PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A state-of-the-art multimedia videoconferencing facility at Northern Maine Community College will be dedicated today in honor of beloved and highly respected Aroostook County business and community leader Peter G. Hunt Sr., who died unexpectedly two years ago.
Campus and community officials will gather with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins to dedicate the Peter G. Hunt Sr. Multi-Media Center in an event open to the public.
Tapping into a $101,161 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the college transformed the former Christie Lecture Hall into the new facility that will bear Hunt’s name.
Tim Crowley, the president of NMCC, said Thursday the center would expand distance education and help the college meet the educational needs of students in northern Maine.
Over the past few months, the Christie Lecture Hall has been fitted with videoconferencing and related technology.
The president said the enhanced lecture hall mainly would be used to offer courses in the associate degree nursing program. College officials pointed out that NMCC has outgrown the existing classroom space now used to teach and transmit nursing courses to sites in Houlton and Calais. Courses in the field also will be transmitted for the first time to the St. John Valley this fall.
Crowley said the renovation of the former lecture hall into the Hunt Center “will not only help us better meet existing demand in the region for our nursing curriculum, but will allow for expansion in other course and program offerings in allied health and sciences, as well as other academic and career training programs.”
“This dedication is the culmination of a great deal of work on the part of many people,” he said Thursday, pointing out that more than $100,000 in funding for the enhancement of the facility was championed by U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud.
In addition to serving students enrolled in allied health programs at NMCC, the Hunt Center will be available to hospitals and other health care facilities throughout Aroostook County. Other NMCC academic programs also will benefit from the facility.
“This will be our most advanced classroom in terms of technology,” said Crowley.
Peter G. Hunt Sr. was one of the founders of the statewide United Insurance Group and established and operated a number of businesses in The County.
After his retirement from the insurance group in 1995, he formed U.V. Inc., a commercial insurance agency. He also consulted with numerous insurance companies and agencies within the state and served on the NMCC Foundation board.
Hunt was active in several other community and civic organizations, including the Aroostook Partnership for Progress, Community General Hospital in Fort Fairfield, Fort Fairfield Housing Authority and the Fort Fairfield Community Development board.
He died on June 28, 2007, at age 63.
Crowley said Thursday that Hunt “was a real builder of networks,” someone who, if you knew him, you knew all of his friends as well.
“Just because of that, he was able to bring a lot to the [NMCC] Foundation and do a great deal for this college,” said Crowley. “This will be a very emotional day for us, because Peter [Hunt] was such a dear friend to all of us. He lived life to the fullest.”
Sen. Collins, who is scheduled to attend the dedication ceremony, said in a written statement earlier this week that she believed the Hunt Center will help temper the nationwide nursing shortage and “enhance allied health education and training at Northern Maine Community College.”
Snowe also lauded the formation of the Hunt Center, saying that providing students with such resources gives them “the tools they need to advance in the future and expanding the opportunities available to them.”
The official opening and dedication ceremony for the Peter G. Hunt Sr. Multi-Media Center will take place at 3:30 p.m. today in the lobby of the Christie Building. There will be tours of the facility and refreshments.