Two hundred and seventeen students graduated from the University of Maine at Presque Isle on Saturday, May 15, during the 2010 Commencement Exercises - the University's 101st Commencement ceremony. President Donald Zillman conferred degrees for the 2009-2010 academic year upon 133 students who participated in the ceremony held in Wieden Gymnasium.U.S. Senator Susan M. Collins addressed the graduates as this year's commencement speaker. During the graduation event, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degrees were presented to Senator Collins, and David and Roberta Griffiths, long-time pillars of the Presque Isle and university communities.
Susan M. Collins, the U.S. Senator who has represented Maine since 1997, is the 15th woman in history to be elected to the United States Senate in her own right. Originally from Caribou, she has served the people of Maine for more than 30 years, working to effect important changes in areas ranging from homeland security to small business advocacy to health, education and labor. Collins is Ranking Member and former Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, serves on the Appropriations Committee and Armed Services Committee, and is a member of the Special Committee on Aging. Over the years, Senator Collins has received many honors and awards. She has been named "Guardian of Small Business" by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, "Legislator of the Year" by the American Diabetes Association, and has received honors from other groups ranging from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Association to the National School Boards Association.
Roberta D. Griffiths has served as an important proponent of higher education, municipal beautification efforts and community service. Her UMPI activities have included serving on the Board of Visitors for seven years - she is a charter member - and on the Foundation Board, where she is presently an Executive Board member. In her community, Griffiths currently serves on the Presque Isle Downtown Revitalization Committee. She has served as president of the Presque Isle Community Concert Association and the Northeast Audubon Chapter of the National Audubon Society and has been a member of the Presque Isle Garden Club for more than 40 years.
David B. Griffiths, a lawyer and judge, has been a dedicated community servant and advocate for issues ranging from mental health to domestic violence. In 1988, Griffiths was appointed by Governor John McKernan as a District Court Judge. Since 2003, he has served as an Active Retired Judge, presiding at courts throughout Maine at the direction of the Maine District Court. Griffiths has served on the Maine School Administrative District # 1 school board, Aroostook Mental Health Services board of directors, Presque Isle City Council, and as president of the Aroostook Bar Association. He has been a member of the Presque Isle Kiwanis Club for over 40 years. In 2004, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Presque Isle Area Chamber of Commerce.
During UMPI's commencement exercises, Barry McCrum brought greetings from the University of Maine System Board of Trustees and University of Maine System Chancellor Richard Pattenaude also delivered remarks. Keith Madore, UMPI Director of Alumni Relations, offered remarks on behalf of the UMPI Alumni Association. Annie Charles performed the National Anthem and David Ferrell sang the Canadian National Anthem.
In addressing the graduating class and the hundreds gathered for the event, President Zillman recounted the exciting year the University has had and highlighted some of the stellar accomplishments of UMPI students.
"It has been another remarkable year at the University of Maine at Presque Isle," President Zillman said. "From the dedication of our GIS lab and the exciting work happening with Project Compass, to the first anniversary of the installation of our wind turbine and the announcement that one of our very own students, Jared Monahan, has been named a Mitchell Peace Scholar, we couldn't be more pleased about the successes we have enjoyed this academic year. We are excited for our graduates as they take the successes they have achieved here and prepare to follow the thousands of University of Maine at Presque Isle students before them in making their own unique mark on the world."
A reception for graduates, family and friends was held in the Campus Center immediately following the ceremony.