FARMINGTON, ME (May 17, 2014)—In culmination of its year-long 150th Anniversary celebration as the birthplace of public higher education in Maine, the University of Maine at Farmington held its annual Commencement Ceremony this morning, Saturday, May 17, 2014. Kathryn A. Foster, UMF president, faculty, administrators and dignitaries led the procession of new graduates marching to traditional bagpipe music. UMF awarded approximately 448 bachelor’s and master’s diplomas for 2014.
“We are so proud of this year’s graduates and all they have accomplished, especially in this historic year,” said Foster. “For 150 years, UMF has helped students meet their educational goals and grow as individuals. Just like the very first graduating class, today’s graduates are prepared with the knowledge, skills and confidence to be successful and make a difference in their communities and the world.”
Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer, delivered the Commencement speech to UMF graduates, their families, honored guests, the UMF community and alumni members of the UMF class of 1964 celebrating their 50th anniversary class reunion. Ford was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane letters for his significant literary contributions.
Acclaimed by the New York Times as, “one of his generation’s most eloquent voices,” Ford is the author of 11 works of fiction. Notable among those is “Independence Day,” winner of the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award—the first novel to win both awards in a single year. His 1986 novel, “The Sportswriter,” received a PEN/Faulkner citation for fiction and was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best novels ever written.
Ford’s New York Times best-selling novel, “Canada,” won the top French literary award—the prestigious French Prix Femina Etrangere, and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Most recently, he was chosen by a jury of well-known writers and journalists to receive the 2014 Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix, in celebration of a lifetime of literary achievement.
Graduating senior and vice president of the senior class Sean Skillern, from Naples, Maine, gave the student address. An elementary education major and president of the local Rotaract organization, Skillern reminded graduates of the memories they’ve made in their time at UMF, and the friends that will last a lifetime.
President Foster and Daniel P. Gunn, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, conferred degrees to this year’s graduates. Norman L. Fournier, member of the UMS Board of Trustees, delivered greetings to the graduates from the University of Maine System.
Avon: Devany Chaise-Greenwood, B.F.A. Creative Writing;
Clinton: Erin McGuigan, B.S. Community Health Education;
East Windsor: Cassandra Farmer, B.A. Int Studies – Arts Admin Music;
Hamden: Sean Igoe, B.F.A. Creative Writing and English;
North Stonington: Benjamin Pearson, B.A. Mathematics;
Norwich: Shannah Cotton, B.F.A. Creative Writing;
South Windsor: Madeline King, B.A. Psychology.