PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins told graduates of the University of Maine at Presque Isle on Saturday that they have given themselves an invaluable gift by pursuing higher education, and she urged them to put that gift to use in Maine.
Collins was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the university’s 101st commencement ceremony, in which more than 250 degrees were conferred upon graduates.
Also receiving Doctor of Humane Letters Degrees were the Honorable David Griffiths and Roberta Griffiths, longtime pillars of the Presque Isle and university communities.
In her remarks, Maine’s junior Republican senator talked about hard work, community, cooperation and fair play, values she said are the hallmark of Aroostook County. She urged students to keep those values with them as they continue through life.
She also talked about what most students want to do — stay in Maine.
“Maine needs you,” Collins said Saturday. “The diplomas you receive today represent a great deal of hard work on your part, but they also represent a great debt you owe those who made it possible. I urge you to apply your talent, energy and enthusiasm right here in Maine. Whether you grew up in Maine, or came here from an-other state or country, whether it is at the beginning of your career or later on, Maine needs what you have to offer.”
She also suggested that students get involved in their communities.
“Whether it’s joining the volunteer fire department or ambulance crew, helping out at your local school or food bank, serving on your town council or planning board, or participating in a service club or scouting, your community needs you to volunteer, to get involved,” said Collins.
Kathleen Kilfoil, the Class of 2010 vice president, served as a student marshal. The New Brunswick resident was awarded a bachelor’s degree in elementary education during the ceremony. She said she was looking forward to the future and planned to continue her student teaching in the fall.
Tyler Delaney, a graduate from Nova Scotia, was awarded a bachelor’s degree in athletic training during the ceremony. The class president and a student marshal said he was “pretty excited” to be graduating, but that he had not yet found a job.
“But I have a job interview on Monday,” he said Saturday.