BANGOR, Maine — Prominent Bangor-area executive and alumnus Edward O. Darling and his wife Mary Ellen were recognized Monday at a ceremony on the campus of Husson University with the renaming of the first floor of the Living/Learning Center building in their honor. It 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 Robert A. Clark, CFA, president and chief executive officer, according to a university press release.
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.
Ed Darling began his automotive career in Connecticut, and in 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 prominent central Maine 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, Ed Darling was a member of the National Toyota Council, an organization that represents 72 New England auto dealerships.
When asked why he chose to support Husson University, according to the press release, Darling said, “A degree is more than just four years of education and a diploma. It is the foundation of your 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.”
Both Darlings have served prominent roles in the community. Ed Darling’s service has included stints as the chairman 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 Darling served as co-chairman of the restoration campaign at St. John’s. In November of 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 Darling has served for several years on the John Bapst Memorial High School Board of Directors.
The Edward O. and Mary Ellen Darling Learning Center will provide advanced educational facilities to both Husson University and New England School of Communications (NESCom) students. As a campus educational nexus, the Center will promote advanced scholarship, learning and the pursuit of excellence.
“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,” Husson President Clark said according to the Husson press release.