ORONO — The University of Maine isn’t going to sell itself, so a new group of advocates began meeting Tuesday to talk about helping the school meet its fund-raising and enrollment goals.
The 16-member Board of Visitors, which includes heavy hitters from education, business and industry, is charged with promoting UM’s financial and academic well-being and advising the president on how to meet the needs of the state. The board also is supposed to make recommendations on tuition increases, new academic programs and the university’s five-year plan.
A law passed last year created a board of visitors for each of the seven University of Maine System campuses. Maine Maritime Academy has had a board of visitors for more than 50 years.
After their first meeting Tuesday in the Dexter Lounge of Alfond Arena, board members said they were anxious to begin helping the state’s flagship university.
Letting the public know about all the good things UM does for the state is their first task, said P. James Dowe, president of Bangor Savings Bank, who was elected chair for the first session.
“There are so many wonderful stories to tell,” said Dowe, a 1972 UM graduate. “We need to tell the story of the university.
UM President Peter Hoff said board members will be helpful in spreading the word about the university’s research and outreach endeavors, as well as its education programs, to lawmakers and the public. “I hope they will be a strong and effective advocacy group,” he said.
On Tuesday, board members were briefed on the Orono campus’ plans to increase its enrollment, streamline its academic programs and staff and increase its funding.
Twelve of the 16 board members have at least one degree from UM.
In addition to Dowe, the board includes: Anne Collins of Belfast, a retired educator; Dana Connors of East Winthrop, president of the Maine Chamber and Business Alliance; Madeleine Corson of Portland, publisher and chair of the board of Guy Gannett Communications; and Douglas Dorsey of Hartford, Conn., an executive recruiter.
It also includes James Doughty, superintendent of the Bangor School Department; Robert Edwards, president of Bowdoin College; H. Allen Fernald of Rockport, president and chief executive officer of Down East magazine; Jeffrey Jeter of Winterport, an engineer for Champion International; and David Lavway of Washburn, industry relations director for the National Potato Council.
It also includes Norman Ledwin of Holden, president and chief executive officer of Eastern Maine Healthcare; Leonard Minsky of Bangor, retired president of Superior Paper Products, Inc.; Donna Mundy of Cape Elizabeth, senior vice president of UNUM’s external affairs department; Trish Riley of Brunswick, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy; Ormand Wade of West Southport, a retired executive for Ameritech; and Richard J. Warren of Bangor, publisher of the Bangor Daily News and president of Northeast Publishing Company.