UMM recognizes dedicated staff, key initiatives as fall semester begins

UMM employees, left to right: Stuart Swain, Carlene Harmon, Bernie Vinzani, Jeanne Vose, Lois-Ann Kuntz, Meghan Duff

Machias, Maine — The University of Maine at Machias kicked off the academic year by celebrating longtime employees at a welcome breakfast Sept. 6.

UMM’s leadership team attended, as did leadership from the University of Maine System and the University of Maine, including President Susan Hunter.

More than fifty UMM faculty and staff members were present to honor each other, the beginning of the partnership with UMaine, and significant UMM achievements and initiatives.

UMM Head of Campus Kay Kimball described the university community as a group of people here by choice.

“Each of our employees is personally committed to the core mission of public higher education. We are all fortunate to work at a place where each person can make a difference,” she said.

Eleven employees were lauded for their dedication to students and to UMM.

Bernard Vinzani, professor of art and book arts, and Stuart Swain, associate professor of mathematics, were recognized for their 30 years of service.

Jeanne Vose, library assistant, was recognized for her 25 years, and Marcus LiBrizzi, professor of English, was acknowledged for his 20 years at UMM.

Carlene Harmon, administrative specialist; Lois-Ann Kuntz, professor of psychology; and Bill Weaver, academic records specialist, were celebrated for 15 years of service.

Jeffrey Cummings, security guard; Meghan Duff, associate professor of psychology; and Nichole Wood, facilities maintenance worker, were commended for their 10 years at UMM. And Eric Jones, assistant professor of plant biology, was cited for his five years of service.

In her remarks, President Hunter highlighted several key UMM initiatives.

She pointed to the 90 percent retention rate of Family Futures Downeast, a two-generation program that combines post-secondary education and workforce development with high-quality early education. FFD is one of 10 federal demonstration sites across the country, and the only one in New England.

Hunter also expressed her support and enthusiasm for the Machias Bay Initiative, a research project focused on collecting data relating to ocean acidification, as well as recent Program Innovation grants supporting development of new creative writing and composition curricula at UMM.

“Those grants would not have been possible without a team effort,” said President Hunter.

James Settele, chief of staff; Claire Strickland, chief business officer; and Joseph Lee, vice president of enrollment management, also attended from UMaine. They were joined by University of Maine System Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Ryan Low and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Robert Neely.