Gentile Hall’s Wellness Programs!

Welcome back to campus everyone.  I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing summer vacation.  We are very excited for the 2019-2020 school year to get started!  We have so much to offer here at Gentile Hall, so come stop by and take advantage of this beautiful facility.

We have an elevated indoor track, basketball courts, a 25 yard swimming pool, a 37-foot rock climbing wall and bouldering wall and a wonderful fitness center equipped with strength machines, free weights and cardio equipment.  If you need help with anything, I will be more than happy to show you how to use the equipment.

I will be hosting a variety of events during my Wellness Week from Sept. 23-26. All events and fitness classes will be free to all.  Sept. 23 I will kick the week off with coffee, treats and orientations to all the fitness equipment from 8:30-10:30 a.m.  Then I will have Fusion training from 12-12:45 p.m. in Gentile Hall.  The last event that day will be Fit Camp from 5-5:45 p.m.

Sept. 24, Nancy Roble from Cary Medical Center will be doing blood pressure screenings from 9-10:30 a.m. in Gentile Hall.  So if employees need some insurance incentives, this would be a good event to come to.  Then I will have Circuit Training from 12-12:45 p.m.

Sept. 25, I will have coffee, treats, healthy recipes and protein supplements from Bike Board and Ski.  Stop by and check out all they have to offer.  Then the last event that day will be Fit Camp from 5-5:45 p.m.

Sept. 26, I will finish off my Wellness Week with Fusion training from 12-12:45 p.m. in Gentile Hall.

I offer a variety of fitness classes to accommodate different levels of fitness that are free to all students.  Fit Camp is on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 5-5:45 p.m. This is a high-intensity boot-camp-style class.  Total Body Circuit Training is on Tuesdays from 12-12:45 p.m.  In this class I focus on core training and strength training for the lower body and upper body.  Fusion training is a combination of yoga, pilates and barre.  This class is from 12-12:45 p.m. in the Campus Center room 112 on Mondays and Thursdays.

We have a variety of intramural sports that will keep everyone busy.  Last year Jonathon Bowman did futsol, pickle ball, water polo and much more.  Check our website for details at or email Jonathon Bowman at

Faculty, staff, students and community members, do not forget that Gentile Hall has canoe and tent rentals through the Outing Club.  If students are interested in being a part of the Outing Club, stop by our front desk for more information.

Students, make sure you get your student I.D. validated at the business office.  For all other questions, concerns and hours of operation, you can contact Keli Marston at 768-1202 or email at  Or check out our website at

Just a little food for thought: let’s not forget about our wonderful Farmer’s Market in the area.  This is the best time of year to get fresh, home-grown vegetables in the county!  They also have a variety of soaps, lotions, crafts, baked goods, eggs and much more to choose from.

The Farmers Market is on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Riverside Pavilion.  The great news is that it’s within walking distance for our students, faculty and staff.


Welcome Back to the Way it Should Be!

UMPI’s very own President, Ray Rice.

When I was a kid—which was, admittedly, a while ago now—I would always start feeling an anxiety over the end of summer and its carefree, endless afternoons and bike rides and epic AD&D adventures with friends (anyone get that reference?) just before Labor Day.  In fact, somewhat perversely, I would hope for a rainy Labor Day Monday just so I could be stuck inside and watch the Jerry Lewis Telethon for hours on end precisely because it made that final unofficial day of summer last all the longer.  (Thankfully, telethons, like typewriters and rotary phones and Atari gaming consoles, have passed into legend.)

At UMPI, I get anxious for Labor Day now because it usually means that classes (finally) start again for the fall semester.  That’s a different kind of anxiety, I realize, but an equally important one.  And that’s because, although a lot of really important things happen at UMPI over the summer months (and summer is a truly miraculous time of year in the County), Presque Isle just isn’t the same without you all.

For certain, this was a crazy-busy summer here.  It included soccer camps, Upward Bound kids, the Zillman Family Greenhouse under construction (on time!), a whole lot of gardening (did we ever count all the hours it took for William and everyone else to keep the Centennial Garden weeded?), laying down some new asphalt the last couple weeks of August just for fun and endless hours of accreditation paperwork.

But UMPI certainly isn’t a college—with a fully functioning Owl’s Nest and Starbuck’s coffee every morning!—without its students.

And this is a truly great fall.  We’re welcoming more new students to campus than we have in years.  We have a more diverse group of new students than ever, with over 28 percent coming from out of state or other countries (including western Massachusetts, hurrah!).  We have more nursing students coming into our shared BSN with UMFK, new Accountant majors, new Ag Science majors and new Cybersecurity students—and those are just our “new” programs.  We have the biggest group of Elementary Education majors in years, one of our largest group of PTA majors, and large cohorts of Social Work, Psychology, Biology and, of course, Business majors.  And that doesn’t even count our YourPace students in Business Administration, with new degree-completion programs coming this year in Criminal Justice, Professional Communication, Political Science and History, Psychology and Education.  You literally come from around the world and are located around the world.

Nor should I neglect to thank our new scholar-athletes in Cross County, Volleyball, Soccer, Basketball, Golf, Track and Field and Baseball and Softball.  Many of of these sports have some of the biggest rosters we’ve seen in years (e.g., Women’s Soccer, which I hear is making Coach Marston work hard to keep up with them!).

We adopted our slogan “The Way it Should Be” just over two years ago both because we believed it’s what UMPI promises to deliver but also as a challenge to ourselves to keep meeting that promise—and making even better ones.  That’s why we ensure *all* can finish their bachelor degrees in four years or less and that you know, from your first day, not just what classes your need to take but when they’re offered.

We try to give as many qualified Mainers as we can zero tuition and fees as part of our promise to our State to provide an absolutely affordable outstanding education to our citizens.  At the same time, we provide as many academic scholarships to our out-of-state students as we possibly can and try to meet 100 percent of your financial needs.  This is all while improving our programs and getting better national recognition each and every year for those programs: #14 best of all public colleges in our category in the East according to US News and World Report; top 50 (#26) of all Liberal Arts colleges in the entire country according to Washington Monthly; and one of the 50 best colleges in all of the East (no matter its size) in their “Bang for the Buck” Category—which compares the money you are likely to earn after graduation with the money you pay to go here (Harvard is in that top 50, just by way of comparison!).  And that’s all while making sure that our graduates will owe less money upon graduation than any other college in Maine or New England (according to

As I said earlier, we constantly try to do better.  That’s why I’m promising you now that we’ll ensure the classes we schedule are the ones you’ll take—and that we won’t cancel any of our classes less than 30 days from the start of a semester (barring exceptional situations, of course).  And if you do have a class cancelled, we’ll ensure you’ll be enrolled in one that counts for equivalent program credit.  I know, both as a teacher and as a student—and as a parent for that matter (!)—how frustrating such last minute changes to a schedule can be.  So that’s one more way we’re making college The Way it Should Be!

Welcome to our new students—welcome back to our veteran UMPI Owls.  And, from all of us here at UMPI, thank you for making Presque Isle your home!

P.S.  If you ever have any thoughts or suggestions, ideas or complaints, you’re always welcome to stop by and see me at my office in Preble Hall or email me at

Welcome to Your Future. It Starts Here.

The Admssions Team. Admissions Counselors Jessica Cameron, Jennifer Buzza and Jon Ouellette. Director of Admissions Sue White. Not pictured–Administrative Specialist Nancy Nichols.

For many of you, the Admissions Office is the first place you visited when you stepped foot on the University of Maine at Presque Isle campus for the first time. Whether you came for a tour or were merely in search of a friendly face to point you in the right direction, Admissions has functioned as the touching off point for virtually every student taking classes this semester.

For even more of you, Admissions served as your first point of contact even before you found yourself enrolling in classes or moving into your dorm room. It might have been a phone call or a (slightly) annoying email. It might have been something you were sent in the mail encouraging you to apply or providing you information about a certain academic program or upcoming open house event. It might have been an Admissions Counselor visiting your school or chatting with you at a college fair.

Regardless of the manner in which you found yourself here–whether you’re a first-year student nervous about embarking on your college journey or an upperclassman looking anxiously to life after graduation–we are so very excited, grateful and honored to have helped each and every one of you through the admission process and to welcome all UMPI Owls onto campus for the 2019-2020 Academic Year.

Classes are now underway, Convocation has come and gone with a bang and soon enough, you’ll look up at the calendar and wonder where the Fall 2019 semester went. Before that happens, though, Admissions has a request to make of you: What are your stories?

It’s no secret that recruiting in the post-secondary world, regardless of your location, is easier said than done. So what made you choose UMPI? If you are a returning student, what made you stay? When it comes down to it, recruiting–and by extension, ensuring the future of this university–is a team effort.  And there is no one more qualified to recruit than the people who live and breathe UMPI every single day.

So stop on into Admissions to say hi, grab a snack and have a chat. We would love to hear how your classes are going and how you’re settling in this fall.  And we’ll always be here to point you in the right direction.

From all of us here in Admissions, welcome back to The Way It Should Be.

Hello From the College of Arts and Sciences!

Greenhouse groundbreaking in April of 2019.
Another photo from the greenhouse groundbreaking.

As dean of the college, I help to oversee academic programs to ensure student success.  The college offers a number of majors and minors and also serves the General Education program.  I encourage first-year students to explore a wide variety of courses in your first year, even if you think are you are certain of your major.  Below is a brief summary of each academic program.

Students enrolled in an Art degree choose between four different areas of emphasis: Painting/Drawing, Photography/Digital Media, Ceramics/Sculpture and Mixed Media. Most art courses are studio-based, giving students hands-on time to work on their projects both in and outside of class time. There are work study opportunities in the studio and assisting in the gallery. Many of our graduates go on to further their study in graduate school.  We also hired a new assistant professor of graphic design–please welcome Richard Smith to the program!

The English program at UMPI offers students three concentrations. The Writing Concentration allows students to take workshop courses in fiction, poetry, screenwriting and creative nonfiction, along with one or two professional communication courses. Students in the Professional Communication and Journalism Concentration focus on courses in professional communication, media and journalism. And students in the Generalist Concentration can select a variety of upper level literature courses, or combine literature courses with creative writing and/or professional communication. All concentrations offer opportunities for internships or other forms of experiential learning. Whichever option students choose, a degree in English equips students with the top skills sought by employers: excellent written and oral communication skills, creative and analytical thinking skills, research skills, cultural knowledge, planning and organizational skills, and interpersonal skills.

The History and Political Science program offers students the choice of a concentration in either History or Political Science and the option of enrolling in live and/or online courses, or getting their degree entirely online.  Additionally, students may pursue a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree with a concentration in History or major in Elementary or Secondary Education Social Studies.  In courses in U.S., European, non-Western and pre-modern History, students will be able to role-play and work with original documents and artifacts both in and out of the classroom.  Many of our graduates have become teachers in local schools, and others have gone on to graduate school, law school and careers in government in Augusta.  A degree in History and Political Science also prepares students for careers in libraries, archives and museums.

Mathematics majors can major in pure mathematics or in secondary education with a mathematics emphasis. With courses such as calculus, differential equations and real analysis, you will be prepared to turn just about anything into a mathematical equation or proof.  Graduates can become teachers, work in business, become an actuary or go on to graduate school.

The Psychology program is one of the college’s most popular majors and offers three concentrations:  General, Biopsychology and Business Psychology.  Students can choose from a wide range of courses to customize their education.  Students have the choice of completing either advanced research with a faculty advisor or a practicum in their senior year to apply their classroom knowledge.  Careers in psychology are also broad, including clinical psychology, social work, human resources management, marketing and academic or corporate research.

The Biology program offers concentrations in Pre-medical, Psychological or Ecological Biology, as well as a self-designed concentration.  Secondary Education students may also choose Biology as their concentration.  With four active biologists there is plenty of opportunity for students to conduct biological research ranging from a biomedical focus (e.g., antibiotic resistant bacteria) to an ecological focus (e.g., researching the plant communities on a nearby rock glacier).  The biomedical club is one of the most active clubs on campus in hosting events and speakers and taking trips.  Our graduates have gone on to medical, dental, veterinary, optometry and other graduate schools.  Others work locally or regionally doing lab research or in other applied biology careers.

The MLT Program of Maine is a collaborative effort between the University of Maine at Presque Isle and the University of Maine at Augusta.  Medical Laboratory Technology is a two-year program leading to an Associate of Science in MLT.  The program is a 21-month program with three semesters in the classroom and the final semester is a clinical practicum at a hospital laboratory that is affiliated with the university.   The majority of MLTs are employed in hospital laboratories, with additional career opportunities in physicians’ offices, independent laboratories, reference laboratories and research laboratories.  Medical laboratory technologists perform routine tests in the medical laboratory for use in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.  MLTs perform tests in a variety of laboratory disciplines with the primary areas being Blood Bank, Chemistry, Hematology and Microbiology.

Students enrolled in the Environmental Science and Sustainability program can choose from two concentrations:  Environmental Science and Natural Resources or Sustainable Agriculture.  Students of all majors can also earn a minor or a certificate in Geographic Information Systems–the latter is in demand in many career fields.  Hands-on work in the lab, in agricultural fields and in the woods and waters of northern Maine is something that all students get to experience.  There are also a number of positions working with faculty on research projects throughout the academic year and during summer and many of our graduates get local jobs in the environmental or agricultural sector.

After starting a new B.S. degree in Agricultural Science and Agribusiness last year, we welcomed a new faculty member, Jim Dwyer this year.  We continue to add new courses, we’ve bought a new tractor and other equipment, and our greenhouse will open on September 27.  There is more opportunity in agricultural careers than graduates currently–so it’s a great career path whether you’re interested in agricultural production, sales, service or technology.

Finally, for the second year in a row, we started a new major this year: a B.S. degree in Cybersecurity.  This is an exciting program, with significant growth in career opportunities now and in the near future.  We’ve already enrolled students in this program and welcomed our new faculty member, Dr. Fred Strickland.

Please contact me or one of the College faculty if you would like to learn more about our academic programs.  I can be reached at, by phone at 768-9652 or in my office on the third floor of South Hall, room 315.  The best advice I can give you is to get engaged on campus and get to know your faculty and the many helpful staff who work around campus.

Welcome— or Welcome Back— From the Writing Center!

Valentina and Jake in UMPI’s writing center.
Another shots of UMPI’s writing center, located in the CIL.

What kind of work do all college students do in their courses here at UMPI? Writing! Who needs feedback on their writing? We all do! The UMPI Writing Center can help.

The UMPI Writing Center offers one-on-one tutoring for writers at all levels of course work, for writing projects of all kinds: from first year composition essays to senior theses, from biology book reviews and criminal justice papers to graduate school application essays. Our friendly student tutors are trained to assist writers at all stages of the writing process, from brainstorming a topic through revising a completed paper.

Tutors offer a conversational approach in a confidential, relaxed, non-classroom setting. The Writing Center’s mission is to help writers develop skills and strategies that will help them not only with one paper, but with future writing.

Like subject area tutoring, the Writing Center is located in the Learning Commons, the first floor of the Center for Innovative Learning.  We open for business the second week of classes. Come by and check it out (we have candy), and meet writing tutors Noelle, Mannish and Stephenie.

Students can schedule a consultation by going to to register and make an appointment.  Or stop by and see one of the tutors for assistance. Online appointments are also available for students taking courses from a distance and unable to get to campus.

Students, staff and instructors seeking more information may contact the Writing Center Director, Dr. Deborah Hodgkins (768-9423 or

The Office of Career Readiness

What is your career path?

Whether you know exactly what job you want or aren’t sure what career is right for you or are somewhere in between, the Office of Career Readiness is here to help! Located conveniently in South Hall near your Professional Advising staff, our office will help you navigate the road to your future career.

Want real experiences?  Internships, Field Experiences, Practicums, Volunteer Opportunities and Resume Building Work Experiences offer the potential for valuable learning opportunities outside of the classroom setting. These experiences can serve as a bridge between the traditional academic setting and the professions that our students aspire to. It is our goal at the University of Maine at Presque Isle for every student to gain at least one of these valuable experiential career learning activities while they are a student with us. The Office of Career Readiness can help you in finding these opportunities.

Not knowing what career field interests you when you start your college career can be scary. Our Career Readiness program can help you identify your abilities and interests, explore career options and help you define your career goals so that you can select the right major for you.

Be watching for announcements about career readiness activities on campus over the next few weeks! We have some exciting activities planned for the semester.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or requests. Email or call 768-9589 or stop by South Hall 101.

Conferences and Special Programs

Welcome back students and staff!

The Conferences Department on campus is here and excited to help YOU plan meetings and events!

Our job is to help you have a smooth and successful event here on campus. We will help you arrange the room to suit your needs, order food for attendees, hook up projectors and laptops to show your work and be here to answer any questions along the way.

If you are involved in a school club, sport, class or any other organization and would like to have a meeting or event on campus, feel free to stop by and we’ll help make it happen!

We are conveniently located up in the Campus Center and we are always available to answer questions and solve problems!


If you have ever dreamed of being an event planner, then this is the perfect job for you! Along with gaining experience in an office setting, this job will teach you how to plan for an event and enable you to interact with the campus community.

We’re looking forward to seeing you on campus!

If you have any questions regarding the Conferences Department, please call Lydia Kieffer-Till at 207-768-9502.

The University Campus Store and Mailroom


UMPI’s campus center.

Welcome new and returning UMPI students and staff!

Our Campus Store is stocked with a variety of classic merchandise and trendy styles tailored to fit a wide selection of tastes! With NEW MERCHANDISE rolling in frequently and OLD FAVORITES always in stock, we have it all!


The Campus Store is open every weekday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the mail desk being open until 4:15 p.m.

Our Campus Mail Room takes care of any mail for all students and staff here at the University.  Students will always receive an EMAIL NOTIFICATION if a package has arrived for them, and should come pick up the package as soon as possible! When coming to pick up a package, staff asks that the students show their UMPI ID card to verify who they are and to make package retrieval easier.

If there are any questions regarding the Campus Store or Mailroom, please call Victoria Butterfield at 207-768-9500.

Human Resources Office–Preble Hall

Melissa, Nancy, Dori, and Zack.

Let us take a moment to introduce the UMPI Human Resources Team, consisting of Dorianna Pratt, Senior Human Resources Partner and Labor Relations Manager; Melissa DeMerchant, Human Resources Partner; Zachary Breton, Benefits Operations Specialist; and Nancy Jackson, Payroll Operations Specialist. Dori, Melissa, Zack and Nancy work with all UMPI staff, faculty and students to ensure UMPI is a delightful place to work and learn.  Through partnerships with all departments as well as other universities in the system, one major goal of the HR department is to recruit, train, develop and retain employees. Collaboratively, we work to enrich our employees to grow as professionals in order to offer a rewarding educational experience for students. The HR office welcomes all students, staff and faculty with open doors and will look for creative ways to collectively meet the University’s mission.

Your Human Resources Team is here to help! Pictured from left to right are: Melissa DeMerchant, HR Partner; Nancy Jackson, Payroll Operations Specialist; Dori Pratt, Senior HR Partner and Labor Relations Manager; Zack Breton, Benefits Operations Specialist. The HR Team is located in Preble Hall and strive to meet UMPI’s service promise, Excellence, Every Day!

Welcome From the Marketing and Communications Office!

The staff members of the Marketing and Communications Office send a warm welcome to all new and returning students at the University of Maine at Presque Isle and wish them best of luck as they begin or continue their college careers.

If you’ve ever looked at an UMPI publication, checked out UMPI’s website or social media or read or watched a news story about great things that are happening on campus, chances are you’ve come into contact with efforts done by someone from Marketing and Communications.  The office works to increase UMPI’s visibility in the media and through print and online publications, social media, advertising and graphic design products.

Rachel Rice is the director of marketing and communications.  She coordinates numerous media projects and efforts at UMPI and coordinates visits from local media.  She writes press releases that promote UMPI events and showcases stories of students, faculty, staff and alumni in the news and publishes UMPI’s monthly online newsletter, “The Image.”

Have you or your friends ever had their pictures taken at a campus event?  Did you later see those photos on UMPI’s social media pages?  Even if you haven’t, chances are you’ve seen Rowena McPherson walking around with a camera.  Rowena is coordinator of graphic design, social media and photography.  She designs the graphics and layout for numerous campus publications such as the Image newsletter, event fliers and brochures and the cultural events calendar.  Whenever you like or share an UMPI post on Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms, thank Rowena.  She regularly posts photos, stories and videos of UMPI students and faculty doing great things on our campus and in the community.

Next up is Eric Brissette, the webmaster for Marketing and Communications. You won’t see this UMPI owl flying around campus very often, but he takes his work just as seriously.  Eric is responsible for creating the design and layout of UMPI’s official website ( and publishing new content on all its pages.  He’s the person to whom faculty and staff turn when they want to improve the content on their academic or office page or create an entirely new page.  He continually works to ensure that UMPI’s website is easy to navigate and that anyone can find the information they’re looking for.

Last but not least is Gayla Shaw, the administrative specialist.  Gayla is the first person you’ll see when you come into the office and can answer any questions you have about the office. She is the support person for all of the Marketing and Communications programs. She also maintains the databases for all university publications and sends Dean’s List and Graduation notifications to news media.