MACHIAS, Maine — The University of Maine at Machias will award degrees to more than 80 students at its 103rd commencement at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 17, in the Frederic A. Reynolds Center.
The University also will honor several distinguished guests during the ceremony.
Cathie Pelletier, who has served this semester as UMM’s first Visiting Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing in Residence, will deliver the keynote address. According to President Cindy Huggins, “It has been wonderful to have Cathie on campus with us this semester. She brings such energy and creativity to everything that she does, whether in crafting a novel or teaching a classroom full of aspiring writers. We are honored that she has agreed to serve as our commencement speaker this year.”
Ms. Pelletier is a Maine native and author of 12 critically acclaimed novels, nine of which were penned under her own name. Two of Cathie’s novels received notable mentions from the New York Times Book Review. Her work has won the New England Booksellers Award, the 2006 Paterson Prize for Fiction, and the Bernie Schweid Award from Tennessee Booksellers. Under the pseudonym of K. C. McKinnon, she has written two novels, both of which were translated into multiple languages and made into television movies starring Jacqueline Bisset and Alicia Silverstone. She is currently visiting libraries and schools with her first middle grade novel, The Summer Experiment. Her next adult novel, A Year After Henry is due this August.
She has also co-written books with numerous music legends, including Tanya Tucker, Skeeter Davis and Doug Kershaw. Her songs have been recorded by David Byrne, the Texas Tornadoes, the Glaser Brothers, and others.
UMM will present its Distinguished Alumni Award posthumously to Elizabeth Tibbetts, a Machias native and a 1937 graduate of the University. Mrs. Tibbetts taught at schools in Hancock, Ellsworth, Castine and Orono, Maine, and in Lexington, Massachusetts. She served as an elementary school supervisor for twenty-seven years, and she was very active in numerous community organizations.
Mrs. Tibbetts was a beloved friend of the University of Maine at Machias. She remained involved with the University, regularly attending campus events and remaining active in the Alumni Association, until the end of her life. Upon her death, Mrs. Tibbetts bequeathed two hundred acres of beautiful land to the University in honor of her parents, H. Clifford and Kathleen M. DeShon, who were also an integral part of the campus community for many years.
UMM is proud to announce that Machias’ Thomas Boutureira is the very first recipient of the Young Alumni Award. Tom will deliver the keynote address at this year’s Senior Dinner on the evening prior to Commencement. Tom Boutureira, who earned his bachelors degree in environmental studies in 1999, is the New England Field Representative for The Conservation Fund. Tom previously held the positions of Executive Director of the Downeast Coastal Conservancy and Executive Director of the Great Auk Land Trust. From 2003 to 2005 he worked as a rural natural resource volunteer with the United States Peace Corps in Vallegrande, Bolivia. He was then invited to work as a technical specialist for the Peace Corps Natural Resource Management Program in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where he served until he returned to Machias in 2007.
Tom’s earlier experiences include working as a conservation organizer with the Sierra Club, trail steward and operations assistant at Little Lyford Pond Camps in the 100 Mile Wilderness of the Appalachian Trail, watershed field assistant with the Maine Department of Conservation, and native pollinator researcher for Downeast blueberry growers.
Heidi Brown Lynn, from Jonesport, was selected by the Senior Class to present the Ivy Oration at the UMM Honors Convocation earlier this month. A graduating senior in the English, Creative Writing, and Book Arts program with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in counseling, Heidi will deliver the Ivy Oration again as part of the commencement program.
UMM’s commencement ceremony is open to the public. For more information about commencement activities, contact Amy Lentz at 255-1210.