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

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.