Recent News

Ken Ralph Named UMaine Director of Athletics

Ken Ralph, Director of Athletics at Colorado College, has accepted the position of Director of Athletics at the University of Maine, effective Sept. 1.

“Ken has demonstrated leadership in helping ensure student-athletes’ success in the classroom and in competition, as well as experience in compliance, strategic planning, fundraising and community outreach,” says UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy.  “We look forward to an exciting new chapter building on our outstanding foundation in Black Bear Athletics, and welcome Ken and his wife Mary to the UMaine community.”

Ralph, Salem, New Hampshire native, has spent the past 11 years as the Director of Athletics at Colorado College overseeing a department of 51 professionals. Prior to Colorado College, Ralph served as Director of Athletics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) from 2002-07.

He earned his undergraduate degree in political science at the University of Alaska-Anchorage and earned a master’s degree in sports management studies from California University of Pennsylvania.

More information can be found here.

UMaine Set to Help Shape the Future of Bridge Construction

UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center showed off another of its many innovations last week: the successful testing of the “72-Hour Bridge,” a bridge system that can be built in fewer than three days and is designed to last 100 years with little or no maintenance. The project is part of the Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center, a coalition of several universities with UMaine as the lead partner. UMaine recently won a highly competitive $14.2 million grant to establish the center.

The bridge system is targeted to be used for highway bridges, pedestrian bridges, and military applications. The composite bridge withstood forces up to 376,000 pounds and 7.5 times the HL 93 design load specified by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials.

The Advanced Structures and Composites Center is a world-leading, interdisciplinary center for research, education, and economic development encompassing material sciences, manufacturing, and engineering of composites and structures. It includes a testing laboratory with more than 150 full- and part-time personnel.

Click here to view a news story and video about the project.

Art Professor’s “Ode to Nature” Showcased

Greg Ondo, UMaine associate professor of art, creates art that reflects a sense of place. His multi-layered and multi-faceted environmental art pieces are on display at Lord Hall on the UMaine campus.

To watch the full feature on his work, click here.


Several UMaine Professional Development Programs Available

UMaine’s Hutchinson Center is offering several professional development programs beginning this fall.

The center, located in Belfast, will feature five development programs from September until November. Topics include implementing project management, grant writing, mindful leadership, group work, and public speaking in business.

A limited number of need-based scholarships will be available. For more information or to register contact Diana at 207.338.8093.


UMaine Hires New Vice President for Enrollment Management

Lizzie Wahab has been named UMaine’s new vice president for enrollment management. Her role includes overseeing the university’s recruitment and admissions operations. Wahab also handles those responsibilities for the University of Maine at Machias, which in 2017 became an affiliated campus of UMaine.

Wahab has more than 18 years of experience in higher education leadership. Most recently she was vice president of marketing and enrollment management at the Sage Colleges of Albany and Troy, NY.

“I am truly excited to accept this incredible opportunity to serve the University of Maine and the University of Maine at Machias as one of the many architects of a strong future, by helping build sustainable enrollment foundations for the next decade,” Wahab said.


Nicole Maines ’19 to Star in TV Series

Nicole Maines ’19 has been chosen to co-star in The CW/Warner Bros.’ television show “Supergirl.” Her character, Nia Nal, a.k.a. Dreamer, is a transgender woman with a strong propensity to protect others.

The role in “Supergirl” is a major career leap for Maines, who played Charlotta in the School of Performing Arts’ 2015 production of Anton Chekov’s masterpiece, The Cherry Orchard. Maines, who is transgender, gained national attention in 2009 when, as a fifth-grader, she and her family fought school officials for Nicole’s right to use the girls bathroom. Eventually the Maine Supreme Judicial Court found in favor of Nicole, ruling that she had the right to use the restroom made available for the gender with which she identified.

Nicole’s story was the subject of the 2015 book, “Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family” by Washington Post’s Amy Ellis Nutt. She had an acting role in USA Network’s “Royal Pains,” and will star in the indie horror film “Bit” as a transgender teen. She has also appeared in several documentaries.


UMaine Recognized in National Publications

The University of Maine has been highlighted as one of 300 “best and most interesting” colleges by the Fiske Guide to Colleges, and then again in the Princeton Review’s “The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition.”

The Fiske profile notes the university’s safety, reasonable costs, strong academic programs and faculty, and welcoming environment. It cites UMaine’s programs in marine sciences, engineering, and Honors College as strengths and singles out business management, nursing, psychology, and mechanical engineering as popular majors.

UMaine is “a medium-sized school with a small-school atmosphere,” concluded Fiske. “Combine the state’s natural beauty with an increased emphasis on top-quality facilities and more intimate student/faculty interaction, and it’s no surprise that this campus draws more die-hard ‘Maine-ia(c)s’ each year.”

“The atmosphere is very relaxed and allows for a more comfortable exploration of your education,” a third-year UMaine student noted in the Fiske profile. Several other students cited the housing and dining on campus, the activities and entertainment offered, and the state’s only Division I athletics program as positive attributes.

Meanwhile, another prominent publication that assesses universities and colleges, the Princeton Review, found similar results; in its 27th annual guide UMaine scored highest in several metrics including student engagement, political awareness, and quality of residence halls. In addition, students also reported satisfaction with the Career Center, Fogler Library, and the Counseling Center.

Seeking 2019 Alumni Award Nominations

Do you know an alumnus or alumna whose professional achievements, community service, or volunteer activity on behalf of UMaine deserves recognition?

The Alumni Association is seeking nominations for the 2019 Alumni Achievement Awards. There are eight categories of awards, the purposes, criteria, and the nomination process for which can be found here. The deadline for nominations is November 5, 2018. A 13-person committee will review nominations, with award recipients announced in January.  

Awardees will be honored at the 2019 Alumni Achievement Awards dinner and ceremony, to be held in Orono in April. Images and videos from the 2018 ceremony may be found here.

Reunion Registration is now Open!

Registration is now open for Reunion 2018, which will be held on campus September 13-15. This year’s Reunion will celebrate the Classes of 1950, 1953, 1958, 1963, and 1968, as well as Senior Alumni (that is, all Black Bears who have already celebrated their 50th Reunion). Click here for the schedule or activities and to register.

Meanwhile, Homecoming Reunion, to be held on campus October 26-28, will honor the Classes of 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, and 2013. Registration for Homecoming will open later this month.


Souza Cunha ’19 Has A Lot to Give


“Every activity I do is my favorite, because everything I do is with the intent that it will grow into something more,” says Ana Eliza Souza Cunha ‘19. “Give a flowerbed half a can of water and you will get one flower, give the flowerbed the whole can, and you will get a garden.”

Cunha, a third-year biology and pre-medical science major with minors in psychology and neuroscience, has a passion for helping people. From studying migrational patterns of wood frogs, to evaluating a radar that measures external bee activity, to studying solarization and tarping for weed management on organic vegetable farms, her undergraduate research and opportunities have touched the community as well as the state of Maine as whole.

In fact, she chose UMaine for its research-focused curriculum, a perk that she has been taking advantage of since her sophomore year of high school.

“The University of Maine is one of the most encouraging schools for undergraduate research. It’s rare that a student is unable to find a research opportunity,” she adds.

After graduation, Cunha plans to take a gap year before applying to medical schools. She hopes to continue working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in order to gain more clinical hours, and hopes to also eventually get her master’s in public health. The next big question to tackle for her to answer is how she can help expand health care in the country.

“Being around most agricultural parts of the state of Maine I have seen the more rural side of Maine and have realized the immediate need for physicians in these areas.”

Her affinity for helping others extends to the campus community as well. Cunha was born in San Paulo, Brazil, moved to the United States when she was four, and grew up in a bilingual home speaking Portuguese and English. As a first-generation American college student, Cunha works as a student ambassador for the School of Ecology and Biology, helping to mentor students in their career paths and guide them directly to programs that can meet their intellectual and humanitarian ambitions. She remembers how scary it was for her to navigate the same experiences on her own – so she makes it a point to pay it forward.

Cunha is also involved with the UMaine Latin American Student Organization (LASO) and several volunteer organizations including Partners for World Health and Operation H.E.A.R.T.S, UMaine’s volunteer organization.

In her free time, Cunha enjoys running, hiking, and exploring the outdoors. She finds that exercise is a great outlet to push herself physically as much as she does mentally through her schoolwork. The most iconic campus event on campus in her opinion is the Culture Fest, as it brings together a variety of cultures together over food, activities, song, and dance.

On a final note, Souza Cunha closes with a reflection of the campus community: “I’m humbled by our student body as a whole. Along my journey and with the people I interact with every day I meet people who are dedicated, passionate, and curious in nature. It’s being in this kind of environment that has allowed me to flourish.”

The UMaine Alumni Association, with support from University Credit Union, each month presents its Dirigo Award to an undergraduate student who exemplifies the academic and civic ideals of the University of Maine. Selections are made in consultation with UMaine’s deans and the Division of Student Life.