$2 million planned gifts from UMaine alumnus will enhance Fogler Library digital resources and Maine Business School scholarships.

Two planned gifts from a University of Maine alumnus totaling $2 million will greatly enhance the digital resources of Raymond H. Fogler Library and provide additional scholarship assistance to University of Maine business majors.

The University of Maine Foundation received the bequests from John Marshall Webber, a 1970 graduate who passed away on Oct. 24, 2022 at the age of 78. A Bangor native and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Webber enrolled at UMaine following his military service and earned a bachelor’s degree in art.

Webber was an accomplished artist, investor, and lifelong learner who studied philosophy and enjoyed collecting Asian works of art. In 2007 Webber, a longtime member of the Friends of Fogler Library Advisory Board, worked with the University of Maine Foundation to establish the John M. Webber Digital Library Fund. He created the endowed fund to help Fogler Library enhance its ability to acquire and access to digital resources worldwide. He also committed an additional $1 million gift to the fund, to be paid by his estate upon his passing.

“Countless learners at the University of Maine and in the state of Maine will benefit from Mr. Webber’s vision, including interest in the arts and humanities, and in the value of accessing digital informational resources,” said University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. “We deeply appreciate our alumni giving back to their alma mater and, in this case, to one of the pillars of our R1 university — the state’s research library.”

“We are very grateful for Mr. Webber’s tremendous and forward-thinking gift, which will support Fogler Library’s digitization efforts,” said Daisy D. Singh, UMaine’s dean of libraries. “We are Maine’s largest academic library and we are also open to the public. His generous support will allow us to reenvision that traditional divide by making academic collections and projects more accessible to all.”

Also in 2007, Webber worked with the University of Maine Foundation to establish another endowed fund, the John M. Webber School of Business Scholarship. It provides financial assistance to students enrolled in one of UMaine’s graduate-level business programs. Per Webber’s wishes, preference is given to students who are studying international business or finance, and who demonstrate their potential for career success following graduation.

“The generous bequest by John Webber to the John M. Webber School of Business Scholarship will enable many students to access world-class business programs at the University of Maine,” said Jason Harkins, interim executive dean of the Maine Business School. “This support will impact Maine for generations as it enhances the ability of individuals from a variety of backgrounds to use education to enhance their career success.”

“On behalf of our MBA students and alumni, it is with deep gratitude that I acknowledge the $1 million bequest from Mr. Webber to support our graduate students,” added Norman O’Reilly, dean of the university’s Graduate School of Business. “Thanks to his generosity, we will be able to further support students in our globally ranked MaineMBA program and attract and retain top talent in our great state.”

“The University of Maine campus was a special place to John,” explained Jeffery N. Mills, University of Maine Foundation president and CEO. “He was a frequent visitor to Fogler Library until late in life, when health issues made trips to campus difficult. His generous bequests reflect his deep appreciation for the transformative nature of higher education and the role that Fogler, as a research library, plays in student and scholarly success.”

Mills noted that Webber’s gifts continued the extensive philanthropic support for the university and community provided by his late parents, G. Peirce Webber and Florence (Pitts) Webber. A prominent businessman and civic leader, Peirce Webber led Webber Timberlands, which, under his leadership, became one of Maine’s largest private landowners. Peirce Webber, who died in 2001, had been a member of the University of Maine Foundation Board of Directors and served a term as its board chair.

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.

Alumni create fund to honor mentor and take advantage of tax savings by using their IRA to make the gift

Karen and Tom Guter met over fifty years ago while both were students at UMaine. They later worked together in Fogler Library, as students, for Dr. James C. MacCampbell (Dr. Mac).

Dr. Mac served as the Head Librarian at UMaine from 1962-1982. He saw the library as “obviously, its center of learning.” During his tenure as head librarian, Dr. Mac oversaw dramatic changes to Fogler Library including the expansion of the building, the establishment of the special collections department, the initiation of Fogler as a regional government documents depository, the development of a master’s program in library science, and more.

To Tom and Karen, as well as to many other UMaine students, Dr. Mac was, more importantly, a mentor and a friend. Dr. Mac’s guidance changed their career paths and their lives.

Karen came to UMaine to study history and earned her bachelor’s degree in 1971. Under Dr. Mac’s tutelage, Karen obtained a master’s degree in library science at UMaine. She went on to become an award-winning school librarian for more than 30 years. She chaired the Maine Student Book Award Committee and was part of the Simmons College Children’s Literature Institute.

Although Tom majored in education at UMaine, he was also a beneficiary of Dr. Mac’s encouragement and guidance. Dr. Mac recognized Tom’s supervisory abilities right away and put him in charge of the library’s night shift as a junior. Tom pursued a master’s degree in public administration and, later, a career in management including serving as a Vice President of Claims Administration at Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Maine and as Director of Human Resources for the Town of Scarborough.

The Guter’s wanted a way to recognize Dr. Mac and help UMaine at the same time. In 2022, they created an endowed fund in his honor at the University of Maine Foundation. The Dr. James C. MacCampbell Memorial Fund, will provide support for the Fogler Library for the procurement of resources.

The Guter’s made their gift using a distribution from an IRA. Qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) from IRAs are a very tax-savvy way to make gifts for individuals who are 70 1/2 and older. These distributions can count toward a required minimum distribution (RMD) and can be excluded from taxable income. This can be especially helpful if you don’t itemize deductions when filing your income taxes. You can learn more about qualified charitable distributions on the IRS website at bit.ly/3INNa4W.

If you would like to make a gift in honor of Dr. Mac to grow this fund further, you can do so by making a gift to the fund online at our.umaine.edu/drmac.

You can learn more about making gifts using an IRA, both during your lifetime and in your estate plans, by going to our website at umainefoundation.org/types-of-gifts/ira-qcd(for lifetime giving) or umainefoundation.org/types-of-gifts/retirement-accounts/ (for giving through a beneficiary designation).If there is someone you would like to honor by the creation of an endowed fund either during your lifetime or through a gift in your will (or other planned gift) or if you would like to learn more about giving through your IRA, please reach out to us at the UMaine Foundation at 207-581-5100.

Charitable Gift Annuity Rates on the Rise—Don’t Miss This Opportunity to Make a Difference

Charitable Gift Annuity Rates on the Rise—Don’t Miss This Opportunity to Make a Difference

Gift annuity rate chart

There is exciting news if you would like to boost your retirement income and support the University of Maine Foundation. Effective July 1, 2022, charitable gift annuity rates will increase. 

How It Works 

The concept is simple. You make a donation using cash, marketable securities or other assets, and we, in turn, pay you, and another person if you choose, a fixed amount for life. With this type of gift, you can feel secure knowing you can count on receiving stable payments for as long as you live, despite market fluctuations. And now, if you make your gift on or after July 1, the gift annuity rates will be an estimated 0.4% to 0.6% higher than they are now.

Here’s an Example of How You May Benefit 

Under the current rate schedule, Mary, 79, transfers $25,000 in exchange for a charitable gift annuity. She will receive annual payments of $1,550, a rate of 6.2%. Instead, if Mary waits to make her gift on or after the new rate schedule is in place on July 1, the same gift amount will provide $1,700 in annual payments, reflecting a 6.8%. rate. That’s a payout rate increase of 0.6%.

In addition to the opportunity to increase your retirement income as you endow support for what means the most to you at the University of Maine, gift annuities can offer you numerous tax benefits, including: 

  • A partial income tax charitable deduction for your gift when you itemize.
  • Part of each payment is income tax-free throughout your estimated life expectancy. 
  • Capital gains tax savings on appreciated property you donate.

The Foundation does not offer gift annuities in all states, but we would be happy to send you a free, no-obligation illustration showing you the benefits of a gift annuity, including your potential income tax charitable deduction and our annual payments to you for life. 


None of the information on this website should be considered legal or financial advice. We encourage you to consult with your own legal counsel or financial/tax advisor before deciding whether or not to proceed with a gift or change to your estate plan.


Fogler Library Receives Legacy Gift from Alumnus Lee Gagnon ’59

Fogler Library Receives Legacy Gift from Alumnus Lee Gagnon ’59

Fogler Library Interior Photo with Students

University of Maine Fogler Library has received an $800,000 gift from the estate of Lee Gagnon, a member of the Class of 1959, to support an endowed memorial fund in honor of his parents, according to University of Maine Foundation President/CEO Jeffery Mills.

The Lionel J. Gagnon and Germaine Fortin Gagnon Memorial Fund will provide resources for the library’s procurement of resources, including books, videos, tapes, computer equipment, software and supplies, speakers, programs and materials in perpetuity. The balance of the fund, established in 2000, now exceeds $1 million.

Gagnon, a native of Waterville, Maine who was living in Charlestown, Rhode Island, passed away Aug. 1, 2021 at the age of 83.

“This gift will advance the ability of the state’s largest research library to provide excellent resources to our university community, across the University of Maine System and the state,” says UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. “As part of our Carnegie R1 top-tier research institution, Fogler has a critical role in supporting students, faculty, staff and Maine residents.”

Gagnon, who graduated from UMaine with a degree in economics, had a long and successful career in insurance and banking in Connecticut, where he raised his family. He retired from Webster Financial Corp. as executive vice president, chief operating officer and secretary. Gagnon served in the military, both in active and reserve duty. 

According to Gagnon’s daughter, Terry Driscoll, he was grateful for the opportunities he had in his life and credited UMaine with providing him with the foundation for his future success. He was an avid reader and always maintained a large library of his own.

Gagnon’s brother Lawrence and two grandchildren also are UMaine graduates.

The Lionel J. and Germaine Fortin Gagnon Memorial Fund to benefit Folger Library was established as a tribute to UMaine and to help future students. 

Gagnon’s parents were married in 1936 and established a family farm in Oakland, Maine that they operated with their four children. The couple retired in 1973. Gagnon cited fond memories of growing up on the farm, and his parents’ unconditional love, support and encouragement in his life endeavors as his motivation for honoring them with this gift.

“Lee worked with Foundation staff in 2000 to set this fund in place as a part of his estate planning process. This is a good example of how important it is to take the time to ensure that your wishes are clearly defined for those in charge of handling your estate. This is a classic example of a true legacy gift and we are very grateful to Lee for his generous gift and his faith in our services,” says Mills.


None of the information on this website should be considered legal or financial advice. We encourage you to consult with your own legal counsel or financial/tax advisor before deciding whether or not to proceed with a gift or change to your estate plan.


Sandy Blitz: Passionate about Maine’s Economic Development

Sandy Blitz: Passionate about Maine’s Economic Development

Sandy Blitz

Sandy Blitz has been passionate about economic development and dedicated his career to this purpose. Now, by using a life insurance policy, Sandy will be carrying on this legacy by creating a permanent endowed fund to support fellowships for University of Maine students in programs that support economic development in Maine.

Sandy served in several high-level positions in the federal government.  President Barack Obama appointed Sandy to be the first-ever Federal Co-Chair of the newly created Northern Border Regional Commission. President George W. Bush appointed Sandy to be Region I Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration in New England. Before that, Sandy spent more than a decade as a regional representative for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration under presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. He also held several managerial positions at the U.S. General Services Administration. 

Sandy’s connection with UMaine has been a strong one. In 1992, he earned a Master’s in Public Administration at UMaine. In addition, he has worked closely with the University on a number of its economic development projects including as executive manager of the Bangor Target Area Development Corporation and adjunct assistant professor at the University of Maine’s Department of Public Administration. Through these experiences as well as running his own business, Emesbee Associates, a consulting firm that helped public and private entities find government grants and loans, Sandy has become highly sensitive to the challenges faced by, and opportunities offered by, small businesses in Maine.

When Sandy was considering his philanthropic goals, he decided to create a fund at the University of Maine Foundation to support fellowships for UMaine students in programs that support economic development in the State of Maine. This fund will help UMaine students develop entrepreneurship skills and boost economic development in Maine at the same time. 

When deciding how to fund his gift, Sandy considered several alternatives, and ultimately, decided to use life insurance. Specifically, Sandy took out a new life insurance policy and made an irrevocable gift to the University of Maine Foundation by naming it the owner and beneficiary of the policy. Each year, Sandy makes a gift to cover the annual premium. Sandy has said that, “By using life insurance to create my fellowship fund, I will be able to make a much larger gift than if I had simply donated the amount of the premiums during my lifetime. I consider it a win-win.”

None of the information on this website should be considered legal or financial advice. We encourage you to consult with your own legal counsel or financial/tax advisor before deciding whether or not to proceed with a gift or change to your estate plan.


Charitable gift annuities are a win-win for Betty Brown Calkins ’50, ’57G

Charitable gift annuities are a win-win for Betty Brown Calkins ’50, ’57G

Betty Brown Calkins and her late husband Jay recognized that a charitable gift annuity could be a “win-win” for their financial planning and for the students they someday hoped to help. “With a charitable gift annuity, you are really helping the University, even though you are receiving something back,” said Betty.

Betty and Jay grew up in Maine and worked as teachers and school administrators in Maine and other states before retiring in Maine. They called the gift planning staff at the University of Maine Foundation in 2002. “Our planned giving officer provided a lot of information and laid it out in a way that made it easy to understand,” Betty shares. “The calculations were easy, and we liked that the models showed us the exact benefits we would receive from the charitable gift annuity. It’s very simple—we just had to write a check!”

“We learned that if we made a donation with a charitable gift annuity, we could get a tax benefit and income from our gift for the rest of our lives. It made so much sense to us for the tax advantages, as well as to support graduate mechanical engineering and education students, that we ended up creating five charitable gift annuities over thirteen years.” Betty says.

Charitable gift annuities are appealing to many for their immediate benefits. Donors have a chance to make an impact on their community by donating to a charity, while receiving immediate tax advantages. In addition, donors receive a guaranteed income stream for life, and the return is generally much higher than interest rates on CDs or bonds. Therefore, the actual cost of a gift is significantly less, dependent on each individual’s tax situation.

“I don’t see any disadvantage to creating a charitable gift annuity,” Betty says. “Even if we had passed away before we were able to receive many of the annuity payments, that’s okay, because the main thing was for the Foundation to receive the money they need to continue their good work in helping students for the future.”


A charitable gift annuity is a simple way to support the future of the University of Maine and to enhance your financial security at the same time. The University of Maine Foundation is not able to offer gift annuities in all states because of registration requirements, but in most states:

Here’s how it commonly works:

  • You make a gift of cash and/or appreciated stock to the University of Maine Foundation to fund a charitable gift annuity for the benefit of the University of Maine.
  • Fixed payments will then be made to you for life and, if desired, for the life of a loved one such as a spouse, partner or sibling.
  • The amount of the fixed payments will depend on the annuity rate for the age of the person(s) who will receive the payments.
  • The gift portion of the annuity will become endowed at the University of Maine Foundation only after the annuity ends with the distributions used for the purpose you choose.


  • If you itemize deductions on your federal income tax return, you can claim an immediate charitable tax deduction for a portion of your gift.
  • You will receive fixed payments for life, a portion of which are nontaxable for a period of time.
  • You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have made a meaningful gift to support the University of Maine in perpetuity.

Contact us for more information and if you would like to know if the Foundation could offer a gift annuity in your state.



None of the information on this website should be considered legal or financial advice. We encourage you to consult with your own legal counsel or financial/tax advisor before deciding whether or not to proceed with a gift or change to your estate plan.