PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — You could see, just by stepping through the door at Northern Maine Community College, how much Peter G. Hunt Sr. was loved.
More than 65 people crowded inside a small lobby at the college on Friday evening for the dedication of the Peter G. Hunt Sr. Multi-Media Center, a state-of-the-art multimedia videoconferencing facility at the college that was dedicated in honor of the late Aroostook County business and community leader.
College representatives joined with members of the Hunt family, Hunt’s friends and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins at a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside the new center.
Other representatives from the state’s congressional delegation also were present, and state Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner John Richardson delivered his own address with remarks from Gov. John Baldacci.
The college tapped into a $101,161 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to transform the former Christie Lecture Hall into the new facility bearing Hunt’s name.
The 1,170-square-foot “smart” classroom will help NMCC better meet existing demand for the college’s nursing program while also allowing for expansion of health and science courses and program offerings.
Everyone who spoke at the ceremony praised Hunt’s talents as a businessman, volunteer, philanthropist and family man. Throughout the event, a slideshow of pictures from Hunt’s life was displayed on an overhead screen.
Tim Crowley, the president of NMCC, called Hunt “a supporter of the college and a supporter of many who graduated from this institution.”
He said that the establishment of the Hunt center would be a step forward for a college that is reaching out to train students to embark on successful careers.
Collins said Hunt was “dedicated to creating opportunities for the people of Maine.”
“This is more than just a renovation,” she said of the enhanced lecture hall. “It is truly a transformation.”
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 also was active in several other community and civic organizations. He died in 2007 at age 63.
Jane Hunt, who is Peter Hunt’s widow, attended the ceremony with the couple’s four children: Peter Hunt Jr., Robert Hunt, Jennifer Hunt-MacLearn and Melony Hunt LeShane. She said that her husband would love the new center.
“Peter was so excited about this college and the educational opportunities it offers,” she said during the ceremony. “Our family could not be more proud.”
The enhanced lecture hall mainly will be used to offer courses in the associate degree nursing program. College officials said 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.
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.