President search narrows to three finalists at UMFK

Posted Feb. 06, 2010, at 1:24 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:34 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The search for the new president for the University of Maine at Fort Kent has been narrowed to three finalists, including an alumnus of the system’s northernmost campus and another with ties to UMaine and the state itself.

University of Maine System Chancellor Richard L. Pattenaude announced Friday that the finalists are Philip A. Conroy Jr. of Mount Ida College; Wilson G. Hess, a University of Maine graduate and former Unity College president most recently of College of the Marshall Islands; and Maine native John G. LaBrie of Northeastern University.

“I look forward to this upcoming selection process as we search for the best person who will bring new ideas and build upon the solid foundation he has helped put in place,” Pattenaude said in a release.

The new president will succeed Richard Cost, who announced his retirement in August 20009. Cost has been UMFK president since 2002.

The applicants will meet with students, faculty, staff and community members during separate visits to the Fort Kent area. In addition, each candidate will meet with Chancellor Pattenaude. Specific dates for each candidate’s visit have not yet been determined, but will occur in the next few weeks.

After the visits, the search committee will review feedback and present its impressions on each candidate to Pattenaude. He, in turn, will recommend one candidate to the UMS board of trustees for approval. The new president is expected to start in July 2010.

The president emeritus of College of the Marshall Islands, Freedom resident Hess earned a master’s degree from the University of Maine in the mid-1970s, after which he taught in UMaine’s history department. He served in a variety of teaching and administrative positions at Unity College until serving as president of Unity from 1990 to 2000. He resigned from Unity to become the executive director of the Audubon Expedition Institute in Belfast.

LaBrie, a senior fellow in Northeastern’s School of Education, is the former executive director of the Portland-based World Affairs Council of Maine. The Cumberland resident also served as director of summer session and international programming at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1991 from UMFK and grew up in the St. John Valley, according to the cover letter in his application.

Conroy is the vice president for enrollment management and marketing at Mount Ida in Newton, Mass. Before serving in his current position, Conroy was Mount Ida’s vice president for institutional advancement.

Information about the search process and the three candidates may be found at www.maine.edu/UMSUMFKsearch.

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