UMPI has always been proud of its faculty and staff. They have done great things on and off campus. Now UMPI has one more person to be proud of. Linda Schott was UMPI’s president from 2012 to 2016. She’s taking her career to a new level. In just a few years, she will begin her campaign for U.S. president.
Schott’s decision to run for president was an easy one. She does not like the direction that the country is going. Political tensions are higher than ever. Nobody in Washington, D.C., wants to get along. And she blames it all on the new president, Donald Trump. But Schott feels great about her future campaign. Her goal: win the primaries in 2019 and take on Trump.
“Oh, I think I can beat him. In fact, I know I will,” Schott said. “I’m looking forward to debating Trump and proving to everyone, including himself, that he is a very, very bad debater.”
Schott is the current president of Southern Oregon University. Recently, she held a press conference at the college. She announced her candidacy to an excited crowd. UMPI Interim President and Provost Ray Rice also attended the conference. Schott said that Rice will be her running mate.
“I almost didn’t choose Ray. Back at UMPI, he used to be such a drama queen sometimes,” Schott said. “But he’s always been passionate about political issues, especially in regards to education. His background as a Shakespearean scholar should help too, as you have to understand both comedy and tragedy to run this country.”
Rice thanked Schott for choosing him as her vice president. He plans to make educational issues his top priority. He shared some good news as well. If he and Schott win, the White House will give him his own reality show. The show will be “The Rice House.” It will follow Rice through the everyday challenges of being vice president.
“I’ll admit that becoming vice president and possibly president makes me quite terrified. I really hope I don’t screw up,” Rice said. “But Linda and I always were a good team. Maybe I’ll let her appear on ‘The Rice House’ sometimes.”
Right now Schott has no plan to quit her current job. But she feels that she can have more influence as U.S. president. After thinking it over for five minutes, she concluded “Why not?” Schott’s platform will be “pretty much everything that Trump hates.” This includes gender and racial equality and environmental rights. Schott also listed freedom of the press and immigration. She already has a comeback planned if Trump questions her qualifications.
“I think my experiences as a college president for two different universities make me more than qualified. Trump was never a politician, but that didn’t stop him,” Schott said. “I told Ray, ‘If we can handle students, especially the students in northern Maine, we can handle the entire country.’”
UMPI students will also benefit from Schott’s candidacy. Schott will hire many students to work at her Maine campaign office. If she wins, those same students will head to Washington. Rice also plans to hire UMPI students. He said that there won’t be conflicts of interest.
“I don’t see where that would be a problem. Besides, I think the past few months have proved that anyone can work in politics now,” Rice said. “To be honest, I’m mostly concerned about which actor they’ll hire to play me on ‘Saturday Night Live’.”
People at UMPI have praised Schott’s decision. Katharine Waldron is a political science student. She looks forward to possibly working for Schott. She has no doubt that Schott can become the next U.S. president.
“President Schott is an intelligent, thoughtful, confident leader. I know she’ll be the president that makes American stronger again,” Waldron said.
Debbie Roark, executive director of university advancement, shares much of the same feelings. At Schott’s press conference, she revealed great news for UMPI. Wieden Auditorium will be the location for one of the 2019 primary debates.
“I’ll also serve as the debate moderator,” Roark said. “So if Trump thinks that he can get away with talking over me or Linda, he’s in for a surprise.”
Schott has few worries about Trump’s sexism. Becoming the first female president is not the only reason for her campaign. But she has supported gender equality throughout her life. She hopes to inspire other women to run for political office. Schott even named her campaign slogan “Make America Nice Again.” She wants to create more equality for everyone.
“That’s definitely a goal of mine,” Schott said. “I was so ticked off and sad when Hillary lost. But at least now I have a chance to show women—and men—that women are capable of leading at the highest office.”
Schott knows that running for president will be hard. But she also knows that her time at UMPI prepared her well. She’s ready to take the advice she gives to students. Work hard and see where your wings will take you. If everything works out, Schott will become UMPI’s first former president to lead the country. She’ll strive to make sure everyone, including students, has a future to look forward to.