So what exactly is the role of University Advancement and External Affairs? The answer is fairly simple, yet complex. The traditional answer is that we serve to “advance” the institution and build lasting relationships by inspiring loyalty and support for UMPI with alumni, friends and donors who care as much about UMPI as we do. Serving as a catalyst for transformation, I work closely with the president and university leadership to receive the support—both financially and through advocacy— of alumni, friends and organizations to support the university’s overall mission. Through the cultivation and establishment of new relationships, and the continuance of ongoing relationships, University Advancement promotes and encourages the continual growth of the university through successful friend-raising, fundraising and alumni activities that impact instructional, research and public service programs. At UMPI, University Advancement and External Affairs oversees five functions: Development, External Affairs, Sponsored Research/Projects, Alumni Relations and Annual Giving.
Development is about fundraising and friend-raising, as it fosters connections with individuals– students, faculty and staff alike –whose financial support fuels all of our efforts to make the university and the world in which we live and work better. This process requires us to build genuine, trust-based relationships in order to receive donations from individuals and businesses. These donations are then used as requested by the donor to support academic and major building projects.
Did you receive a UMPI scholarship this year? If so, it’s quite likely that your scholarship was paid through the university’s foundation. The Foundation of the University at Presque Isle was founded in 1972, has a board led by more than 20 community members and has total assets of more than $6 million. Through development and philanthropy, the university’s Foundation provides scholarship support to UMPI students every year—this year totaling more than $150,000! Be sure to complete the scholarship application in December/January for the next school year.
Have you ever noticed the names on the buildings across campus? These individuals and/or their families and friends made major contributions to UMPI. For example, Park Hall was named for the Rev. George M. Park, who was the leading spirit for bringing the Aroostook Normal School (now known as UMPI) to Presque Isle in 1903. Park Hall was dedicated in 1969 on the site of the Park homestead, where five of the six Park youngsters grew up. This land was donated to the university by the Park family. The Rev. Park’s grandson, Laurence Park, is an active and frequent visitor to our campus. He is quite the UMPI historian and loves to share his stories. The Park Scholarship is provided by the Park family to numerous UMPI students every year.
On Sept. 27, we will dedicate the Zillman Family Greenhouse, which will support our Agricultural Sciences and Agribusiness and Environmental Sciences programs. The greenhouse will be used in formal courses, professional development, area grower demonstrations and undergraduate and faculty research to support a variety of local agriculture activities. The facility will include two research labs, a plant and soil classroom and a faculty office. Former UMPI President Don and Linda Zillman provided the leading gift to the greenhouse. We are very excited to have received donations and grants from many other sources as well for this project, including the Maine Potato Board, The County Federal Credit Union, Farm Credit East, the Maine Community Foundation, McCain Foods, Key Bank, Katahdin Trust Company, University Credit Union and a number of other companies and individuals. Join us Sept. 27 as we celebrate the dedication of the newest building on campus that will support our Ag economy in The County and beyond.
Sponsored Research and Projects
Through externally funded grants from state and federal agencies as well as foundations, UMPI is able to provide opportunities for faculty to engage in research and scholarly work and offer hands-on research and other experiential learning opportunities to our students. You should be sure to check out the undergraduate research program presented each fall by the science faculty to learn about the many exciting research projects our faculty are conducting, from earwigs and snails to birds and potatoes.
If you participated in the Upward Bound or Talent Search programs while in high school, you were a part of a federally funded grant project. UMPI is fortunate to lead both of these programs that provide college access services to high school students so that they can achieve their goals of attending college and earning a degree. We also have a Student Support Services program that provides tutoring and counseling support for our college students. The services for each of these programs is paid for through federal grants. UMPI submits applications for these funds through a competitive process. If you were a member of UB or TS when in high school, you should definitely connect with our Student Support Services office in the CIL.
No matter what your program of study, hometown or year in college, I bet if you thought about it for a few minutes, it wouldn’t take you long to realize that the many activities connected with University Advancement and External Relations have a direct impact on your college experience…and we look forward to connecting with you as a student as well as when you graduate and become an alum! Stop by the President’s Office to say hello or learn more about careers in donor relations, grantsmanship and philanthropy.