Another UMaine Commencement is
upon us, bringing to a close an extremely eventful year at the
university. Levels of success in the classroom, in the laboratory, and
in the athletics arena have never been higher. Our friends have been
generous, and government officials have done a great deal to protect us
from the budget axe. Yet higher education across the country is in the
midst of an almost unparalleled crisis — and UMaine is no exception.
Everyone, from students to professors to administrators to trustees, is
engaged in a quest to find answers that will help us get through.
In March, the University of Maine System Board of Trustees announced a
new draft strategic plan. For the University of Maine, the draft
reaffirms our role as the state's leading public research university —
Maine's only land-grant university and the only one to hold the top
Carnegie classification of "doctoral research-extensive."
Everywhere I go, on and off campus, I hear about the vitality and
excitement that characterizes UMaine. It has made us the state's
university of choice and the university most engaged with the entire
state, helping it to move forward socially, economically, and
culturally. Priorities for higher education in Maine are part of our own
strategic plan, including investment in Fogler Library, the Honors
College, and graduate education.
Every legislator, governor, business leader, and citizen who has come to
Orono to see our teaching and learning vitality, and our vast research
enterprise, has come away with a deep appreciation for what we do here.
We know, however, that we cannot stand still and must set our sights
Every major university in America is currently facing challenges almost
unparalleled in history. Public disinvestment in higher education has
generated a crisis that will take all of our ingenuity to resolve. Old
approaches cannot be counted on to work any more; we must discover and
embrace new initiatives.
In Maine, a serious effort to rethink public higher education has been
taken by the System Board of Trustees. In these uncertain economic
times, the University of Maine System must play to its strengths, and
one of its foremost strengths is the University of Maine.
Peter S. Hoff
UMaine Today Magazine
Department of University Relations
5761 Howard A. Keyo Public Affairs Building
Phone: (207) 581-3744 | Fax: (207) 581-3776