BANGOR, Maine — Prominent Bangor-area executive and alumnus Edward O. Darling and his wife Mary Ellen were honored Oct. 7 at a ceremony on the campus of Husson University. In recognition of the Darlings’ contributions to the success of the educational institution, Husson renamed the first floor of its living and learning center building in their honor. In the future, the building will be known as the Edward O. and Mary Ellen Darling Learning Center.
“Alumni like Ed and friends of the university like Mary Ellen are some of Husson’s greatest assets. Their support has been instrumental in transforming our four campuses into some of Maine’s most energetic and dynamic learning environments,” said Dr. Robert A. Clark, Husson University president and chief executive officer.
Edward O. Darling is best known in central and eastern Maine for his contributions to the automotive industry. In the Bangor area, residents know him as the owner of Down East Toyota-Scion in Brewer.
Darling began his automotive career in Connecticut, and Lincoln and Norridgewock, Maine, in the service and parts divisions of his family’s company. In 1968, he returned to Bangor to run his father’s auto dealership. Five years later, he moved their operations to Brewer. Today, the dealership features a 30,000-square-foot display room, an office building and an adjoining repair shop. Recognized as a leader in the automotive industry, Darling was a member of the National Toyota Council, an organization representing 72 New England auto dealerships.
When asked why he chose to support Husson University, Darling said, “A degree is more than just four years of education and a diploma. It is the foundation of all your future success. It’s knowledge and insight into life that you take with you wherever you go. The success I’ve experienced in my career and in my life is the result of the education I received at Husson University.”
Ed and Mary Ellen Darling believe in giving back to the community. Their community service includes stints as the chair of the St. Joseph Hospital board of directors and volunteer work on the church councils of St. John’s in Bangor and St. Joseph’s in Brewer. As part of this effort, Ed served as co-chairman of the restoration campaign at St. John’s. In November 1997, he received the Mother Angela Award in recognition of exemplary service to the community and to St. Joseph Healthcare. Eight years later, he received the Norbert X. Dowd Award, the highest honor the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce can bestow, in recognition of his community service.
Mary Ellen has served for several years on the board of directors at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor.
The Edward O. and Mary Ellen Darling Learning Center will provide educational facilities to Husson University and New England School of Communications students. As a campus educational nexus, the center will promote advanced scholarship, learning and the pursuit of excellence.
In considering the significance of the Darling’s gift, President Clark remarked, “Ed and Mary Ellen are superb examples of the character and values that have become associated with Husson University graduates. Not only do they achieve personal success through dedication and hard work, they go on to make important contributions to their communities — all in an effort to help others achieve success in their lives. The Darlings’ vision and generosity of spirit will impact countless students in the coming decades.”