It is with great pride in and admiration for our University of Maine community that I share with you some of the interesting and exciting people and programs in this new issue of UMaine Today.
After seven months of rigorous planning by the Strategic Planning Leadership Team, the President’s Cabinet, focus group participants and community members, we have published our consensus-based vision and plan, the Blue Sky Project. I want to thank those of you who participated in “setting forth the University of Maine’s guiding principles and key areas of distinction, shaping a bold yet pragmatic framework for innovative and entrepreneurial growth, and charting a responsible course for fiscal sustainability through 2017.”
During this time, we have also awarded our first PRE-VUE Program grants to UMaine faculty and staff. We received 45 highly competitive proposals and funded six. Those selected for funding were rated most highly for the potential to enhance excellence and campus transformation through broad-based, campuswide partnerships, employ a cost-effective approach to addressing pressing issues for UMaine, achieve a sustainable impact, and align with UMaine’s emerging and strategic priorities. These projects will provide initial momentum on campus for a number of key initiatives in student recruitment and retention, renewed focus on the humanities, faculty development, university marketing and branding, and undergraduate research opportunities as we begin to fully implement the Blue Sky Project.
The UMaine community also reflected on the institution’s tremendous legacy of leadership in Maine during Leadership Week. Attendees enjoyed a number of events celebrating leadership and culminating in the April 19, 2012 Presidential Inauguration. The events included the Distinguished Presidential Lecture with Adm. Gregory G. Johnson, Leadership Week keynote speaker Doris Kearns Goodwin, the GradExpo, the Undergraduate Research Showcase, Student Leadership Awards and the UMaine Symphonic Band Concert in Portland. I am encouraged that we all ended the week reflecting on the need to reaffirm the public good in the public research university for which UMaine is a shining example — and national leader.
As I come to the end of my first year as the 19th President of UMaine, I especially want to thank you for your wonderful encouragement and support for the Fergusons, as well as your deep love for the University of Maine. Based on our collective affection and commitment to UMaine and its success, I have an even greater sense of hope and confidence during our second year together that we will achieve our Blue Sky Vision and advance the “College of Our Hearts Always” to further academic excellence.