Scholarship Support Helped UMaine’s 2019 Valedictorian

Drew Brooks, UMaine’s 2019 valedictorian, is a double major in microbiology and music, with a minor in molecular biology. “Drew is an outstanding undergraduate student from Maine who took full advantage of the breadth and depth of a research university,” says UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy.

As a UMaine student, Brooks received multiple scholarships awarded through funds held at the University of Maine Foundation including the Edie McVay King Scholarship. In fact, he has had the opportunity to meet and thank Edie at several UMaine scholarship events. He also received the Frederick Radke Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

“Completing two degrees at the University of Maine can be financially challenging,” says Brooks. “I am so grateful to have received the Edie McVay King Scholarship, not only because it has reduced my debt, but also because it has been awarded to me in recognition of my performance as an outstanding microbiology student in the department of molecular and biomedical science.”

Since his sophomore year, Brooks has been a student researcher in the Wheeler Lab studying the fungus Candida albicans, which can cause life-threatening infections in immunocompromised individuals.

Beyond the classroom and lab, Brooks has participated in five UMaine music ensembles — University Singers, Black Bear Men’s Chorus, Oratorio Society, Euphony Chamber Choir and Opera Workshop. He hopes to continue his vocal training when he moves to Boston this summer.

As a sophomore, Brooks was accepted to Tufts University School of Medicine through the Maine Track Early Assurance program. In August, he will start his first year of medical school.

Planning Ahead with Matching Funds

What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again . . .

This phrase, from the popular song “Singin’ in the Rain,” reflects the enthusiastic feelings of Norma Towne Clayton ’63 and her husband John, they recently received a thank-you letter from the first recipient of the Norma Towne Clayton Scholarship at the University of Maine.

This endowed scholarship fund provides scholarship assistance to a graduate of a Maine high school and of Lake Region High School in Naples, Maine, if possible. The endowed scholarship was originally to be funded by the Claytons upon their deaths. However, since their move to a continuous care retirement community in 2011, it became obvious to them that it might be possible that they could outlive their retirement plan savings and pensions. Although it is their hope that they “run out of breath before they run out of money,” they began to think of ways to make the scholarship a reality during their lifetimes. 

With the help of Sarah McPartland-Good, who specializes in planned giving at the University of Maine Foundation, they crafted a workable plan for establishing Norma’s scholarship through a series of annual gifts to the Foundation that were affordable to them. They had further encouragement during a five-year matching gift program when the Foundation agreed to match their annual gifts. Always ready for a bargain, they made their pledge immediately!

The University of Maine Vision for Tomorrow campaign matching gift program a few years later provided a similar matching situation, so they’re working on that pledge to bolster Norma’s endowed scholarship fund. John says that this has made it possible for them to fulfill their dream for the University of Maine earlier than anticipated and that it also feels good to have made a “warm hand gift, rather than a cold hand one!” They have been personally satisfied by being able to see the results during their lifetimes.

Both Norma and John put themselves through college; Norma worked in the dining halls at the University all four years on campus and for four summers at Migis Lodge in Casco, ME. She received help through loans from a member of the South Bridgton community who had provided financial help to other young people from South Bridgton. He died during the second semester of Norma’s junior year and in his will cancelled any college loans that were outstanding at the time of his death. A couple in the community, knowing of the help provided by the deceased man, stepped forward to loan Norma what she needed to complete her Maine education. The thoughtful gesture made its philanthropic mark on Norma.

John’s story is similar in that he, too, put himself through college by working part-time at a department store’s customer service pick-up area, where he delivered items such as television sets, window air conditioners, furniture, and, lawnmowers to customers when they came to pick them up at the loading platform. He was also the baritone in a paid solo quartet of a church in center city Wilmington, DE. It can be said that he “sang himself through college!”

Norma and John, during their working years and with more disposable income, provided help for several college-age young people, asking only that the recipients provide similar help to others in college after they are established and able to provide such help. The Claytons have strong feelings about giving back to the communities and organizations that supported them when they were young. This has been important to them and they carried it one step further by both working as planned giving associates at two different universities during the last 14 years of their careers.

To talk with someone about providing for your University of Maine dream, please contact the University of Maine Foundation.

Abby Graduates!

About four years ago, a new UMaine student shared her store with members of UMaine’s Charles F. Allen Legacy Society at their luncheon. She talked about the challenges she faces as a nontraditional student and her gratitude for the support she received from the Senior Alumni Scholarship which was helping her to attend UMaine.

Flash forward to 2019 when this same student, Abigail Weigang, is about to graduate with a B.S. in bioengineering.

“I am grateful for the many opportunities I have been afforded as a student at the University of Maine. I have conducted undergraduate research in the field of biomedical engineering for the past three years and have competed on the Track and Field team as a proud Black Bear athlete since I was a freshman. Following graduation, I will begin my career as an engineer in the biotechnology industry. These opportunities and the ones that lie ahead of me would not have manifested without the scholarship support I received, which allowed me to attend the University of Maine! I would like to thank each and every one of you who give generously to help students like myself. I will be thinking of you as I accept my diploma in May.”

–Abigail Weigang ’19

Beneficiary Designation Giving

Last year the University of Maine lost one of its oldest and most beloved alumni, Eleanor M. Webb. Miss Webb was a staple at many alumni events, delighting all who met her with her charm, humor, and wonderful memories of her time at the University. The University of Maine Foundation had the pleasure of assisting Miss Webb with her beneficiary designation gifts. The Eleanor M. Webb Fund at the University of Maine Foundation was a named beneficiary of her IRA, Certificate of Deposit (CD), and Charitable Remainder Trust.

Miss Webb, who grew up in South Portland and graduated from South Portland High School in 1943, earned her undergraduate degree in zoology from the University of Maine in 1947. Nearly 25 years later, she went back to the University and earned her Master of Education. She had a distinguished career in the health field, retiring from Kennebec Valley Medical Center in 1992, where she was Chief Technologist and Educational Coordinator. She was also instrumental in establishing the Med Lab Science Associate degree program at the University of Maine at Augusta and served as its program director, as well as a professor, from 1973 to 1992.

The funds from Miss Webb’s estate went to the Eleanor M. Webb Fund, which Miss Webb established in 2007 to support non-traditional students at the University of Maine. As someone who was considered a non-traditional student for her graduate studies, Miss Webb understood the unique challenges facing such students and wished to help them achieve their dreams, no matter their age.

If you would like assistance with your beneficiary designation gifts or have other questions about how you can make the University of Maine part of your own legacy, please contact the University of Maine Foundation.

Gift Annuities and Land Gift Create a Legacy

John and Pauline Turcotte Applin are both graduates of the University of Maine. Pauline received her undergraduate degree from the College of Education in 1964 and her Master of Education in 1968. John received his undergraduate degree from the College of Education in 1965 and his Master of Education in 1970.

Pauline and John were both math teachers at Telstar High School in MSAD 44 in Oxford County. In addition, John coached x-country running and outdoor track for over 35 years, including many state championship teams.

Pauline and John have established two gift annuities, the first in 2007 and the second in 2018. The residuum of the gift annuities will go to the John R. and Pauline T. Applin Fund. This was established to provide financial assistance for Maine residents attending the University of Maine and majoring in math.

In addition to the gift annuities the Applins donated a 75-acre woodlot that surrounded their home in Bethel an dMason Township. The woodlot was very well managed and is a wonderful gift to the Green Endowment at the University of Maine Foundation.

The Applins are a very generous couple and their support of the University is appreciated.

Pfeiffer Foundation makes $1.5 million gift to new UMaine engineering building

A $1.5 million gift has been received from the Gustavus and Louise Pfeiffer Research Foundation to help construct the University of Maine Engineering Education and Design Center (EEDC), according to University of Maine Foundation President/CEO Jeffery Mills.

The gift brings the total amount raised in support of the new facility to $66 million.

“We appreciate the leadership and vision of the Gustavus and Louise Pfeiffer Research Foundation, and its generosity,” says Joan Ferrini-Mundy, president of the University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias. “The Engineering Education and Design Center will transform engineering education at the university and in the state, fostering a collaborative community of learners — students, faculty, alumni, employers, and academic, research and industry partners.”

EEDC will house the Biomedical Engineering Program and Department of Mechanical Engineering, and provide space for all UMaine engineering majors to complete their capstone projects. This gift will name a space within the center.

Groundbreaking for the center is planned in early 2020, with anticipated completion in 2022.

“The Pfeiffer Research Foundation’s investment will provide world-class laboratories to support the pioneering research my colleagues and I do at the University of Maine,” says Karissa Tilbury, UMaine assistant professor of biomedical engineering. “The opening of EEDC in fall 2022 will serve as a beacon for biomedical engineering education and innovations in the state of Maine and beyond.”

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