“There are great possibilities of future collaborations,” said Bowdoin College President Barry Mills

Governor John Baldacci announces the new partnership between Bowdoin College and the University of Maine in his office. Photo by Ramona du Houx

June/July 2007

By Ramona du Houx

“It’s impossible to underestimate the value of higher education in the 21st century economy, said Governor Baldacci announcing a new partnership between Bowdoin College and the University of Maine. “We need to make sure our students have the tools they need to succeed.”

Maine needs more highly skilled professionals to continue to compete in the global economy. Students who pursue higher degrees in Maine often look to the state for professions after graduation. The University of Maine’s Office of Institutional Studies published a report on the class of 2005, which states 73.9 percent of respondents are employed full time, and nearly two-thirds of those full-time workers are living in Maine. They say if you spend time here, Maine easily becomes your home. One area where there is a growing vacancy in skilled workers is in engineering.

UMO has a world-class engineering department; Bowdoin College is a world famous private liberal arts college — both are dedicated to excellence in education. Last May a partnership program was announced between the two educational institutions.

In the program, students will begin their course work at Bowdoin. For three years, they will participate in the liberal arts program at the college. During those three years applicants to the program will have had to take certain science and math prerequisites at Bowdoin before they can transfer to the University of Maine for two years of intensive engineering studies. Upon completion of the five-year program, students graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin and an engineering degree from UMaine.

“Maine’s economy needs highly trained and well-prepared thinkers, people who can push the limits in today’s technology- and innovation-based industries,” said Governor Baldacci. “I look forward to tracking the progress of this cooperative, and know that it will serve the needs of some of Maine’s best and brightest students.”

“We at Bowdoin are very proud of this new alliance, and I want to thank the University of Maine for really helping to make this happen,” said Bowdoin College President Barry Mills. “We really do have a strong commitment to the state of Maine and look forward to providing an opportunity for students from Maine who should be at Bowdoin to come to Bowdoin to study in our liberal arts tradition, which we believe in passionately, and then to have the opportunity to go to the University of Maine and to be in an engineering program that is world class and then hopefully to stay in this state.”

“This is very exciting for the University of Maine,” said UMO President Robert Kennedy. “Some of the most outstanding students in the nation attend Bowdoin College. For those with an interest in engineering and the technical aspects, for them to have the opportunity to come to the University of Maine’s engineering college, interact with our faculty, really brings two of the best things in the state together.”

The program is expected to begin enrolling students from Bowdoin into the UMO engineering program as soon as fall 2008. Computer engineering and electrical engineering are proposed under the program.

“Certainly from our perspective we want to see more graduates stay in Maine. It’s a wonderful place to start professions, unique with its quality of life,” said Doug Cook of Bowdoin College.

The new partnership is a step in what President Kennedy and President Mills see as a long-term growing collaboration.

“There are great possibilities of future collaborations,” said Mills. “I’d like to let the professors get together and talk, and with their expertise, I’m sure we will see things develop.”

“UMO offers graduate programs, and I’d like to see more students take advantage of that,” said Kennedy. “And our research and development facilities are renowned. The work on composites technology employs over 150 people. It’s a unique innovative center, and I’d like to see more of collaboration with Bowdoin there.”