Former head of NMCC mourned

Posted Feb. 18, 2010, at 10:05 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:33 a.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — People with ties to Northern Maine Community College are mourning Harold “Hal” Mailman, a former director of the college who died earlier this month.

Mailman, 83, of Hermon was described as a visionary who led what is now the community college during a successful decade when it was still known as a vocational and technical school.

He died Feb. 14 after a short illness. He retired as director of what was then Northern Maine Vocational Technical Institute in 1979. He led the campus from 1969 through 1979.

“He supported student development, nurtured staff members and expected excellence. He had a profound influence on the development of this college,” said Tim Crowley, president of the community college.

The campus community recognized Mailman by naming the trade and technical occupations building in his honor in 1991. The facility, one of many constructed during his tenure, houses the residential construction, plumbing and heating, diesel hydraulics and automotive technology programs, as well as the welding lab.

Sonny Michaud, the longest-serving faculty member at NMCC, works in the Mailman Trades Building each day as a welding instructor. Michaud, who was hired by Mailman, recalled him as “a true gentleman, an extremely nice man and a great president.”

“His main focus always remained on the school and the students,” Michaud recalled. “He would always seek out the advice of others, saying that he wanted to hear more than his own opinion on a matter before moving forward. Like we do today, we had budget cuts back then, but despite it all, Harold always remained positive. He would go out of his way to speak with students and faculty.”

Mailman took over at the college from Ralph Sylvester in 1969 just as construction began on the first permanent building at the institution — the Augusta K. Christie Building, which today serves as the main classroom and administration building. Mailman oversaw the construction of numerous other projects, including the first residential hall, a new shop for the auto body repair program, and north and south wing additions to the Christie Building.

On the academic side, the institution under Mailman was granted authority to award associate degrees to business education and trade and technical program students; the plumbing and heating program was added to the curriculum; and the institution was voted into membership in the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Mailman also was responsible for extending the school’s outreach throughout northern Maine. In 1972, an adult education specialist was added to the college staff, allowing for greater expansion of programs in Aroostook County.

Mailman and his late wife, Beatrice, also donated to the NMCC Foundation and its scholarship fund on multiple occasions.

After his retirement, Mailman served as an adult education director at Husson College. He also started, along with his son-in-law Les Hunsinger, MHR Sheet Metal and served as company president until 1999.

Mailman also served on the Hermon Town Council.

A service of remembrance will be announced.

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