News & Events

Ben White serves as DLS student speaker

The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s very own Ben White will serve as the next speaker in the 2016-2017 Distinguished Lecturer Series on Wednesday, March 22, at 7 p.m., in the Campus Center. White, who is the fourth UMPI student ever to serve as a student Distinguished Lecturer, will deliver his talk Transitioning: Finding My Way to Me. His talk is free and the public is encouraged to attend the event.

White, a UMPI freshman majoring in Social Work, has experienced more change than the average college student—born female and transitioning to male, he’s nearing the nine-month marker of being on testosterone, and said he’s realized a lot about himself and other people along the way.

White came out as transsexual in high school and has since spoken locally about celebrating differences and his experiences with “being trans.” His experiences inspired Dominic Kelly of the band A Fragile Tomorrow to write the song Hailey’s Gone. White said the song tells the story of “letting go of the person I knew I never was.”

He said he has chosen to go into the field of Social Work as his mother is a social worker and he’s always believed in advocating for the people who need it most: “Advocacy was definitely something I needed when I came out,” he said.

After graduation, White plans to use his degree to open up a community center for LGBTQ youth. He will share his story and his hopes for the future during his presentation.

The University’s Distinguished Lecture Series was established in 1999. Each year, the UDLS Committee sponsors four to six speakers who come from Maine and beyond, representing a range of disciplines and viewpoints. While the emphasis tends to be on featuring visiting academics, it is not exclusively so. The speakers typically spend two days at the University meeting with classes and presenting a community lecture. This is the third year that the University has invited students to participate in the series as Distinguished Student Lecturers.

All are invited to attend White’s distinguished student lecture. For more information about this event, contact the University’s Community and Media Relations Office at 207-768-9452 or email umpi@maine.edu.