BANGOR, Maine — The latest inductees into the Husson University Alumni Hall of Fame earned their degrees 25 years apart and took very career different paths in vastly divergent fields.
Donald P. White, 59, of Bangor is president of Prentiss and Carlisle Co., a timber management firm. Dr. Jessica B. House, 35, of Lincoln is a third-year resident in the family medicine program at Eastern Maine Medical Center.
The ceremony was held Saturday at the Gracie Theatre as part of Husson’s homecoming events over the weekend.
Both agreed in separate interviews Friday that being named a Hall of Famer is flattering and that it demonstrates how fundamentally the fine education each received at Husson set them on what so far have been very successful journeys.
White, who was born and raised in Rumford, could be “the poster child” for Husson’s commitment to offering opportunities to first-generation college students with deep Maine roots.
“I went to Husson because I couldn’t afford to go anywhere else,” White, whose father died when he was young boy, said Friday. “I did pretty well on my SATs and Husson had a scholarship program.”
White said his high school guidance counselor helped him get enough financial aid so he could go to college.
“I was dating his daughter and I don’t know if he was trying to get me out of town or give me a hand,” White said. “The scholarship covered about 40 percent of my tuition and I had saved enough money working in high school to see to that I could make it through the first year.”
But Husson College in 1975 was not the university it is today. It was deeply in debt, its future uncertain. However, its teachers, White said, were “very dedicated.”
By the time House graduated in 2000 with a master’s in physical therapy, Husson was a very different school. It was on firm financial footing and had doubled the number of buildings on campus. It no longer was a college focused on business; it had added other majors in the fields including criminal justice and health care.
“Husson gave me such a massive boost that allowed me to achieve my goals,” she said Friday. “Because of my experience there, I know what I want to be when I grow up. It also taught me how to successfully use my talents and abilities to the success I want in life.”
House earned her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in 2009 and plans to practice medicine in her hometown.
White said that his accounting degree from Husson has served him well over the years.
“Husson is great at taking Maine kids who are from blue-collar families and giving them a shot,” he said. “I could probably be the poster child for that.”