ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine Bookstore’s contributions to the school and community were celebrated Friday on its 100th anniversary. More than 200 students, faculty, alumni and staff attended the event to show their support.
“The bookstore touches the life of everyone on campus,” said Vice President for Administration and Finance Janet Waldron. “We serve over 11,000 students each year, and we are very proud of 100 years of service here at the University of Maine. Staff at the bookstore is very committed to meeting the needs of the academic and research community.”
UMaine President Paul Ferguson said the bookstore has provided essential services to the academic community over the past 100 years, and continues to do so today. He also noted that the bookstore has always served as a window into the life of the campus and the community.
The bookstore has existed since 1911, when the University of Maine acquired the College Store. The university changed the name to University Store Co. and started selling textbooks, supplies and athletic merchandise. Six years later, the store was moved to Fernald Hall, where it remained for 50 years.
As the university expanded, so did the University Store Co., which moved into the current location in the Memorial Union in 1967. At first the Union location served as storage for merchandise and supplies, while textbooks were sold out of an annex in the parking lot of what is now the Collins Center for the Arts.
In 2001, all bookstore functions were consolidated to the Memorial Union location, and the modern University Bookstore was born. It has since continued to evolve to meet student needs. Textbook options now include rentals and eBooks, and the Computer Connection houses its store inside the University Bookstore.
Each year the bookstore donates proceeds from sales of specific items, such as the Holiday Ornament Series, to campus-sponsored student organizations. Other contributions from the store also regularly help to support fundraisers, volunteerism, alumni events and new student orientation.
“I have a wonderful staff,” Bookstore Manager Dick Young said. “All the work that the staff and the store do for the students and the community sometimes doesn’t get recognized.”
Colleen Gagnon, event coordinator for Friday’s celebration, has been employed by the bookstore for 31 years. She spoke fondly of the store and of the community,
“The Union is the center of the campus where students, faculty and the community all come to build relationships, and the bookstore is the center of the Union,” she said. “We love the students and the community, and we are so happy that they all came out to wish us a happy birthday.”
“The University Bookstore is proud of its heritage and accomplishments, but is quick to note that all thanks go to the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends for helping to make 100 years of service possible,” Young added. “It is through their support and open dialogue that the store is able to remain a worthwhile operation that is integral to the university mission at large.”