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Congressman Michaud to speak at UM-Presque Isle’s 100th Commencement

Monday, 27 April 2009

President Don Zillman has announced that Congressman Michael H. Michaud will deliver the commencement address during the University of Maine at Presque Isle's 100th Commencement Ceremony, to be held on Saturday, May 16. During this historic event, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degrees will be presented to U.S. Representative Michaud and Bruce Brown, a leading proponent of art education and contemporary art in the State of Maine.

"As the University of Maine at Presque Isle marks its 100th commencement, and remembers the thousands of students who have earned their degrees here since the University opened its doors in 1903 - and the lasting impact many of them have had in their professions and in Maine - we are recognizing Congressman Michaud and Bruce Brown as examples of the importance of serving the people of Maine and the differences individuals can make at the local, state and national level by standing up for what they believe in," President Zillman said. "There isn't a better message we could offer to this historic graduating class and we look forward to the lasting impacts we know they will make in their own professions and for Maine."

Michael H. Michaud, the U.S. Congressman representing Maine's Second District, has served the people of Maine for nearly three decades, working to effect important changes in areas ranging from healthcare to veterans affairs to economic development in Maine.

Michaud was sworn in as a United States Congressman in January 2003, becoming the first recognized Franco-American from Maine to be elected to federal office. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Michaud serves on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and the Committee on Small Business.

Michaud, who was raised in Medway, worked for Great Northern Paper Company for 29 years before venturing into politics. A desire to help clean up a polluted river near his home led Michaud to seek a seat in the Maine House of Representatives in 1980. He served seven consecutive terms there. In 1994, he was elected to the Maine Senate, where he served as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee in 1996 and as Maine Senate President in 2000.

In 2001, the Michael H. Michaud Technology Center was dedicated in recognition of his critical leadership in securing state funding for the University of Maine at Presque Isle's Houlton Higher Education Center. He also received the College Board's Education Award at the National Council of State Legislatures Annual Meeting in Texas for his lifelong commitment to higher education.

Michaud attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University. In 1989, he was awarded a Doctor of Public Service from Unity College. In 2007, he was awarded a Doctor of Public Service from Husson College.

Bruce Brown, an educator and art collector, has worked for more than 35 years to enrich the lives of the people of Maine, serving as an important proponent of art education and contemporary art in the state.

Brown, a Portland native, is the curator emeritus of the Center for Maine Contemporary Arts in Rockport, where he organized more than 200 exhibitions between 1987 and 2006. He did this while working as an educator at Freeport High School, where he served from 1972 to 2000. In 1984, he was the recipient of the first ever "Support of Arts Education in Maine Schools" Award by the Maine Arts Educators Association.

Since the 1970's, he has been able to gather together an impressive collection of contemporary art, featuring American prints and Maine photography. Brown has lent works from his collection for several museum and gallery exhibitions, including at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

Brown was recognized by Arts and Antiques Magazine in 2007 as one of America's significant art collectors. He currently serves on committees at the Portland Museum of Art, the Maine Media Workshops, and PCA Great Performances. He was presented the "Leadership in the Visual Arts Award in Maine" by Maine College of Art in 2000.

Brown earned his Bachelor's degree from Boston University in 1963 and his Master's degree from the University of Southern Maine in 1972.

In honor of the University's 100th commencement, students will wear, along with their traditional graduation regalia, blue stoles bearing the centennial logo. Each graduate will receive a commemorative mug featuring the centennial logo from the UMPI Alumni Association. The walkway from the Campus Center to Wieden Hall, the route the graduating class takes for its processional, will be lined with banners displaying the centennial logo. A reception for graduates, family and friends will be held in the Campus Center immediately following the ceremony.

The University's Commencement Exercises are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 16 in Wieden Gymnasium.