The University of Maine at Presque Isle had quite an extraordinary year in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the institution to close its doors and send its students home for the first time since World War II in 1943. Though this made the delivery of learning differ from regular practice, the UMPI community worked through the transition.
The fall of 2020 brought with it more than online classes, though, as three of the community’s beloved members died. The following articles are in remembrance of the late John Haley, adjunct professor and Director of University Experience; Patrick Baker, Head Athletic Trainer; and Allen Salo, Associate Professor of Psychology.
Allen Salo began working at the University of Maine at Presque Isle in 1997 as an untenured junior faculty member. But in time, Allen became the senior faculty member in psychology who oversaw the development of the department’s curriculum. This included adding concentrations within the psychology department as well as developing the research-based aspects of the program and a clinical side. Allen felt it was important for students to have both.
“He was critical for really growing the clinical side of the program,” President Ray Rice, Allen’s longtime friend and colleague, said. “And bringing people like Frank Thompson, who teaches a bunch of the clinical courses. He really developed that as well as developing the research side of psychology and really making it an independent program. Because when he got here, it was a part of behavioral sciences, it wasn’t its own degree. So, he really helped make it its own degree.”
Allen and Ray both started at UMPI the same year. “We came with what was the biggest group of faculty they had ever hired at once in years,” Ray said. “And this was 23 years ago. He and I started the exact same summer and had the exact same meetings and all that stuff, along with Michael Knopp. The three of us were the ones who stayed all this time. It was Allen, Mike and me. So, we got to know each other from that point in time because we did a lot of stuff together right off the bat.”
Ray remembers some of the earliest memories with Allen were at house of President Easton, UMPI’s former president. “He had a dinner, or I think it might have been an after dinner hors d’oeuvres thing for the new faculty members,” he said. “And I remember he (President Easton) was welcoming us to UMPI and we were getting to know each other. He and I both got involved with the union, so we went to a lot of meetings and statewide meetings. That’s how we really got to know each other.”
From there, Allen and Ray created a friendship that included some roof shingling on the weekends and dinners at Applebee’s when the colleagues traveled downstate for meetings. Further, senior faculty members invited the two to “choir practice.” Choir practice, as Ray explained, was code for dinner and drinks. The two found the cryptic code for socializing hilarious.
Outside of the psychology department, Allen was a part of several groups at UMPI. “He was willing to be on committees,” Jean Cashman, UMPI’s Associate Professor of Social Work, said. “And he was active in the faculty union, which is called AFUM. He was part of the faculty assembly leadership at different times in his career, and was on other committees, too. So, he was willing to step up and be part of the work that needed to be done on campus.”
Among some of the work Allen completed during his time at UMPI, Jean believes that obtaining a specific certification for the psychology program tops them all. “That’s the MHRT, because it’s not required for psychology,” she said. “And trying to get your program approved through the Muskie Institute.” The MHRT, which stands for Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician, is a certification required in the state of Maine (and many other states) for psychology students seeking work. “It’s beneficial for the students, but I mean you can still graduate with a psychology degree and not have the requirements for that,” Jean said. “I think accomplishing that for our campus, the students, was above and beyond.”
UMPI will continue to remember and miss Allen’s kindness and friendly smile. “Allen was always kind,” Jean said. “He didn’t have a negative word to say about anybody.”
Ray believes his favorite memory of Allen is looking back at his late friend’s wedding photos. “I wasn’t at his wedding because I was out of town,” he said. “But seeing the photos and how happy he was from his wedding: that’s quintessential Allen. And the big smile on his face. He always had one of the best smiles. And the moustache, he always had—he never shaved the moustache. It was pretty hilarious.”
Ray went on to say that he was most happy for Allen’s happiness in his marriage. That happiness permeated every aspect of Allen’s life, as he carried that joy with him throughout his remaining time at UMPI.
Patrick Baker first came to the University of Maine at Presque Isle as a nontraditional student studying health and wellness with the goal of getting a degree in Athletic Training. Barbara Blackstone, dean, College of Professional Programs, remembers what it was like to have Pat in class. “It was fun to have a student who had some knowledge already in the field of fitness and health. Just his natural way of helping people,” she said. “He instantly turned into a mentor to younger students, to his own classmates. He just had a way about him from the very beginning that put people at ease and helped people feel comfortable.” In 2008, Pat graduated from UMPI with a degree in athletic training.
By 2011, Pat had returned to UMPI to fill the position of Assistant Athletic Trainer. He quickly moved up to Head Athletic Trainer when the previous head left. “We instantly moved him up because he was ready to do that position,” Barb said. “He was very skilled at being an athletic trainer and learned the ins and outs of all the administrative roles you have when you’re the head athletic trainer.”
It was during his time serving in this position that he met his dear friend Dan Kane, UMPI’s Executive Director of Athletics and Recreation as well as men’s basketball coach. Dan was visiting UMPI for an interview in April of 2017. “During my on-campus visit, I met one-on-one with Pat,” Dan said. “With just 15 minutes of talking to him, we hit it off right away. What stuck out to me was his knowledge of athletic training and his passion for helping the student athletes and teams achieve success.”
It wasn’t long after his start at UMPI that Dan started to see how devoted to his athletes Pat was. “Athletic training is a tough job with long hours. You have to work long weekends and some holidays,” he said. “And depending on the time of year it can be a seven-day-a-week job. Pat was there every time for every practice ready to go. In my 14 years of being involved in college athletics, Pat has been the best athletic trainer I have been around. His ability to connect with student athletes was one of the many things that made him perfect for his profession.”
Barb shared similar thoughts. “He was always very concerned about the students’ success,” she said. “And in the athletic training program, often times the most important person in the program is the head athletic trainer, because that’s the mentor of your students. That’s the person that’s going to engage them in the day-to-day duties of an athletic trainer, how to learn things and how to do things. So, he was there as a mentor, but he also taught.”
Outside of UMPI, Pat was both a friend to many and father to his beloved Zoey. “His little girl was the light of his life,” Barb said. “They had a very special relationship.” It wasn’t unusual to see Zoey bopping around the AT room, which some student athletes called “Pat’s Spa,” while her Dad worked away.
“It was so fun to see her come in to visit,” Barb said. Pat would occasionally bring her to sporting events, too, introducing his daughter proudly to everyone he knew or was just meeting.
His athletes adored Zoey and could tell how delighted he was to be her father. “He loved her very much and would do anything for her,” Dan said. “He set a great example for our student athletes and others on how to be a great parent.”
Pat will be remembered by his laidback, humorous and caring nature. He will especially be remembered for his kind heart. “Pat was one of the kindest individuals you will come across,” Dan said. “He was willing to do anything for anyone at the drop of a hat and he was always there to pick you up in your darkest hour, often with a perfectly timed joke or movie quote.”
Pat will also be remembered as a legend. “In our last practice together, Pat hit a half-court shot at the end of practice,” Dan said. “It was the first time in four years that Pat had made it and his reaction was priceless, as he lifted his arms and gave a yell in triumph.”
Pat’s department at UMPI hopes to have a plaque placed outside of the AT room in remembrance of his vibrant soul.
John Haley was an Aroostook County native. John received his bachelor’s degree from the Aroostook State Teachers College, which was one of the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s former institutional names prior to joining the University of Maine system. He went on to earn his master’s degree from the University of Maine at Orono. John came back to family farm and worked in agriculture for decades. But his true passion was teaching.
John was a mentor and adjunct instructor at UMPI for 15 years. He taught English and first year seminar/university experience classes, where he influenced and inspired others. “He was the kind of professor who helped us outside of the classroom. He could tell if his students were having a bad day, and he would be the first to try and make everyone else feel better,” UMPI senior Marissa Valdivia Reagle said. “As my English professor, he helped us relate our schoolwork to our personal lives. He always made an effort to talk to us about our lives and how we were doing.”
Dr. Lowman, aka Dr. J, was one of John’s colleagues. “He had this great effect on many people,” she said. “Many people shared stories about how if you were talking to John in the hall, you knew that you’d have this very interrupted conversation because students would come along, and John would have to stop and give them a hug.”
Throughout his time at UMPI, he made a lasting impression by his kindness. Whether it was a quick Hello passing by in the hallway or checking in with his colleagues and students, John was a kind man. “Personally, John was always kind to me,” Dr. J said. “He was always helpful.”
Dr. J shared a story of a time John stopped by her office in Spring of 2020 searching for a tissue. “He was teaching in Folsom/Pullen and he stopped at my door and wanted to know if I had any tissues,” she said. “I said that I was down to literally my last tissue. I had one left in this box and I said, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry! I’ve only got one. I can split it with you’…. But I was happy to share.” Instead of taking her last tissue, John politely declined. Later that day, he returned with a surprise. “He had one of those like, your grandfather’s box of tissues,” she said. “Like, this great big box of 300 tissues and then all these little portable packs so that I could take them in with me to class. I don’t remember how many of these that he got, but he got many of these and this giant box of tissues.”
John, known to his students as Professor Haley, was the type of professor first year students felt lucky to have. Students’ first composition class can feel quite daunting, but John made students feel at ease with his stories and jokes. In class, he would encourage students to voice their opinions, fears and/or anything they felt they wanted to share. Nothing was ever wrong, though. He genuinely just wanted to know what his students had to say. “If I had to describe him in one word, it would be caring,” UMPI senior Roni Shaw said. “He was the type of professor to always keep class light and fun. Everyone was just happy with him around. He was a great man.” Dr. J added, “He didn’t go out and conquer the world. But he was so kind. He really cared about people.”
I hope you’re all home safe by now and getting settled in well. I know for many, transitioning back to remote learning from home might not be ideal. Finals are seemingly right around the corner, however, and I’m here to tell you that we’ve got this.
This year has certainly been full of ups and downs, perhaps more downs than ups. Through it all, there is hope that next year might be better and I for one hope this the most. New Year’s cannot come soon enough.
The holidays might look and feel different this year, but regardless of how hard it gets, just know that tomorrow is a new day. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Maybe FaceTime dinners sound silly, but it sure beats getting sick.
No matter the situation, just know that better days will come. I wish you all happy holidays and a safe and prosperous new year.
Growing up, my household highly anticipated Christmas morning. My brother, sister and I would wake one another up at 5 a.m., because the anticipation to see what Santa had brought us made it impossible to sleep. Creeping down the stairs Christmas morning, our Nana would always greet us. Coffee in hand, she would lead us to the kitchen for freshly baked Monkey Bread, a tradition the four of us shared. Personally, I think the monkey bread was a distraction she created to give our parents an extra 20 minutes of sleep.
Regardless of how the tradition started, Monkey Bread became a staple of the Davis’ family Christmas. For those of you who don’t know what Monkey Bread is, it’s a doughy, buttery, cinnamon treat. But don’t just take my word for it: try the recipe out for yourself!
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cans (16.3 oz each) of Pillsbury Grands™ biscuits
1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
¾ cup of butter or margarine, melted
Optional: ½ cup of chopped walnuts and/or ½ cup of raisins
1 Heat oven to 350°F. Generously grease 12-cup fluted tube pan with shortening or cooking spray. In a large gallon plastic food storage bag, mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon.
2 Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each biscuit into quarters. Place pieces into bag of sugar and cinnamon, coating the dough in mixture. Arrange the pieces of dough in pan. If desired, add in walnuts or raisins. Sprinkle any remaining sugar over the dough in the pan.
3 In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces.
4 Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Loosen edges of the pan with spatula. Cool in pan for 5 minutes.
5 Eat the Monkey Bread out of the pan, or turn upside down onto serving plate. Pull apart and enjoy!
It’s been a while since the last time you heard from me, I hope all is well! I know times have been trying recently but the end of 2020 is almost in sight. What a crazy year it has been up to this point.
Halloween is right around the corner and I know I’m pretty excited to see some snow on the ground. I was able to catch Shawnee Peak’s night skiing pass flash-sale. You can catch me at the slopes snowboarding as soon as we have a solid base. Until then though, you’ll find me at home studying and doing my classes remotely.
As we approach time to leave the UMPI campus and transition back to remote learning for everyone, I’d like to share a little advice, as I have been remote since we got sent home in March by choice. If you ever feel lonely, reach out to your friends. Even though you can’t be there beside them studying for finals, pick up the phone and call or FaceTime them. Don’t be shy or feel like they don’t want to hear from you. It can get lonely sometimes, especially when it’s college culture to be so intertwined with your peers.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that your friends miss you too, even if they don’t say it. Check in often, they want to hear from you. Hopefully someday things will shift back to something resembling life pre-COVID. Until then, find the silver lining.
Holidays in the times of Corona have everyone feeling a little glum. While Trick-or-Treating might be a little trickier this year, here’s an easy way to spread a little happiness this spooky season while sticking
to a budget.
To start, you’re going to want to want to set a budget. As a college student, money can sometimes be pretty tight. While you might not have a lot to give, Boo Baskets are the gift that keeps on giving. When you start this little project, keep in mind that the person you Boo is supposed to pass the treat along, Booing someone else. For this example, let’s have a budget of $20.
Once you have your budget set, make a list. On your list, start by putting a festive pail or other cute Halloween bag. Next, add a bag of candy. Aside from these two items, you’re going to want to budget your money in order to add other items to your Boo Basket. Be however creative you want!
The next step is to find your local dollar store, or any sort of inexpensive store. This example Boo Basket has items found at both the Dollar Tree and Walmart. Just to give an idea of prices, below is a list of each item, price and where each thing in the bucket was bought:
This list might inspire you, but don’t feel that you have to follow the entire list yourself. Feel free to get anything you want. Just be mindful of your budget. Your friends don’t want you to go bankrupt in
order to make this basket.
Once you have gathered all of your Boo Basket materials, go ahead and place them all in the pail. If you’re feeling a little extra, throw in a piece of tissue
paper to make it look pretty.
When everything is looking as you want it to, bring your baskets to your
friends. Whether they live in the dorm room down the hall, are your roommate or reside across town, drop it off to them. Don’t forget to tell them, “You’ve just been ‘Booed!’”
I know it’s been a while since I’ve last written to you all! Times have certainly been extraordinary, that’s for sure. Since the last time I wrote, I have moved back home. Living somewhere that isn’t Presque Isle is something you have to get used to. Even though when I’m at school I miss home, being home has me oddly missing Presque Isle more.
For whatever the reason, I feel like I don’t need a summer break. I unfortunately lost my job due to my move home, so I have not had a whole lot of anything to do over this quarantine. The only silver lining is that my boyfriend has been quarantining with me.
I have a short but funny story. So, two-and-a-half months ago, at the beginning of quarantine, I became fixated on the idea of cutting my hair. I wanted bangs. My younger sister advised against it, as she herself had bangs and quote, “I don’t want you to copy my look.” But anyway, I started watching hair-cutting videos, mostly of women cutting their own bangs. All of the videos made it look effortless.
One Thursday, after attending my weekly PCJ Zoom meeting, I FaceTimed my best friend, Caitlyn. Cait and I were casually chatting when I got the sudden and overwhelming urge to be dramatic. Me being me, I got the scissors. Without saying anything, I walked upstairs and found a comb and clips. Walking back downstairs to my bedroom, I shut and locked my door behind me. The whole time, Cait was on FaceTime staring at me, silent, through my screen.
I took my position in front of my humongous wall mirror and began sectioning my hair like the woman in the Buzzfeed video. Holding my breath, I told my friend to encourage me. Holding my breath, I literally cut inches off and chopped the most uneven bangs. Realizing what I had done, I ran upstairs in hysterics. I was sobbing, my sister and brother were laughing, Cait was screaming over FaceTime and my mom was freaking out because she didn’t know what was going on. (What was going on was I was running around my kitchen and living room sobbing while clutching my forehead.)
Moral of the story: don’t cut your own bangs, no matter how easy Buzzfeed makes it look. My only saving grace was my sister and her ability to fix my mistake.
To close out the 2019-2020 academic year, I just wanted to thank everyone. Readers, contributors, staff writers: thank you all. I hope that everyone stays safe and healthy during these extraordinary times. I would also like to congratulate all of UMPI’s 2020 graduates. I wish we could have celebrated your hard work together.
Love is in the air, folks– and so is some sort of flu bug! I have to say, February is one of my least favorite months. At least it’s short. Otherwise, I wouldn’t know how to handle the brutal cold it brings. Also, all the snow. The other day my nana called to ask how much snow I thought we had. She was asking for all the ladies who live on her floor. I think the only nice thing about this month is that as the days go by, I can almost see Spring Break in sight. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to be headed somewhere warmer.
While I keep reminding myself to stay strong until the third week of March, I would also like to give a huge thank-you to the UMPI community and anyone who supported the U Time’s fundraiser. As some of you may know, the U Times held a raffle fundraiser for three weeks. With the club members having met their goal within the first week of sales, their success would not have been possible without the outpouring of support seen from individuals both on and off campus.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for now, folks! I hope you all caught the awesome day-after Valentines Day candy sales. I know I surely did!