Founder of UM center to join Maine Women’s Hall of Fame

Posted March 19, 2009, at 10:34 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11:01 a.m.

ORONO, Maine — Sharon Barker was present at the first induction ceremony for the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame.

She watched her friend and colleague Mabel Sine Wadsworth enter as the inaugural Hall of Fame class with Sen. Margaret Chase Smith.

Twenty years later, Barker is going back to the induction ceremony.

This time, the inductee is Barker herself.

Barker, a Bangor resident who is the founding director of the Women’s Resource Center at the University of Maine, will enter the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame during a celebration Saturday at the University of Maine at Augusta’s Jewett Hall.

The festivities start at 2 p.m. with a tea celebrating both Barker and the first 20 years of the Hall of Fame.

“Having lost Mabel [in 2006] and having that history, I can’t tell you how pleased and thrilled I am to be included in that company,” Barker said. “I just think it’s a wonderful tribute to the women in Maine and I’m pleased beyond words to be included in that company.”

Barker, 59, helped start the Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center when she put together the organizational framework for the center while she was a graduate student at the University of Maine. The center, which opened in 1984, is a private, nonprofit facility that provides full-service health care to women.

Barker also has an undergraduate degree from UMaine.

The criteria for selection into the Hall of Fame include the statewide impact of the nominee’s achievements and the enduring value of the nominee’s contributions.

Barker recently served as the president of the Mabel Wadsworth board of directors and has served on numerous local boards with organizations such as the Penobscot Valley American Association of University Women, Maine Women’s Fund, Eastern Regional Commission for Women, Good Samaritan Agency, and others.

She was also a member of then-Rep. John Baldacci’s Advisory Committee on Juvenile Crime, Domestic Violence, Drug Abuse and Hate Crimes.

Barker was born in New Brunswick and grew up in Aroostook County’s Fort Fairfield, which she still calls home.

“Part of the nature of The County is that there’s real partnerships around farming and community, particularly when I was growing up,” Barker said. “Everyone participated in economic life of The County. I think that culture and that perspective had a huge impact on me.”

The Maine Federation of Business and Professional Women, Maine Futurama Foundation and the University of Maine at Augusta are co-sponsors of the Hall of Fame.

jbloch@bangordailynews.net

990-8287

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