Cort family creates legacy for University of Maine students

Cort family creates legacy for University of Maine students

R-L: Rob Cort, Valerie Peer-Cort, Carol Cort, Brad Cort

The Cort family’s contribution to the University of Maine starts with a deep connection to the university itself. While a member of the Class of 1980, Rob became a well-known member of the community, serving as the President of Aroostook Hall and as a resident assistant. When he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in business, Rob joined Maine Energy, the family fuel and propane business. Rob has held many positions at the company, and is now the president of Maine Energy, Inc. He is the third generation owner of this family-run business.

In 1991, Valerie Peer-Cort graduated from the University of Maine. She went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in communication disorders in 1995, also from UMaine. Since then, Valerie has been serving the youth of the state of Maine as a Speech Language Pathologist in public schools, mostly located in the Downeast region of the state. Valerie credits the University of Maine with excellent preparation for a wide range of challenges faced as a Speech Language Pathologist.

Because of their love of their alma mater, Valerie and Rob started the Valerie E. Peer-Cort and Robert E. Cort Scholarship in 2018 to give aid to students in business administration and communication sciences & disorders. They are happy to be able to support current students on an ongoing basis and to ensure that more Black Bears will be able to pursue their diverse courses of study.

Brad and Carol, both 1983 UMaine chemical engineering graduates began their careers with Champion International at the Technology Center in Hamilton, Ohio and then joined CE Bauer in Springfield Ohio. Through a number of mergers and acquisitions, the company eventually became Andritz, Inc.

Carol left the pulp and paper industry after 10 years, earned her master’s degree in education, and is now teaching math and science at the high school level. Brad has held various roles at Andritz including process engineering manager, technical director and is presently director of NA sales for the paper, fiber and recycling division. Both Carol and Brad have had the opportunity to publish and present many technical papers, and Brad has been granted several U.S. patents.

When establishing the Cort/Ludwig Scholarship, Brad and Carol honored their fathers, Robert Cort and Stephen Ludwig, for their influence and encouragement. “Both of us really appreciated our UMPPF scholarships while at UMaine and wanted to provide that same opportunity to other students,” said Brad and Carol.

The dedication this family has to the University of Maine is shown with the creation of these two scholarships, which will benefit UMaine students for many years. While there are many ways to give to the University of Maine, scholarship endowments like these ensure continued support in perpetuity, and that kind of giving is invaluable to the UMaine community.

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Foundation honors donors with reception

Jeff Mills ’82, UMaine Foundation President/CEO, Annemarie Albiston & Bruce Albiston ’72

The Speech Therapy Telepractice Program at the University of Maine has provided support and experience for students who study communications sciences & disorders. Led by Dr. Judy Walker, the Telepractice Program offers students opportunities for hands-on learning with clients in the Orono and greater Bangor areas.

In August 2017, the Telepractice Program was awarded a generous donation by Bruce and Annemarie Albiston. Bruce, a member of the UMaine Class of 1972, and Annemarie reside in Carrabassett Valley and are co-founders of the Aphasia Center of Maine. Their annual aphasia retreat, the Andre R. Hemond Aphasia Retreat Weekend, is held at Oceanwood in Ocean Park, Me. The retreat is named for Annemarie’s late father, Andre, who was diagnosed with aphasia due to complications from a stroke.

The Aphasia Center of Maine’s mission is to enhance the lives of persons living with Aphasia, and to help them grow. The goal is to provide recreational, educational and emotional support to those affected by Aphasia and their families.

Their most recent gift to Dr. Judy Walker’s program will aid in yet another remarkable expansion of the Telepractice Program, over the next three years. In order to show the Albiston’s what a positive effect their generosity has, the University of Maine Foundation and Dr. Walker invited them to campus on December 1, 2017 for an intimate reception for those who have been positively affected by their most recent gift. Dr. Jeffery Mills ’82, President/CEO of the UMaine Foundation emceed the event.

Fred Servello, Dean of the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry & Agriculture attended the event and noted that private support like the Albiston’s gift provides incalculable effects on students and the surrounding speech therapy community.

Sarah Holbrook, The Making of a Neuroscientist

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Sarah Holbrook moved to Fort Fairfield, Maine as a young girl with her mother and siblings, and immediately began to feel welcomed and supported in their new community. Soon, volunteerism and community connections served to bolster her place as a valuable and influential member of the town. Sarah credits much of her support to the people of Fort Fairfield, whom she served in outlets such as the local soup kitchen. “Someone else who also volunteered for the food pantry bought me my first graphing calculator for a calculus class, and I still have that with me,” Sarah said, sitting in her lab in Little Hall, working over spring break.

“I’d just love to thank everyone for helping me out so much. I hope to continue making you proud in grad school and in my further studies. I will give back in any way I can.”

— Sarah Holbrook, Class of 2017

As a first-generation college student, Sarah gained most of her knowledge and context for college readiness from the Upward Bound program at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. “Upward Bound [at UMPI] really prepared me a lot for college — meeting motivated, like-minded individuals and preparing for college life,” said Sarah. The Fort Fairfield Class of 2013 consisted of 30 graduates, and the 300-person, BIO 100 class during Sarah’s freshman year proved to be a bit of a shock. Now, Sarah says the friendships she made here will continue throughout the rest of her academic career and lifetime.

Along with the support she received from programs like Upward Bound, Sarah credits scholarship support from Foundation-held scholarships as a key factor in her success at the University of Maine. Since her freshman year, Sarah’s scholarship support has come from funds that help students like her flourish in their programs at the university.

Sarah was awarded the Smith & Charlene McIntire Scholarship, and the Edward and Lea Anne Cote Scholarship. The majority of the recipients of these scholarship funds are natives of the County, as per the wishes of the donors, allowing them to give back to one of their own. Sarah has been studying the effects of ethanol alcohol on the brains of mice. Her research focuses on the way mice respond to withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is introduced, and subsequently taken away. The ways that alcohol affects circadian rhythms and anxiety symptoms are also facets of her findings.

Now, as she approaches graduation, Sarah is looking forward to further education. “I was just accepted into the biology master’s program here [at UMaine],” said Sarah. Sarah has accepted her spot in the UMaine Master’s program, and she will continue to study neuroscience. “We could go on studying the brain for centuries and still not know exactly how everything works. It’s such a mystery,” Sarah said, “Really, I just love learning, and the more we can learn about how we think about what we think, and understand how we understand through neuroscience, that will benefit everyone.” Sarah’s experiences have been influential on her little sister, a UMaine first-year student who is taking advantage of the path that her sibling has forged.

Emera Maine Honors UMaine Professor Dick Hill through Scholarship Fund

Emera Maine Prof. Richard C. Hill Scholarhip check

L-R: Dana N. Humphrey, P.E., Ph.D., College of Engineering, Dean, Jeffery N. Mills, Ph.D., University of Maine Foundation, President/CEO, Alan Richardson, Emera Maine, President/COO, Susan J. Hunter, Ph.D., University of Maine, President

As part of the Maine Day of Giving on May 3, 2017, Emera Maine, in collaboration with the University of Maine Foundation, announced its creation of the Emera Maine Professor Richard C. Hill Scholarship Fund. Alan Richardson, President and COO, Emera Maine, spoke fondly of his memories in meeting and working with Dick Hill, and of the impact he hopes Emera’s gift will positively impart on the University of Maine. “Professor Hill’s dedication and leadership were integral to the fabric of the energy community in Maine,” said Richardson, “He made a lasting impression on many throughout the industry. We are honored to continue to support and inspire those curious engineering minds that are yet to follow.”

Prof. Richard C. Hill was a member of the engineering community at the University of Maine from 1946 until his retirement in 1992. During his distinguished career, Dick served as Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Dean of the College of Technology, and Director of the Department of Industrial Cooperation.

“Prof. Dick Hill influenced generations of UMaine Engineers, and helped broadly inform Maine citizens on energy issues,” said Dr. Jeff Mills, President, University of Maine Foundation, “We couldn’t be more pleased that Alan Richardson wished to establish the Emera Maine Prof. Dick Hill Scholarship at the University of Maine Foundation, to encourage students to apply their talent to power our state and country.”

Emera Maine has pledged $110,000 to provide two scholarships annually and endow them in perpetuity. The awards will be made to engineering students who exhibit the innovative spirit and natural leadership qualities embodied by Professor Hill. In the spirit of the Maine Day of Giving, additional gifts in Dick’s honor may be made online, our.umaine.edu/hill.

New Scholarship Celebrates the Power of Stories

Kristin Langellier and Eric Peterson photo

Professors Emeriti Kristin M. Langellier and Eric E. Peterson share many stories through the unique intersection of their personal and professional lives. Married since 1979, both taught communication courses at the University of Maine from 1980 until their retirement in 2016. Langellier’s scholarship and teaching encompassed performance studies and narrative communication; Peterson focused on media consumption, critical and cultural communication studies, and qualitative research methods.

Interdisciplinary awareness marks both careers. Langellier’s career includes contributions to Women’s and Gender Studies, Franco American Studies, and the interdisciplinary, community-based collaborative Somali Narrative Project. Peterson’s scholarship draws upon traditions in the human sciences to examine communication phenomena that range from popular culture and identity politics to pedagogy and classroom communication.

Both Peterson and Langellier have strong memories of their early days at UMaine. Kristin notes, “We had very good support from our department. I have a distinct memory of being mentored.” She is quick to recognize the late Dwayne VanRheenen, who served as department chair during their formative years in Orono. Describing their mentor’s emphasis on community rather than individualism within academe they both note, “Dwayne always came from the ‘we’ rather than the ‘I’ and emphasized what each of us could contribute to our department.”

Given the breadth of their interests, it is no surprise that both share a deep interest in storytelling, as demonstrated in the book they co-authored in 2004, “Storytelling in Daily Life.” Langellier is quick to point out that stories have long had an important role in her life, dating back to her childhood as one of ten siblings. “To listen to a story is a gift; to tell a story is a gift,” Langellier said. “It makes people present to each other.”

In their retirement, the couple enjoys traveling to Brunswick every Friday to spend time with their grandson, Jack. Not surprisingly, they are working on an album of photographs and stories for him.

Philanthropy is another common theme in their lives. Peterson and Langellier have supported Women’s Basketball, the Honors College, the Schonberger Peace and Social Justice Lecture, and the Orono Bog Boardwalk. Peterson explains, “The university has been our center and our community. Most of the funds we support are an extension of our teaching and research.” Women’s basketball, he notes, is naturally of interest to two Midwesterners.

As is often the case, colleagues, friends, and former students have also contributed to the Kristin M. Langellier and Eric E. Peterson Scholarship Fund that will benefit junior and senior Communication majors with a GPA of at least 3.0 and demonstrated financial need. One of the donors is Zornitsa Dimova Keremidchieva ’99G, ’01G, who has two master’s degrees from the University of Maine: one in English with a concentration in Composition, Rhetoric, and Pedagogy and a second one in Communication Studies. Originally from Bulgaria, Keremidchieva describes Peterson and Langellier as “among the most careful and thoughtful scholars I have ever worked with,” who taught her an “ethos of caring” while providing her with a map of the field and a compass that continue to serve her every day. Keremidchieva will soon begin a tenure-track position at the University of Minnesota, where she looks forward to “paying it forward” by mentoring her own students. Wistful about her formative experience at UMaine, she is quick to add, “I will never be able to give back enough. My debt (to faculty members like Langellier and Peterson) is bigger than can ever be repaid.”

Photo: Kristin M. Langellier and Eric E. Peterson c. 1991

 

Make a gift to the Kristin M. Langellier and Eric E. Peterson Scholarship Fund

Honoring Bob Cobb, former dean of the College of Education and Human Development

Bob-Cobb-celebration

Well before he became the longest serving dean of University of Maine’s College of Education and Human Development, Bob Cobb grew up on a dairy farm in Winthrop, Maine, where his parents instilled in him a desire to do well in school and play sports.

“I always wanted to be a teacher and a coach,” says Cobb, who retired from UMaine in 2007 after 38 years with the university, 30 of them as dean.

“Every spring, we would covert one of the pastures at the dairy farm into a baseball field,” he recalls. “And hard work and education were always the watchwords.”

On Friday April 7, the College of Education and Human Development will celebrate Cobb’s nearly 40 years of service to the university. The event will also be the formal launch of the recently established Robert “Bob” A. Cobb Scholarship Fund, which will provide financial aid to undergraduate students in need.

Read the full story here.