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UMaine Today Magazine

First Impression from the President

Interim President Robert A. Kennedy
Interim President
Robert A. Kennedy

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We often talk about UMaine as a "21st-century university," meaning that we constantly work to position ourselves on the cutting edge of teaching, research and other activities. It is, of course, critical that we maintain that focus if we are to properly serve the people of Maine, in keeping with the basic and treasured tenets of our land-grant tradition.

One event this past fall caused me to think about the 21st century more literally. It so happens that I arrived at UMaine in the summer of 2000, as we crossed into the third millennium. In the four years since, we have seen remarkable progress with regard to UMaine's research infrastructure. Last Oct. 22, as I attended the grand opening for UMaine's Engineering and Science Research Building, I was struck by how far we have come in a short time. We are truly in the midst of a remarkable upgrade in our research infrastructure with recent updates to Aubert Hall, Hitchner Hall and the Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center, and construction of the new home of the Advanced Manufacturing Center on campus and a business incubator building at our aquaculture research center in Franklin.

We owe this progress in large part to the people of Maine, who have listened to our arguments about the role of university research in statewide economic development. Through elected representatives and statewide referenda, they have spoken clearly and told us that they believe that UMaine is a key to the future. We are becoming increasingly more competitive for research grants, for faculty members and for top students. This progress is largely due to UMaine's improving infrastructure.

The new Engineering and Science Research Building, which is connected to Barrows Hall, has literally paid immediate dividends. Professors Rosemary Smith, Scott Collins and David Kotecki have received a prestigious National Institutes of Health RO1 grant. If not for the availability of equipment in the new building, that $855,047 three-year grant would have gone somewhere else.

When I spoke at the Oct. 22 opening, I said that it was a "great day" for science and engineering in Maine. Certainly it was a watershed day for UMaine, but the importance of facilities like this one goes far beyond that. It is an important step as we work to live up to our responsibility as one of the primary forces that will determine Maine's future.

Robert A. Kennedy Signature

UMaine Today Magazine
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