Origin of The Foundation
as set forth by Charles E. Crossland, Class of 1917:
June 9, 1934, is the date when the University of Maine Foundation was officially incorporated, but much preliminary activity dating back to July, 1930, preceded the organization.
On June 9, the University and the General Alumni Association entered into an agreement under which the University contributed $1,000 annually to the Association. The purpose of this plan was to enable the Association’s executive secretary to call upon prominent alumni to cultivate their interest in the institution with the hope that they might make gifts and bequests to their Alma Mater, The University of Maine.
To assist in this activity, the President of the University, Dr. Harold S. Boardman, 1895, appointed a committee to suggest names and consider matters related to giving to the University. Those appointed to this committee, which was known as the Endowment and Donations Committee, were as follows:
- Dr. Harold S. Boardman 1895, Chairman
- William R. Pattangall 1934, Augusta
- Hosea B. Buck 1893, Bangor
- George O. Hamlin 1900, New York
- Dr. Robert R. Drummond 1905, Orono
- Howard G. Philbrook 1909, Boston
- Edward E. Chase 1913, Portland
- Raymond H. Fogler 1915, New York
Robert W. DeWolfe, 1907, was later added to the committee and proved very helpful in promoting its activities.
Misters Buck and Chase were Trustees and Mr. Fogler was president of the General Alumni Association. The Executive Secretary of the Association was also Executive Secretary of the committee. At an early meeting of the committee, a suggestion was made that consideration be given to the possibility of creating an organization to receive and manage funds for the benefit of the University. Accordingly, a letter was sent to all of the public universities and land-grant colleges in the country. The replies showed that there were thirteen corporations or foundations, most of which were relatively small and located in the middle west. Some sent a copy of their by-laws if such had been printed.
With this information, the Executive Secretary was directed to prepare a preliminary draft of by-laws for a corporation or foundation. This was the beginning of a rather long and difficult task of harmonizing the thinking of members of the committee. The proposed by-laws also had to have the approval not only of the committee but also of the Trustees of the University and the Treasurer of the University.
An alumnus of the University offered a gift of $10,000 with the stipulation that the income be paid to his sister during her lifetime. This brought into focus a decision which had been made by the treasurer, namely, that the University could not accept gifts for the benefit of other than itself.
Another offer of $25,000 was also lost because the donor requested that the income be used to pay the medical bills of indigent students. President Boardman personally called upon the prospective donor who resided in New Hampshire and suggested the money be put in trust in any bank of his choice and the University would pay the management fee until the foundation could be organized. However, this plan did not appeal to him. It was now clear that there was need for a foundation.
The first revised draft of the proposed by-laws was dated November, 1931, and sent to those concerned. A second draft was completed about a year later and the third revision of November, 1933, was approved substantially as written. It was given the name of the University of Maine Foundation. One result of the discussion was to remove the Statement of Purpose from the by-laws and set it up as a preliminary statement.
Meanwhile, President Boardman was searching for individuals who would become members of the Foundation. Arrangements were made to have George Eaton, a prominent Bangor attorney, handle legal matters in the incorporation. He suggested that David F. Fuller ’27, a Bangor attorney, be invited to participate and to sit on the first meeting.
On June 9, 1934, President Boardman ’95 called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. in his office. Present were the following men, who became the charter members of the University of Maine Foundation:
- Dr. Harold S. Boardman 1895, Orono
- Harmond G. Allen, Springvale
- Hosea B. Buck 1893, Bangor
- Dr. Robert R. Drummond 1905, Orono
- Joe W. Gerrity 1909, Boston
- Horace S. Stewart, Bangor
- Stephen Wheatland, Bangor
- Ralph Whittier 1902, Bangor
Misters Allen and Buck were also trustees of the University who had chosen to have two Foundation members rather than three as provided in the proposed by-laws.
They then adopted the Statement of Purpose and the By-Laws.
The purposes of said corporation are to acquire real or personal property by devise, bequest, gifts, donation, or otherwise, to hold, administer, control, and manage the same for the benefit of the University of Maine, its faculty, or students, or any member of either body, upon such terms and to such ends as donors, testators, or others shall prescribe, or otherwise on terms prescribed by this Corporation in the exercise of its discretion.
They voted to elect three more charter members, raising their total to the minimum of 11 as prescribed in the By-Laws which specified not less than 11 or more than 19 members. The following were elected:
- Carl P. Dennett ’02, Boston
- George Hamlin ’00, New York
- Dr. John P. Schroeder, ’34H, Portland
Officers were then elected as follows:
- President – Stephen Wheatland
- Secretary – Charles E. Crossland ’17
- Treasurer – Ralph Whittier ’02
Directors were elected as follows:
- Stephen Wheatland, Chairman
- Hosea B. Buck ’93
- Carl P. Dennett ’02
- Horace S. Stewart
- Ralph Whittier ’02
Having completed the business as legally required, the meeting was adjourned and the Foundation was in business.
The Class of 1909 has the distinction of making the first gift to the Foundation. They presented to Dr. Harold S. Boardman a check for $1,000 that night, June 9, 1934, at the Annual Alumni Banquet, designating it as the first gift to the Foundation.
At a subsequent meeting, the Directors completed the details regarding the organization such as the term expirations, etc. They also voted to place $500 of the 1909 gift in the Penobscot Savings Bank and the other $500 in the Bangor Savings Bank.
Voting took place to introduce a bill into the 1935 Legislature for the purpose of confirming the Foundation and its tax-exempt status and gaining some publicity. Accordingly, President Wheatland had a bill prepared which he sent to Penobscot County Senator Marion Martin ’30 who had gained considerable prestige in that body. She introduced the bill, a hearing was held at which there was no opposition, and the bill was enacted February 27, 1935.
While this completes the state of origin of the Foundation, it would not be proper to conclude without mentioning the names of two persons who rendered conspicuously valuable service to the Foundation. Stephen Wheatland, a Harvard alumnus and a member, president and director of the Foundation, gave dedicated leadership during his ten-year membership prior to his request for retirement in 1944. The other person is Ralph Whittier ’02 who served many years as treasurer. He was then treasurer and later president of the Penobscot Savings Bank. His knowledge of finances and investments was invaluable to the Foundation.