As we enter into the holiday season, I just wanted to put forth a quick list of some things for which I am thankful here at UMPI:
- For the new faculty and staff and administrators (i.e. Jason Towers, who was ostensibly looking for Mayberry) who joined us this year and help make UMPI an even better university.
- My thanks to the voters of this great state of Maine for their support of the University’s bond, which will lead to $4.5 million in funds directly to develop programs and ensure state of the art teaching/learning spaces on our campus. And special thanks to the outstanding support from both the University’s Foundation and its Board of Visitors!
- For the incredibly hard work from Jason Johnston and all those involved with developing our Agricultural Science and Agribusiness program that kicked off this fall, leading, of course, to Mary Akeley Smith’s remarkable gift of $1 million dollars and our university’s first endowed chair.
- For the great work done by everyone, both here and at UMFK, to bring a BSN to UMPI!
- For Vanessa Pearson’s plans to remain at UMPI into May as our interim Dean of Students and for Mary Kate Barbosa to assume the role of Associate Dean.
- A special shout out to both Chris Bell and Alex Myhre for having the vision and courage to serve not one but two UMS institutions (truly One University at work).
- And an additional shout out to all of the Student Records and Financial Services crews for the great work done to increase students’ success and reduce student debt among our financial aid recipients, day in and day out.
- For the UMPI community for their attendance at our athletic contests, including the great crowd at the “returning for the first time in many moons” Men’s Alumni Basketball Game (although I am shocked, shocked that some administrator encouraged the use of noise makers)! It’s great for our athletes (and wider community) to see such interest!
- For the great work done by Trish and the entire Admissions team this past year—a 6% increase last year, a 10% increase this year…awesome…
- For the YourPace staff (Amanda, Courtney, Shea, and Jessica, all conveniently co-located in Normal Hall now!) and the great support they provide to our adult learners—and thanks to Carolyn Dorsey for her leadership and all the faculty and staff who have worked so hard to make CBE successful here at UMPI.
- For the SERVC Excellence Team and all the members of the Core teams for the great work already being done.
- My thanks and admiration for, in particular, the students on the Inclusion and Diversity Task Force (Alex DesRuisseaux, Evan Zarkadas, Riana Teixeira, Bethany MacPherson, Shyquinn Dix, and my apologies if I’ve forgotten anyone) and the initiatives they have under way, from our Diversity Dialogues to the remarkable “Owls of UMPI” project, which you can find (and follow) on Instagram, and which so excellently profiles many of our students and faculty and supporters.
- For Lisa Smith (with congratulations upon her wedding) and Denise Trombley for valiantly trying to make sense of my calendar and my moods.
- For the long-suffering Sharon Roix for being, well, long-suffering in regards to all of my annoyances J
- For everyone—faculty, staff, students, coaches, athletes, Sharon Roix (!)—for making Naomi feel at home on this campus. She truly loves each and every moment of everything she does, from seeing basketball games and getting photo ops with Miami Mo (aka Maurice Harris), to telling her terrible knock-knock jokes at Discovery Day, to throwing snowballs at Dave Putnam, to simply saying “hi” to people on the walkway.
- Finally, and most importantly, I am thankful, as always, for the incredible work being done by the faculty and staff and the entire UMPI community in everything you do to help our students succeed. From support in the classroom, to inviting students into your homes, to formal and casual meetings and expressions of encouragement, you are those who truly make a university experience The Way It Should Be.