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January / February 2004

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UMaine Today Magazine

First Impression from the President

President Peter S. Hoff
President Peter S. Hoff

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Maine is abuzz with talk about the potential of the creative economy, and for good reason. According to creative economy expert and Carnegie Mellon Professor of Economic Development Richard Florida, author of the best-selling book, The Rise of the Creative Class, "a place's economic prosperity now depends more on diversity, healthy arts and culture scenes, great universities, outdoor recreation and tolerance." At the University of Maine, we couldn't agree more.

UMaine is home to some of the most creative people in the state. We have long believed that arts and cultural activities are important community resources and ingredients in economic development. We have only to look at our own Maine Center for the Arts to find a performing arts program that contributes millions of dollars to the state's economy, provides a regional cultural focus, and serves as an attraction for new businesses and employees coming to the area.

A similar story is found in UMaine's Museum of Art, which recently moved to downtown Bangor and now serves as a cultural anchor in that city's growing creative economy. It has joined other educational, arts and cultural programs like the Maine Discovery Museum in helping revitalize a once bustling commercial district that has more recently struggled. The creative economy involves idea people software developers and artists, authors and architects, designers, archivists and entrepreneurs, to name a few. Their talents draw other idea people to our state. Their enterprises infuse life into underutilized downtown buildings and dollars into local economies.

In this issue of UMaine Today, you'll find stories about some of the university's newest contributions to the creative economy: a state-of-the-art research and development laboratory for digital filmmaking; a start-up company in aquaculture; a new Technology Innovation Center for student entrepreneurs; and some of the latest research involving MEMS technology. They all involve creative people capitalizing on the state's strengths, and pursuing initiatives with the potential to provide opportunities for our young people and to enhance our quality of life in Maine. They represent the kind of creativity needed to help Maine participate in the knowledge-based economy.

President Peter S. Hoff's Signature

Peter S. Hoff


UMaine Today Magazine
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The University of Maine
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