UMaine holds virtual groundbreaking for $78 million Ferland Engineering Education and Design Center

UMaine holds virtual groundbreaking for $78 million Ferland Engineering Education and Design Center

April 28, 2020

Today, donors, architects, builders, alumni, friends and colleagues will celebrate the official groundbreaking ceremony for the University of Maine Ferland Engineering Education and Design Center. Due to coronavirus pandemic protocols, the previously planned in-person event is virtual and available online. Construction of the 105,000-square-foot facility will begin in May, with workers following appropriate COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

The project is expected to be completed in spring 2022. Members of the UMaine Class of 2023, who entered as first-year students in fall 2019, will complete their senior capstone projects in the center. The groundbreaking for the Ferland Engineering Education and Design Center (Ferland EEDC), which has been in the planning and fundraising stages since 2013, is a significant milestone, says Gov. Janet Mills.

“This is an exciting opportunity for UMaine students to learn skills in emerging fields in state-of-the-art classrooms in biomedical and mechanical engineering labs. And once we’re on the other side of this pandemic, it will be another crucial tool to help us address our workforce challenges, which is critical to the growth of our economy and our success as a state,” Mills notes in her video message for the virtual groundbreaking.

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University of Maine Foundation presents awards to six alumni at 85th anniversary celebration

University of Maine Foundation presents awards to six alumni at 85th anniversary celebration

L-R: Hon. George Z. Singal ’67, Eric M. Venturini ’06, ’15G, Matthew R. McHatten ’90, Anthony F. “Tony” Paine ’96, Bruce W. Albiston ’72, Betsy MacGregor Webb CAS ’00, Ed.D. ’08 – 2019 Harris Award winners.

As part of its “Celebrating Success” 85th anniversary luncheon, the University of Maine Foundation presented one alum 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 award recipient demonstrates 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 a sampling of the outcomes of a University of Maine education,” said Foundation President/CEO Jeffery N. Mills. “Our work in fundraising helps to ensure that a UMaine education can become a reality for more outstanding alumni. In 85 years, funds held at the Foundation have supported thousands of UMaine students with scholarships and other resources.”

Meet the awardees

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Bruce W. Albiston ’72

Co-Founder, Aphasia Center of Maine and the Adaptive Outdoor Education Center 
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Bruce’s career began at Maine Oxy in 1972, and in 1983, he became owner and CEO. Maine Oxy became an employee-owned company in 2005 and six years later, Bruce completed the sale of the company to the employees. During his tenure, he founded Firesafe Equipment and the nonprofit New England School of Metalwork. In 2011, he co-founded the Aphasia Center of Maine and the Adaptive Outdoor Education Center with his wife, Annemarie. He currently serves as executive director. Bruce has served on several boards and has volunteered with many organizations.

Matthew R. McHatten ’90

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of MMG Insurance
Maine Business School

Matt received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance in 1990. Upon graduating from UMaine, he worked for KeyBank’s Commercial Lending division for 11 years. In 2001, he joined Maine Mutual Group, holding a variety of senior leadership roles. Matt has been involved with many civic organizations, including the Maine TREE Foundation, Presque Isle Rotary Club, Central Aroostook Association, and Aroostook Partnership.

Anthony F. “Tony” Paine ’96

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, HighByte 
College of Engineering

Tony is leading the design and development of HighByte’s initial software product offering. He has contributed to a variety of technical working groups, helping shape the direction of standards used within the automation industry. A strong advocate for STEM initiatives, he currently sits on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the University of Maine College of Engineering where he provides industry insight and evangelism around education in the area of technology. Tony is currently enrolled in the university’s Online MBA program and expects to complete his degree by summer 2021.

Hon. George Z. Singal ’67                

District Judge, District of Maine, United States District Court, US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judge
Honors College

George graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maine and received his JD degree cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was a Felix Frankfurter Scholar. He practiced law in Bangor for 30 years. George has served as a U.S. District Court judge, District of Maine, since July 2000 and as chief judge from 2003-09. Since induction, Judge Singal has held numerous national appointments made by Chief Justices William Rehnquist and John Roberts, including the Judicial Conference’s Committees on Judicial Resources and on Codes of Conduct.

Eric M. Venturini ’06, ’15G   

Pollinator Biologist with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and a Partner Biologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture
College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture

Eric works to increase awareness and capacity for pollinator conservation in New England. In this role he has spearheaded an inter-agency, collaborative, cooperative agreement to prioritize pollinator conservation across all of New England. Previously, Eric was a graduate student, then a researcher at UMaine studying pollinators and wild blueberries. His greatest joy is his wife, Julia (whom he met at Colvin Hall in 2002), and their two young children, Mariella and Teo, who keep him laughing, and who give him perspective and motivation to make positive change in their world.

Betsy MacGregor Webb CAS ’00, Ed.D. ’08

Superintendent of Schools for the Bangor School Department
College of Education and Human Development

Betsy has led the Bangor School Department since 2008. Through her leadership, the district has seen increased academic achievement with the implementation of a 10-year strategic plan emphasizing academic excellence, professional excellence, quality instructional programs and an environment for success. Throughout her career, Betsy has received numerous awards, including 2013 Maine Superintendent of the Year. She has served on the Dean’s Council for the College of Education and Human Development, and on several national, state and local boards.

UMaine receives $1 million pledge from Pratt & Whitney for engineering center

UMaine receives $1 million pledge from Pratt & Whitney for engineering center

A $1 million pledge from Pratt & Whitney for the E. James and Eileen P. Ferland Engineering Education and Design Center (Ferland EEDC) was announced on Friday, Oct. 25, as part of University of Maine Homecoming Weekend by College of Engineering Dean Dana Humphrey and University of Maine Foundation President Jeff Mills.

Pratt & Whitney will name the center’s Machine Tool Suite, featuring more functional, updated space for mechanical engineering technology students to develop production and manufacturing skills. It will feature open workspace, computer-controlled milling machines and lathes, tool crib, applied research lab, and a computer-aided drafting/computer-aided manufacturing classroom.

“This gift will allow our mechanical engineering technology students to gain the hands-on experience that they need to be effective from day one in their careers. It is so appropriate that Pratt & Whitney named this space since they hire so many of our engineering graduates. I am deeply grateful for the strong and long-standing relationship between UMaine engineering and Pratt & Whitney,” says Dana Humphrey, dean of the College of Engineering. 

Read more.

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Donors celebrating 55th UMaine Class Reunion to name engineering building

Donors celebrating 55th UMaine Class Reunion to name engineering building

Skowhegan natives E. James “Jim” Ferland and Eileen P. Ferland are the anonymous donors whose $10 million investment will help construct the Engineering Education and Design Center at the University of Maine.

The new facility will be named in honor of the couple.

The announcement was made by University of Maine Foundation president and CEO Jeffery Mills at the UMaine Alumni Association 2019 Reunion dinner Sept. 12 on campus, where Jim Ferland was celebrating his 55th class reunion.

The E. James and Eileen P. Ferland Engineering Education and Design Center (EEDC) will house the Biomedical Engineering Program and Department of Mechanical Engineering, as well as teaching laboratories for mechanical engineering technology, and provide space for all UMaine engineering majors to complete their senior capstone projects.

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Record fundraising and $1 million pledge announced by University of Maine Foundation at annual luncheon

Record fundraising $1 million pledge announced by University of Maine Foundation at annual luncheon


The Wards stand with Dana Humphrey and Foundation President Jeff Mills for a photo

On hand for the announcement of the $1 million pledge for the University of Maine Engineering Education and Design Center are, left to right, College of Engineering Dean Dana Humphrey; donors Debbie Lipscomb and Dr. Denham Ward of Bowdoinham; and University of Maine Foundation President Jeff Mills.

Orono, Maine — Over 230 University of Maine benefactors gathered to celebrate a record-breaking year of fundraising at the annual University of Maine Foundation luncheon on campus Oct. 26 during Homecoming weekend.

Foundation President Jeff Mills announced gifts and pledges totalling $36.9 million for fiscal year 2018. That total is up 115 percent over the previous year and brings the total collected during the current Vision for Tomorrow comprehensive campaign to over $160 million — 80 percent of the campaign goal.

“2017–18 was a tremendous year for fundraising at the University of Maine,” says Mills. “As a result, UMaine’s endowments are now at an all-time high of over $327 million. Private support is providing UMaine students, faculty and staff with crucial resources that enhance their UMaine experience.”

To kick off 2018–19 fundraising, College of Engineering Dean Dana Humphrey announced a $1 million pledge from the Abbagadassett Foundation to support the Engineering Education and Design Center, UMaine’s top capital priority for the Vision for Tomorrow comprehensive campaign.

“We are pleased to invest in this attractive new engineering center which includes significant space for biomedical engineering,” said Debbie Lipscomb, who co-directs the Abbagadassett Foundation in Bowdoinham, Maine with her husband, Dr. Denham Ward ’69. “That program is close to our hearts and we’re excited to be able to support it.”

Ward and Lipscomb have a long affiliation with the University of Maine. Denham, a native of Clinton, Maine, was an Honors College student who graduated with a degree in electrical engineering. He earned a Ph.D. in 1975 from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an M.D. from the University of Miami in 1977. Ward is an emeritus professor and chair of anesthesiology at the University of Rochester where they were active members of the UMaine Alumni Rochester Chapter.

Lipscomb is a graduate of Occidental College. The couple also supports scholarships for engineering majors in the Honors College.

For more information about giving to the University of Maine, contact the University of Maine Foundation, 207.581.5100.

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UMaine Alumnus Creates Fund for Maine 4-H Poultry Projects

Poultry fund story photoL to r: Professor Emeritus of Animal, Veterinary and Aquatic Sciences Robert O. Hawes, Frankie Bozzino from Winterport, holding a Cochin Bantam that Bob had given him as a chick and Alice McKinstry Hawes

Dr. Robert O. Hawes and his wife, Alice, recently created an endowed fund at the University of Maine Foundation to support poultry projects in Maine 4-H clubs with a preference for projects involving heritage breeds. Dr. Hawes and Alice Hawes have been longtime supporters of poultry projects, Cooperative Extension, the Page Farm and Home Museum and 4-H Clubs in Maine. The Hawes’ poultry fund will support projects that provide learning experiences in areas such as business, entrepreneurship, record keeping, documentation, problem-solving, food safety, and animal husbandry for Maine youth. With Carolyn Christman of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, Dr. Hawes co-authored “Birds of a Feather: Saving Rare Turkeys from Extinction.” As a result of his commitment to turkey conservation, he received, in 2003, the Bixby-Sponenburg Breed Conservation Award from the ALBC. In 2014, he was recognized by the American Poultry Association for his long-term commitment to the breeding and exhibiting of pure-bred poultry. Dr. Hawes has degrees from the University of Maine, the University of Massachusetts, and the Pennsylvania State University and is now Professor Emeritus of Animal, Veterinary and Aquatic Sciences at the University of Maine.