UMaine System graduate center gets boost from Alfond Foundation grant

From the Bangor Daily News, March 10, 2016.

By Nick McCrea

PORTLAND, Maine — The University of Maine System has received a $500,000 grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation to continue its push to bring the system’s graduate programs in law, business and public service under the same roof.

The new gift brings the total provided by the Alfond Foundation toward the initiative to more than $2 million. The latest contribution is meant to fund the “continued strategic development” of the Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies, according to a system news release.

 “This is an exciting vote of confidence in the hard work that the deans and faculty have been doing for nearly a year to bring this important project into being,” said Eliot Cutler, the former Maine gubernatorial candidate hired as the center’s founding CEO. “We have a long way to go, but this grant gives the university system and my office additional assurance that the Alfond Foundation understands the groundbreaking significance of this initiative and the critical contribution it will make to the Maine economy.”

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Harold Alfond Foundation Grants Continued Development Funding

PORTLAND, Maine – University of Maine System Chancellor James Page announced today that the Harold Alfond Foundation has approved a follow-on grant of $500,000 to fund continued strategic development of the Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies.

The Maine Center Initiative was launched in 2015 tobring together under one roof University of Maine System graduate programs in law, business and public service. The Center will be a model for entrepreneurial, multi-disciplinary professional education and will help drive statewide workforce and economic development.

Maine Center CEO Eliot Cutler thanked the Foundation for its continued support.

“This is an exciting vote of confidence in the hard work that the deans and faculty have been doing for nearly a year to bring this important project into being,” said Cutler. “We have a long way to go, but this grant gives the University System and my office additional assurance that the Alfond Foundation understands the ground-breaking significance of this initiative and the critical contribution it will make to the Maine economy.”

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Trustees back idea of adding USM’s Muskie School to proposed graduate center

Originally Published in the Portland Press Herald, January 25, 2016

By Noel K. Gallagher

ORONO — The University of Maine System board of trustees endorsed adding the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine to a proposed graduate center that was initially planned for just business and law programs, officials said Sunday.

The trustees, meeting on the University of Maine campus in Orono, did not take a formal vote but they agree with the idea, Chancellor James Page said after a presentation by Eliot Cutler, who is leading the effort to develop a business plan for the center.

“It is meaningful enlargement” of the initial proposal, Page said.

The proposed school would be located in Portland and house the University of Maine School of Law, the graduate business programs that now operate at USM and UMaine in Orono, and the graduate programs in public health and in public policy and management that now operate at the Muskie school. It also would house the Cutler Institute for Health and Policy, which is the research arm of USM and part of the Muskie school on the Portland campus. Continue reading

As UMaine System plans new graduate center, location a hot topic

Originally Published in the Portland Press Herald, January 18, 2016

By Noel K. Gallagher

While few details have emerged on a proposed University of Maine System graduate center, questions are already being raised over where it should be located.

University of Southern Maine President Glenn Cummings, former Interim President David Flanagan and some USM faculty members have said they want the center to be on the USM campus in Portland.

Two-time gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler, hired in March by the university system to lead an 18-month exploratory phase for the center, won’t talk about the location, saying he is “agnostic” about where it goes.

“I don’t want to get into a battle about where something goes when we don’t know what it will be,” Cutler told the USM Faculty Senate in December. “To be a ‘what’ I have to go back to the trustees and (the Alfond) foundation with a business plan that compels the Alfonds to put in $40 million or so.” Continue reading

New Portland graduate school names board of advisors

PORTLAND, Maine – More than 100 Maine business, legal and public service leaders have joined the newly established Advisory Board for a new graduate school being created in Portland by the University of Maine System.

The Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies, led by former gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler, is looking into how the University of Maine School of Law, the University of Maine and University of Southern Maine’s master of business administration programs and potentially USM’s Muskie School of Public Service can better align their programs to meet students’ needs. The Harold Alfond Foundation has contributed $1.75 million to school’s planning process. University of Maine System Chancellor James Page and Cutler, CEO of the Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies, released the board list Thursday.

The board will be co-chaired by Hilary Rapkin, a senior vice president at WEX Inc.; Anne Lucey, a senior vice president at CBS Corp.; Miles Theeman, a Lubec native and formerly of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems; and Ray Gauvin, founder of the Aroostook Aspirations Initiative. The board also includes Chief Justice Leigh Saufley of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court and Maine State Chamber of Commerce President Dana Connors.

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