Transportation Museum in Bangor.  Those graduates would take turns reading aloud to the family matriarch, Suzanne Cole.

“The pride each child felt and the twinkle in her eye told me everything I needed to know about the significance of Reading Recovery and why we stay involved year after year,” the younger Cole says of his late mother, who passed away in 2017.

The true impact of this work on students, families, and schools might be difficult to measure, but program graduate Hargreaves knows how it’s affected her.

“It might be a sweeping statement, but I would say almost every opportunity I’ve had since Reading Recovery has in some way been in thanks to the confidence that I built there.

Maine’s Mr. Secretary

ONE DAY as then-Attorney General Janet T. Mills was struggling to take care of her family, household, and official duties during her late husband’s illness, she received an unannounced visitor: Secretary of State Matt Dunlap ’87, ’94G, who was in Farmington to give a speech.

“He came in, changed into some work clothes, and went out and cleaned my gutters, raked the leaves, checked the storm windows, and swept the driveway — doing so many of the chores to get the house ready for winter that I just wasn’t able to do,” said Mills, who in January assumed office as Maine’s 75th Governor. “Then he changed back into a suit and went off to give his speech, which I’m sure was eloquent.”

Maine has elected 48 Secretaries of State, three of whom, like Dunlap, were alumni of the University of Maine. Now in his seventh term, Dunlap has emerged as Maine’s second longest-serving Secretary of State and a national leader.

ORIGINALLY ELECTED in 2005 — Maine Constitutional Officers are elected to two-year stints by a majority vote of the Legislature – Dunlap served three terms, bookending a solo tenure served by Republican Charles E. Summers from 2011–2012, and then again from 2013 to the present. He is the first to serve non-consecutive terms since the 1880s.

His path to this accomplishment was about as straight as the ragged Maine coastline in his native Bar Harbor.

The son of farmers and artists, Dunlap had the traditional youngster’s oscillating ambitions: school bus driver or Spiderman? After being introduced to a noted conservationist, he set his sights on becoming a fur trapper once he graduated from high school.

“My mother had something to say about that — she declared that I could live in a cabin in a swamp if I wanted to, but that it would be a good idea to have an option,” Dunlap said.  “So instead of living in a cabin, I went to the University of Maine and got two degrees.” 

As he worked to find his calling, Dunlap took on enough jobs to qualify as a Maine Renaissance man: fur trapper, bartender, server, cook, dishwasher, columnist, proofreader, textile worker, editor, student-athlete. “My parents believed in hard work, although it was a hard sell for me,” he said. “I liked watching television and reading, but they’d get me to help out on the farm and with the pottery.”

In high school, Dunlap started running and enjoyed moderate success before blossoming his senior year. 

“I knew I wanted to run, but I also knew that Division I athletics was out of my league,” he said. The summer after graduation, knowing he was heading to the University of Maine, Dunlap increased his training regimen in hopes of joining the ranks of collegiate runners.

In Orono, Dunlap literally hit his stride, balancing the grueling demands of a student-athlete. 

“I really found a home at UMaine,” he said. 

“I would spend my day in classes, and then after track practice we would go for dinner at Wells [Commons], and then walk back to the Pit and cheer on the basketball team, and then make our way to Fogler Library to study for the night. It was just a great student experience.”

His hard work paid off and Dunlap became a top runner on the cross-country team — until he suffered a partial tear of his Achilles tendon during a meet in Vermont. 

“Having a career-ending injury was very, very difficult to absorb and understand,” Dunlap said. “It took me a while to realize that the world doesn’t feel sorry for you when you have a setback, and that if you’re going to move on, you have to pick yourself up.”

It was a letter from the Dean’s office informing Dunlap that he had been dismissed for academic non-performance that served as his wake-up call. After meeting with Dean Elaine Gershman — “who knew a shipwreck when she saw one,” Dunlap quipped — he finished his remaining credits and graduated in the fall of 1987. 

Never, during any of this, did he seriously consider a life in politics.

“It all seemed shrill and self-serving, and to me, it didn’t have a ton of relevance until I was in college,” he said. “And that’s when I started paying attention.”

He certainly did not have his sights set on becoming Maine’s Secretary of State at that point. His journey to that position began one night at Pat’s Pizza in Orono.

AS DUNLAP WORKED the bar at Pat’s Pizza one night, a friend, State Sen. John O’Dea ’91 of Orono, showed up with Maine’s then-Attorney General Andrew Ketterer.

“John’s been talking you up in Augusta,” Ketterer said. “You sound like you would make a tremendous legislator. Think you might run?”

“Yeah, sure!” he replied. “It kind of fell out of my mouth without my thinking, probably because I needed to wrap up the introduction and get back to work.”

In November 1996, Matt Dunlap was elected to the Maine House of Representatives as a Democrat from Old Town. He served four consecutive two-year terms. (His wife, Michelle Dunphy ’89, ’96, now holds that same House seat.) As a legislator, Dunlap served as the House Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, as the Democratic Chair of the 2002 Legislative Apportionment Commission, on the House Standing Committee on Elections, and as the House Chair of the Citizens Advisory Commission to Secure the Future of Maine’s Wildlife and Fish.

In 2012, as he approached the end of his fourth term in the Maine House, Dunlap chose to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Olympia J. Snowe ’69. Dunlap finished a close second in a four-way June primary election. (The seat was won in November by current Sen. Angus S. King.)

Having lost the primary, Dunlap soon launched a campaign to become Maine’s next Secretary of State. The electorate in that election would be the 186 members of the Maine State Legislature, many of whom had served with Dunlap during his eight years in the House. In December they elected him to the post.

AS MAINE’S Secretary of State, Dunlap is responsible for a wide range of administrative services and duties related to government operations. Best known are oversight of Maine’s elections and its Bureau of Motor Vehicles. But his portfolio also includes management of Maine’s state archives and corporate registrations. Often these duties, particularly those involving state elections and ballot referenda, attract the limelight. Examples that have occurred under Dunlap’s watch include state referenda on gay marriage, the legalization of marijuana and, most recently, ranked-choice voting, all of which garnered Maine — and Dunlap — widespread recognition. So did his election and service as President of the National Association of Secretaries of State. 

But it was his appointment in 2017 to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity that made Dunlap’s a recognizable name in the national media. Established by President Donald J. Trump, the commission was charged with investigating claims that 3-5 million people had fraudulently voted during the 2016 election. Dunlap was one of four sitting Secretaries of State appointed to the 12-person panel. 

Dunlap, along with most state elections officials, said he was unaware of any evidence of voter fraud. Nonetheless, he accepted appointment to the commission believing he could contribute to the investigation. During the commission’s second (and final, as it would turn out) meeting, Dunlap objected when the commission’s vice chair, the Kansas Secretary of State, portrayed specific voting activity by college students in New Hampshire as fraudulent. Dunlap cited election law specifics that debunked the assertion. He won the argument but payback soon followed: The commission’s leaders refused to give Dunlap and his supporters on the commission access to the panel’s working documents and scheduling information. 

So Dunlap sued in federal court and won: the judge ordered the commission to turn over the documents. Rather than comply, leaders disbanded the commission, claiming that by doing so it was no longer obligated to provide the documents to Dunlap or anyone else. 

Following several months and considerable public criticism, thanks to the federal judge’s ruling, the material was finally turned over to Dunlap and other members who had been denied access. After reviewing more than 8,000 pages, Dunlap issued his own report declaring that he found no substantive evidence of voter fraud. No evidence contradicting Dunlap’s conclusion has since been presented, though assertions still abound. 

Dunlap, a naturally cheerful fellow, is allergic to boastful expressions, according to friends and acquaintances across the political spectrum.

“While Matt and I have differing views on politics, his approach to public service is a great example to others,” said retired Maine Senate President Mike Thibodeau (R-Winterport). “He has always been kind, considerate, and looking for solutions. Matt is always ready to attack the issues, but never the person.”

U.S. Senator Angus King, an Inde­pendent, agrees:“The three words that come to mind as I think of Matt are humble, honest, and homegrown,” King said. “I admire him and all that he continues to accomplish for the state of Maine. And besides, he has an inexhaustible supply of great Maine stories, which he’s always willing to share.”

For Dunlap, it all circles back to Orono and his life experiences.

“At the University of Maine, I truly made the transition from being sort of an aimless farm boy to someone who wanted to make something out of my life,” he said. “I would not have predicted where I wound up, but in its own way it makes sense.”

Dunlap is precluded by Maine’s Constitution to seek a fourth consecutive term as Maine’s Secretary of State. As his tenure nears its natural conclusion at the end of 2020, Dunlap was asked who possessed his dream job. His reply was succinct, immediate, and wry.

“The president of the University of Maine.”

‘School’ is Out for Janes ’04

After more than four years and an estimated 1,250 performances, actor Merritt David Janes – “DJ” to family and friends – is taking the summer off from his leading role in the hit musical comedy “School of Rock.” Janes plays Dewey Finn, a frustrated rock-star wannabe who fakes his way into a teaching role at a stodgy prep school and, unbeknownst to school administrators, proceeds to instruct his fifth-graders on the subject he knows best: the heavy-metal thunder of rock music. Janes explains how he landed the part, the demands of touring, and his UMaine influences. 

I was an original cast member with the “Phantom of the Opera” 25th anniversary tour as the understudy for [the character] Andre, the opera manager. I auditioned for Laurence Connor, who was the director of both “Phantom of the Opera” and “School of Rock.” Laurence gave me my shot and I couldn’t be more thankful.

The “School of Rock” tour was 63 cities in 88 weeks. I was in the original cast on Broadway, which began in April of 2015…which means I have been with the show longer than I was in high school!

“Teacher’s Pet” is my favorite song from “School of Rock” to perform. It is the song that comes at the show’s end, when we play at The Battle of the Bands. Right before we start singing, it sort of feels like we’ve made it and we can take it all in and enjoy it.

Dewey has definitely been the most challenging [role to play]. Running, jumping, singing, screaming, playing guitar and trying to keep up with those talented little cherubs! [Playing the lead role in] “Sweeney Todd” was probably the most enjoyable. It is a role that literally covered every possible state of mind a human being can experience. And it was the only show that brought me to play at UMaine, across New England, and through my hometown theatre in Burlington, Vermont. It was the best week of my life!

On a typical day [of touring], I explore the city I’m in or I sleep as late as possible. Ideally, I play the guitar for a couple of hours before I go in and try to do some recording or song writing for the day. I call family on the way to the theatre and I arrive 30 minutes before the show, where I begin some vocal warmups and a stretching routine in my dressing room. After the show, I go to the lobby where I sign copies of my album “Waiting in the Wings” along with recordings of songs I did with the original Broadway kids called “The Winter Guardians.”

I typically get back to my hotel suite at about 11 p.m. and bedtime is usually around 2:30 a.m. If I’d known that particular bedtime was in my future, I never would have scheduled 8 a.m. classes while I was a student at UMaine!

Every city has its own unique personality and we all step into the world of the show together every night. I enjoy the great adventure of every show I have been a part of. It has taken me all over the world and across our beautiful country. I only have two states left to visit in the USA:  North Dakota and Alaska. (I think I’d better end with Alaska. Might be a bit anticlimactic to end with North Dakota. No offense to my friends in Fargo!)

My least favorite thing is that it can seem quite lonely at times. Not much time to even think about getting married or having kids. When I come off the road, it seems like I’ve been frozen elsewhere while time and life marches on in the places I love to be. After 11 years of touring, it’s always a big adjustment returning home.

I think the performing bug bit me back when I first joined the Maine Summer Youth Music camp program at UMaine in the 6th grade! I sang and played in what is now the Collins Center for the Arts for the first time and I was completely hooked!

[My UMaine influencers were professors] Dennis Cox, Curvin Farnham, Laura Artesani, Josh Whitehouse, Lud Hallman, Fran Vogt, Ginger Hwalek, and Phillip Silver—all fantastic teachers, along with [receiving] some excellent advice and guidance from Danny Williams ’91, ’94G and Liz Downing ’77, ’44H. 

 

Sandweiss Part of Team in Peru Researching Ancient Human Warfare

Dr. Daniel Sandweiss, University of Maine professor of anthropology and climate studies, recently worked at the Ostra Collecting Station (OCS), a part of an archeological site on the coast of Peru, nearly 36 years after his first visit to the site. 

In 1980, as a graduate student, Sandweiss was the first to investigate the site and carbon dating indicates that samples he collected were over 6,000 years old. The remains show that the site was once a rocky ridge on the shore of the South Pacific, and the inhabitants were believed to peacefully fish, hunt, gather food, and farm. 

Three years later, Candian archaeologist John Topic found evidence that proved otherwise – piles of stones modeled for slingshots that were potentially used for ammunition. This finding, if the stones dated back to the time of Sandweiss’ samples in 1983, would be the oldest evidence of warfare in the New World – pushing back when experts believe it began by thousands of years.

Sandweiss returned to Ostra with UMaine colleagues Paul “Jim” Roscoe, professor of anthropology, and cooperating professor for the Climate Change Institute and the School of Policy and International Affairs, Alice Kelley ’06G, Golden Undergraduate Coordinator and instructor in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences, and Research Associate Professor in the Climate Change Institute, as well as graduate student Emily Blackwood ’15. The project, in addition, was directed by UMaine alumna Cecilia Mauricio ’12G, ’15 Ph.D., an assistant professor at Catholic University in Lima.

The team collected stone samples and used state-of-the-art dating called Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL), that measures the time elapsed since a grain of sand was exposed to sunlight before it was buried. A signal is captured to measure the accumulation of electrons, which is then used to determine the age. 

The OSL results will take some time before answers may be found. To read the full article, click here.

 

Athletics Announces Fall 2019 Schedules

It may be summer but many UMaine student-athletes are readying themselves for the fall sports season

Women’s soccer, football, and the women’s and men’s ice hockey teams have released their schedules for the year, with schedules for the field hockey, cross country, and swimming & diving teams expected to be announced in the near future. 

The women’s soccer season begins in Boston on August 14th with a game against Northeastern University, followed two days later with a game against Boston University. UMaine’s first home game is Friday, August 23rd, against South Carolina State.

The Black Bear football team opens its 2019 season in Orono on Friday evening, August 30th, when it takes on Sacred Heart at Alfond Stadium. Women’s ice hockey begins its season at home on September 27th with a game against New Brunswick. The men’s team opens its season on the road October 5th at Providence College before kicking off its home season the following day against New Brunswick on October 6th. Click here to view schedules for each sport. Call 207-581-2327 for ticket information. 

 

Black Bears Land Internships with Disney

Rachel Largay ‘19 (pictured right) and Mikayla Burridge ‘21 (pictured left) are spending nine months as cast members at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, having earned coveted paid internships through the Disney College Program. 

The program provides on-the-job experience in various operational aspects of Disney’s theme parks and resort properties as well as academic course work and college credit. Largay, who recently graduated from UMaine with a degree in biology, works as a cast member at two Magic Kingdom Park’s attractions: “Peter Pan’s Flight” and “It’s a Small World.” Burridge, a theater major, is a cast member with Magic Kingdom’s “Jungle Cruise.” 

Both Black Bears share an apartment in the Disney complex with other Disney College interns. They will complete their internships in January. 

 

2019’s ‘Cocktails on the Coast’ Photos Are In!

Attendance at the annual Cocktails on the Coast social and networking event was again strong, thanks to great weather and new program elements. 

Organized by the Black Bears of Portland with assistance from the Alumni Association, the popular gathering of UMaine alumni helps   raise funds for a newly-established scholarship to support UMaine students from the greater Portland region. 

Starting with food and beverages at this year’s new registration location, The Thirsty Pig restaurant, guests then traveled via ferry to Jones Landing on Casco Bay’s Peaks Island, where the fun continued into the evening.

Photos from the event may be found here.

 

Reunion 2019 Is Approaching

The classes of 1954, 1959, 1964, 1969, and Senior Alumni will celebrate their reunions September 12th through 14th.

The three-day Reunion will feature campus tours of new and exciting buildings on campus, a full riding tour of campus, lecture by Dr. Dana Humphrey, Dean of the College of Engineering, discussing the new Engineering Education and Design Center, cocktail hours, and an All-Alumni Dinner.

Reunion classes will have the opportunity to gather for business meetings and memorial services. This year, in addition to their luncheon, Senior Alumni will host a “Morning Mingle,” where guests can meet with students and enjoy breakfast refreshments. 

Other events include Chubby Checker and the Wildcats at the Collins Center for the Arts on Friday, September 13th, the Dirigo Pines pancake breakfast, and UMaine Football vs. Towson on Saturday, September 14th.

More information, and a link to register, is available here. Meanwhile, reunions for the classes of 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009, and 2014 will be held as part of UMaine’s 2019 Homecoming, on October 25-27th.