Eliot Cutler Appointed CEO of University of Maine System Professional and Graduate Center Initiative

BANGOR, Maine — The Parthenon Group Report on the market opportunity and feasibility for a Portland-based center was presented to the UMS Board of Trustees in November of 2014 and recommended as a next step the hiring of a highly credentialed and entrepreneurial leader to direct the development of the center.

The Professional and Graduate Center, still a concept in development, would not be a standalone school or confer degrees. According to the Parthenon Group Report the center eventually, “will create a model for distributed education across locations and between institutions in the University of Maine System and across the state of Maine.” Based on market testing the Parthenon Group Report also concludes the center, under conservative assumptions, could assist the programs in doubling enrollments as it comes to scale.

The Harold Alfond Foundation provided $500,000 in initial funding to conduct the market study and an additional $1.25 million to move ahead with early stage development of the concept, including the engagement of a CEO for the PGCI. Among the CEO’s responsibilities will be the completion of the planning and program development process, building essential public / private partnerships and testing the core concepts with targeted pilot offerings.

“Leaders in Maine’s business and legal communities have expressed support for expanding and combining components of our existing programs to create a model for entrepreneurial, multi-disciplinary graduate business and legal programs to drive statewide economic development,” said UMS Chancellor James Page. “Eliot Cutler, a highly accomplished and proven Maine leader, will develop the plans and partnerships needed take the Professional and Graduate Center Initiative from a well-intended concept to a dynamic, value-adding economic development partner.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I extend our thanks to Eliot for joining the team of proven Maine leaders who have become a part of our university leadership ranks over the last year. I also want to thank the Harold Alfond Foundation for their continued generous support for this high potential initiative,” concluded the Chancellor.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to work with our students, our three faculties, the deans, Presidents Hunter and Flanagan, Chancellor Page, our communities, business and legal leaders, our stakeholders and the Alfond Foundation to advance this first of its kind educational collaboration,” said UMS Professional and Graduate Center Initiative CEO Eliot Cutler.

Cutler continued, “Together we will create a culture and curriculum that inspires cooperation, creativity and entrepreneurial excellence. We will maintain an unrelenting focus on Maine’s competitive advantages, economic opportunities and employment needs. Building on the strengths of our programs and faculty, we will capitalize in areas where we excel, improve in areas of opportunity, and develop professional graduate programs that are of service to Maine and of a caliber that attract national attention and prestige.”

UMaine President Susan Hunter and USM President David Flanagan are hosting Eliot Cutler and Chancellor Page on their campuses today for meetings with business and law school leaders.

“The establishment of a Professional and Graduate Center in Portland, aligning graduate level business programs at USM and the University of Maine with the University of Maine School of Law, is a transformative concept for USM and the business and legal community in the Southern Maine region,” said USM President David Flanagan. “This new center will be home to innovative partnerships and collaborations between our business and legal programs and the business and legal community located in the economic center of Maine.

“As USM begins the implementation of the Metropolitan University initiative – aligning our university with our community – we are excited to work with Eliot Cutler and the University of Maine System to integrate this new center into our plan to become the hub for community engagement in this dynamic region.”

Incoming USM President Harvey Kesselman added, “Stronger programs lead to better outcomes for our students and higher enrollment for our university. I am looking forward to working with Eliot Cutler and our dedicated team at USM and across Maine to create the very best and most responsive graduate professional programs possible for our students.”

“The University of Maine, its faculty and staff are committed to expanding educational opportunities for our students and upholding the flagship’s statewide leadership role in economic development and service to Maine,” said UMaine President Susan J. Hunter. “We are looking forward to working closely with Eliot Cutler, our faculty and administrative colleagues at USM, and leaders in our state’s business and legal communities to advance coordination of our graduate business programs and leverage our resources to enhance professional education in Maine.”

Denise Taaffe, Chair of the USM Board of Visitors and Anne Lucey, Chair of the UMaine Board of Visitors recently met with Chancellor Page and Presidents Flanagan and Hunter to discuss cooperative opportunities between Maine’s two largest public universities and the development of the Professional and Graduate Center Initiative.

“We must work as one to expand opportunities for our students, support statewide economic development for all citizens of Maine, and achieve the efficiencies that will keep the price of public higher education within the reach of working Maine families,” said USM BOV Chair Denise Taaffe and UMaine BOV Chair Anne Lucey. “Under Eliot Cutler’s leadership and with the cooperative support of Maine’s two largest public universities, we have an exciting opportunity to demonstrate to the people of our State and beyond what can be accomplished as the One University Initiative advances.”

Read the full press release