BANGOR, Maine - Not only does the University of Maine System serve as the state’s largest educational asset, but it’s also an economic benefit to the region, Chancellor Richard Pattenaude said Thursday.
Pattenaude was the featured speaker at the Bangor Breakfast Kiwanis meeting at Geaghan’ s Restaurant and shared with about 25 local leaders the importance of each of the universities in the system as well as what the goals are for the future.
“My view of a system is that we have a portfolio of seven distinctive campuses,” he said. Each offers students something different. An urban environment at the University of Southern Maine, engineering opportunities and broad liberal arts opportunities at the University of Maine and access to coastal opportunities at the Machias campus.
“Each of those environments should be a high-quality place where you can get a good education,” Pattenaude said.
In looking to the future, Pattenaude said it’ s important that the universities play a role in addressing environmental, economic and energy problems facing the state.
At the University of Maine, professors and students at the Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center are studying the feasibility of harnessing wind power off the Maine coast.
“We are out there working as much as we can,” Pattenaude.
He went on to focus on the system’ s Agenda for Action, which was implemented in January.
The agenda is a five-point strategy for enhancing the role, value, reputation and impact of Maine’ s public university system.
It highlights students’ success, strengthening the state’ s economy through research, development and education, environmental stewardship, financial sustainability and higher education advocacy.
“We want to be accountable for what we do,” Pattenaude said.