BANGOR, Maine — Bangor residents who see fireworks Saturday night over the skies between outer Broadway and Kenduskeag Avenue will not be having Fourth of July flashbacks. They’ll be witnessing a celebration of the official transformation of Husson College to Husson University.
The board of trustees earlier this year approved the name change, President William Beardsley said in a special section published Thursday in the Bangor Daily News. The name change is in recognition “not of what we aspire to be, but rather what we’ve already become,” he said.
In May, Husson awarded its first professional doctoral degrees in physical therapy. It will begin accepting graduates to its pharmacy school next fall. Such advanced degrees typically make an institution a university rather than a college.
This weekend’s festivities will begin tonight with a dinner at which 10 alumni will be inducted into the university’s Halls of Fame.
Husson’s Homecoming and University Weekend will continue Saturday with events open to the public. The Pastene Pasta Pavilion will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Dyke Center for Family Business. Ribbon cutting for the official dedication of the new entrance to the university will be held at 4 p.m. Gov. John Baldacci is expected to attend.
The evening will end with a 30-minute fireworks display beginning at 9 p.m. at the Bell Tower at the center of the 700-acre campus.
One of those who are expected to take part in the festivities is Betsy Webb of Bangor.
Webb, superintendent of Bangor’s schools, basically grew up on the Husson campus, where her father, Bruce MacGregor, worked as a professor and coach from the time she was 7 years old. She enrolled in classes in 1979 and met the man who would become her husband. She graduated in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in education and a minor in coaching.
Webb sees Husson’s transformation as another step in the institution’s efforts to prepare students for the future.
“I am incredibly proud of Husson and its faculty and staff,” Webb told the BDN. “It’s their dedication to continually improve the campus and all that it offers that is the driving force behind this change.”