A year ago at the start of the pandemic, we knew that the University of Maine’s response as the state’s research university needed to be rapid, dynamic and focused. In countless virtual meetings, we made decisions by bringing together those who could best inform us, implement the necessary steps, and put students first by being compassionate and caring above all else. We set aside our organizational charts and traditional communication pathways. We all had to be humble enough to listen to one another, and to science, as we weighed options, changed course as needed and continuously improved.
It is a perfect example of the leadership roles we all have and the opportunities to contribute for the greater good. When we are working to solve complex problems, the inclusion of diverse expertise, life experiences and points of view is vital to achieving solid solutions.
It is one of the many lessons from this challenging time that will inform our future.
Throughout this pandemic, we continue to be flexible, caring and compassionate, and to use the depth and breadth of our expertise, innovation and infrastructure to help meet needs in Maine and beyond. Our students and faculty have been remarkable in their resilience, willingness to adapt, and commitment to education under challenging circumstances. UMaine staff have stretched to take on new responsibilities for community well-being. Scientists have kept their research going while simultaneously becoming experts in coronavirus-related areas.
Our pandemic response has not been the only transformational experience in the past year. In this issue of UMaine Today magazine, you’ll read about other initiatives foundational to our future, including the historic $240 million grant for the University of Maine System by the Harold Alfond Foundation, which has UMaine at the center of the work.
We remain vigilant, mindful, and focused on our strategic vision and values.
University of Maine System Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation
President of the University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias