ORONO, Maine — While University of Maine President Robert Kennedy waits to hear if he is picked for the Kansas State University president job, students at Kennedy’s current institution aren’t waiting to declare their support of him.
The University of Maine student senate Tuesday night adopted a resolution to encourage Kennedy to stay in Orono.
“While it is understandable that President Kennedy ultimately has to do what is best for him, we, the General Student Senate, feel it is in the best interest of the students at this university for him to continue the exemplary job he has done as President of the University of Maine,” the resolution states.
The resolution was adopted by a consent vote with no objections, student government president Owen McCarthy said. It was sponsored by senators-at-large Brian Harris and Nelson Carson, both sophomores.
The resolution listed a number of Kennedy’s accomplishments, including the establishment of academic programs, new building projects, and national recognition for the university.
The students also cited “record enrollment, record fundraising, efficient management and strategic growth during difficult financial times” as reasons for Kennedy to stay in Orono.
“Any school would be lucky to have his great leadership,” Harris said in a statement. “We recognize that he has to do what’s best for him, but we implore him to continue his career at the University of Maine.”
Kennedy, who is one of two finalists for the KSU position, was originally approached by a headhunter about the vacancy. One of the reasons he has pursued the opening, Kennedy said last week, was to learn more about Kansas State, and that it has nothing to do with the students at UMaine.
“I enjoy interacting with students, and that’s been certainly the most memorable aspect of the time I’ve been at the University of Maine,” Kennedy said before the student senate vote took place. “I’ve been pleased with our students and the quality of education that they get. This is not a negative reflection at all on them.”
After McCarthy and vice president Ross Wolland sign the resolution, it will be notarized, framed and delivered to Kennedy’s office.
Student government officials know the resolution isn’t official, but see it as more of an encouragement that Kennedy stay.
“If he leaves, he’ll [know] he made a difference,” McCarthy said. “If he stays, hopefully this will have played a part in it.”