One hundred and seventy students graduated from the University of Maine at Presque Isle on Saturday, May 12, during the 2018 Commencement Exercises—the University’s 109th Commencement ceremony. UMPI President Raymond Rice conferred degrees for the 2017-2018 academic year upon 112 students who participated in the ceremony held in Wieden Gymnasium.
U.S. Senator Angus King, who was sworn in as Maine’s first Independent United States Senator in January 2013 and is a past Governor of Maine, addressed the graduates as this year’s commencement speaker and was honored with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree.
Senator King is a member of the Armed Services Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the Committee on the Budget, and the Committee on Rules and Administration. In his time in the Senate, he has supported common-sense budget priorities that promote prosperity and reduce the national debt, fought the national opioid and heroin epidemic, coordinated efforts to revitalize Maine’s forest economy, fought to improve access to health care, worked to strengthen the government’s support of veterans, and promoted increased access to critical community resources like rural broadband.
As the 72nd Governor of Maine, he focused on economic development and job creation. Then-Governor King also achieved significant reforms in education, mental health services, land conservation, environmental protection, and the delivery of state services.
During UMPI’s commencement exercises, Norman L. Fournier, of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees, delivered greetings on behalf of the University of Maine System. As well, Jason Parent, UMPI Board of Visitors member; Carolyn Dorsey, UMPI Faculty Assembly Chair; and Tom Wire, UMPI Alumni Association President, offered remarks on behalf of each organization, respectively.
“On this important day, we commend the Class of 2018 for their dedicated pursuit of their academic goals,” President Rice said. “Whether they’ve taken a traditional path to their degrees, come back after a long time away, or undertaken their college work later in life, these graduates have accomplished so much in their years with us. While many have juggled family schedules, jobs, and other responsibilities, our graduates have succeeded in completing this part of their educational journey and we couldn’t be prouder.”
This year’s Commencement was live streamed on the University’s website so family and friends who couldn’t attend would have the opportunity to see the Class of 2018 graduate. Viewers from around the world were expected to tune in for the ceremony.
A tradition at this year’s event was the pinning of all marching graduates with a special symbol of campus. Each graduate was given a lapel pin depicting a snowy owl with its wings outstretched in flight. Meant to symbolize how each of them is spreading their wings and soaring on to great heights, graduates were asked during Commencement, “Where will your wings take you?” They will have the opportunity to share their stories—about contributions they make in their career fields, ways that they serve their communities, and adventures that they have around the world—on the website www.umpi.edu/yourwings. All alums, not just this year’s graduating class, are encouraged to add their stories on this site.
A reception for graduates, family, and friends was held in the Campus Center immediately following the ceremony.