As part of the celebration of its “Ensuring the Future” 80th anniversary, the University of Maine Foundation presented one graduate from each of UMaine’s colleges with the President Abram W. Harris Award.
The award was established in 2003 by President Harris’ grandson Abram ”Pete” W. Harris III ’50 and his friend Marion Waterman Meyer ’51.
Each awardee was a scholarship recipient as a UMaine student, and evidences exemplary and extraordinary leadership, contributions to his or her community and/or service to UMaine — the essence of Harris’ efforts as the president of the University of Maine from 1893 to 1901.
“These six outstanding UMaine alumni represent the results of scholarship support,” said Foundation President/CEO Jeffery N. Mills. “This year scholarship support from the Foundation to the University of Maine was at a record high of over $4.1 million. In a few years, we expect some of those who received that support to be back to accept their Harris awards.”
Dr. Debra A. Gervais, who graduated in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in Honors and chemistry, is Division Chief of Abdominal Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School.
Originally from Madawaska, Gervais attended Tufts Medical School, where she was named to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society. She completed an internship year in internal medicine at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Gervais did her residency training in diagnostic radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she served one year as Chief Resident in Radiology and pursued sub-specialty fellowship training in abdominal imaging and intervention. Prior to her return to Massachusetts General Hospital, Gervais was a private practice radiologist and an attending radiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital.
After graduating from the University of Maine, Keating played for seven years in the National Football League, spending six years in Buffalo and one in Washington. He became registered as a stockbroker and worked during his last three off-seasons from football. Upon retirement, Keating earned his law degree from Suffolk University Law School in 1991.
John K. Veroneau graduated in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in English. He practices international trade law at Covington & Burling LLP, a Washington, D.C.-based global law firm, where he co-chairs the International Trade and Investment practice group. He has served in U.S. Senate-confirmed positions in Republican and Democratic administrations. Under President Bush, he was Deputy United States Trade Representative (USTR) and USTR General Counsel. Under President Clinton, he served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. Veroneau was Legislative Director to former U.S. Sen. Bill Cohen, Legislative Director to former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Chief of Staff to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.
Calen B. Colby, P.E., graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1985 and a master’s degree in civil engineering in 1991. Colby spent the first part of his career overhauling nuclear attack submarines. For 15 years, he worked for a national contractor designing and constructing power plants, then became a project manager in the paper industry in the United States and Europe. Following this, Colby worked in the A/E consulting engineering field. Among many notable projects in his career, Calen worked with international artist Michael Singer, on structural and mechanical systems for a sculpture at the U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece. He is a registered professional engineer in 27 states and five Canadian provinces. In 2008, Colby and his wife Sarah Emily founded Colby Company Engineering, a Portland, Maine-based firm with 26 employees.
Ann Merrifield graduated with a bachelor’s degree in zoology in 1973 and a master’s in education in 1975. She works with a number of small technology businesses as an independent board member, advisor or investor. From 2012 to July 2014, she held the role of President and Chief Executive Officer of PathoGentix, Inc., a commercial stage developer of an automated system for rapid identification and typing of pathogenic bacterial strains. Prior to her role at PathoGentix, Merrifield spent 18 years at Genzyme Corporation, a diversified global biotechnology company. Earlier in her career, Merrifield was a partner at Bain and Company, a global strategy consulting firm in Boston, and she was an Investment Officer at Aetna Life & Casualty in Hartford, Conn.
In 2000, he was selected by the Major League Baseball Commissioner’s Office to develop and oversee a first-ever comprehensive athletic health care program for the 74 umpires in MLB. He served as a Major League Baseball Head Athletic Trainer for 14 years with the San Francisco Giants and eight years as a Minor League and Assistant Athletic Trainer with the New York Yankees. Letendre was honored to serve as National League athletic trainer at the 1987 and 1994 MLB All-Star Games. He has been recognized with many awards and serves on several civic-related committees.
Along with the Harris award, and to honor their legacy as successful scholarship recipients, the Foundation also presented each awardee with a $1,000 scholarship named in his or her honor. The scholarships will be awarded during the next academic year by the UMaine Student Financial Aid Office.
The Harris Awards were presented by the college deans. Foundation Board President Austin presented the scholarships. Almost 300 people attended the celebration and annual meeting.
The University of Maine Foundation was established in 1934 to encourage gifts and bequests to promote academic achievement, research and intellectual pursuit at the University of Maine. Currently, the Foundation manages more than 1,500 endowed funds that benefit UMaine.