Gov. John Baldacci,to be given UMaine’s 2018 Alumni Achievement Award

 By Ramona du Houx

Former Maine Governor John E. Baldacci has been chosen to receive the Alumni Career Award, the Alumni Association’s highest honor.

Baldacci, a 1986 UMaine graduate, is one of seven Baldacci siblings who are Black Bear alumni.

As well serving as a two term Governor of the State of Maine John E. Baldacci was former city councilor, state senator, and for eight years a U.S congressman.

Photograph of Gov. John Baldacci signing a law. Credit:Ramona du Houx

After being elected, Baldacci had to fill a $1.2-billion deficit. This was done through budget cuts, and consolidation. Baldacci refused to raise broad-based taxes, honoring a campaign pledge. Baldacci won approval for major initiatives including Dirigo Health, the Maine Community College System, and Pine Tree Development Zones (PTDZ).

Pine Tree Development Zones were enacted in 2004 and offered eligible businesses the chance to greatly reduce state taxes for up to ten years when they create new, quality jobs in certain business sectors or move existing jobs in those sectors to Maine. The PTZ's proved critical to job growth and helped the state through the recession.

Baldacci's overhaul of the healthcare system established the Dirigo Health Care Act. The program offers subsidized health care to individuals and Maine businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The program expanded wellness centers across the state. Individuals in the system enjoy preventive care when most other insurance policies rejected people with preexisting conditions. 

During the winter of 2007 the price of oil skyrocketed. Despite the political blow back that did come, Baldacci looked to South America for oil to help the needy. CITGO responded. photo by Ramona du Houx

With the Maine Community College System he took technical colleges and revamped them into community colleges by adding more courses, more teachers and programs relevant to the communities in which they were established. He passed legislation that made it possible for credits and degrees from the community colleges to be transferable to the University of Maine system if student wished to pursue a four-year degree. The community college system grew exponentially, and now has waiting listls. 

In 2005, Baldacci introduced legislation to expand Maine's civil rights law to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This legislation in Maine had been defeated via referendum by voters two times before. 

Baldacci was selected for the UMaine award based on his decades of public service. Baldacci currently lives in Portland.

PHOTO: Gov. John E. Baldacci with workers at a lumber company celebrating the company's Pine Tree Development status in 2007. Small and large companies signed on to be PTDZ. Close to 400 companies have been certified under the Pine Tree Zone program, bringing good jobs and benefits to the state. Photo by Ramona du Houx

The family of Donald and Patricia Collins, of Caribou, has been selected for the Fogler Legacy Award. The honor is awarded annually to a family with multiple generations of Black Bear graduates who have been actively engaged in volunteer service on behalf of UMaine, their community, and/or their respective professions.

Don and Pat, both members of the university’s Class of 1949, are part of the second generation of Collinses to attend UMaine. Don’s father, Sam, a 1916 graduate, started the Collins family tree at UMaine. In the 100 years that have followed, three more generations of Collinses have graduated from UMaine. In addition, Don and Pat’s daughter, U.S. Sen. Susan M. Collins, received an honorary doctorate from UMaine in 2011. Adam Collins will graduate from UMaine in May, 102 years after his great-grandfather Sam earned his degree.

Recipients will be honored at the Alumni Association’s inaugural Alumni Achievement Awards Dinner and Celebration to be held on Thursday, April 26th at Wells Conference Center on the University of Maine campus.

The event is open to the public. For more information please contact alumni@maine.edu or call 207.581.1146.

PHOTO: Gov. John Baldacci during the unveiling of his portrait at the State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Seven more alumni with diverse backgrounds and rewarding careers have been selected to receive Alumni Achievement Awards. 

Allen and Patricia Morell have been selected to receive the Bernard Lown ’42 Alumni Humanitarian Award for their lifetime of service to others. 

Todd Saucier of Milford has been selected to receive the Alumni Association’s Pine Tree Emblem Service Award, which honors an individual whose leadership and service advanced the organization’s success and reputation. 

George Pullen has been chosen to receive the Spirit of Maine Achievement Award. The award recognizes an individual who both graduated within the past 15 years and has achieved outstanding professional success.

Norman Minsky of Bangor has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Champion of UMaine Award, a new honor established by the Alumni Association. The award recognizes an individual who, though not an alumnus, has been a strong and effective advocate for UMaine. 

Three recent UMaine graduates are recipients of the Alumni Association’s new Rising Star Award. The honor acknowledges individuals who as students were actively engaged in student leadership roles and have continued their participation and promotion of UMaine and alumni interests since earning their degree. 

The 2018 recipients are Brian Harris of Gray, a 2011 graduate; Hannah Hudson of Washington, D.C., who earned her bachelor’s degree in 2012 and her master’s in 2014; and Owen McCarthy of Gorham, a 2010 graduate. 

Established in 1875, the University of Maine Alumni Association is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting the interests of UMaine and its 107,000 alumni.