FREEDOM, Maine — When Tyler Hadyniak walks into a Bangor conference room on July 9 for his first meeting as a member of the University of Maine board of trustees, he may be a little jet-lagged.
Hadyniak will have been back in the U.S. barely a day from a nearly two-month stay in Germany, where he expects to have completed three college courses.
Just last weekend, he attended the Maine Republican Party convention as a Ron Paul supporter.
It’s a hectic life for the 19-year-old, but one he takes in stride. And though he may be a little bleary-eyed at that trustee meeting, Hadyniak already has some ideas about how to improve the state university system and maybe Maine’s economy.
Hadyniak, a 2011 graduate of Mount View High School in Thorndike, is a political science major at the University of Maine at Farmington. He also plans to earn a minor degree in history.
And early in his college career, he already has made a significant mark: He was appointed recently to serve as the sole student representative to the University of Maine System board of trustees. Each of the seven colleges in the system nominate a student, and the Farmington student leadership and its faculty adviser recommended Hadyniak.
He’s the first representative chosen from the Farmington campus in 10 years and the first freshman to be selected in 25 years, Hadyniak was told. Gov. Paul LePage chose him from among the seven nominees.
“It’s very humbling,” he said Thursday in an interview at his grandmother’s house at the end of the gravel Beaver Ridge Road, where views from the deck take in the White Mountains. His twin brother, Kyle, who just completed his freshman year at the University of Maine in Orono, also joined in the conversation. Kyle is considering majoring in journalism.
The brothers decided after 13 years of being in the same schools and the same circle of friends — and, in recent years, on the same club hockey team — to part ways for college.
While Kyle is unshaven and dressed casually, Tyler is neatly groomed and wearing a dress shirt.
Tyler already has accomplished much — he expects to have 57 college credits when he returns to Farmington in the fall, the result of successfully completing Advanced Placement courses in high school, taking a higher course load in college and the three courses he plans to complete this summer. Two of those courses will be at a university in Berlin, studying the Cold War and the European Union.
Hadyniak anticipates a fascinating contrast in the Cold War course with the version offered at UMF.
“There’s no better place to study the Cold War than Berlin,” he said.
Though Hadyniak is not a member of any political party, he is a member of the UMF college Republicans.
“I’m a Ron Paul supporter,” said Hadyniak, who said he was moved to attend the GOP state convention last week.
He was less than impressed with what he observed.
“It was disgusting to see that kind of partisanship,” he said. Paul supporters manipulated the rules, Hadyniak believes, to land their candidate delegates.
“It really irked me. On Sunday, people just walked out” in apparent disgust over the gamesmanship, he said. “It was embarrassing to me because it’s giving the Ron Paul people a bad name. No matter how this works out, there’s going to be finger-pointing in all directions.”
Hadyniak likes Paul’s fiscal and noninterventionist policies, he said.
“He actually has a plan to cut down the deficit and he has the will to do it,” he said.
Politics remain on the agenda as Hadyniak plans to volunteer later in the summer to help Republican Maine House of Representatives candidate Lisa Keim in House District 93.
Though decidedly conservative in his politics, Hadyniak’s views on other issues are not so easily categorized. He sides with university faculty and staff in their contract dispute with the system and worries about congressional Republicans’ reluctance to limit student loan interest rates.
Hadyniak had considered a career teaching social studies but now believes he will pursue graduate school. He may follow in his mother’s footsteps by going to law school. She is a manager at Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services.
The one idea Hadyniak plans to bring to the table for the university trustees is to expand graduate school offerings. The system grants now about 1,000 graduate degrees each year, most at UMaine and the University of Southern Maine, with a small number granted at UMF.
Hadyniak argues that many young men and women who earn undergraduate degrees leave the state for graduate work and never return. He hopes to stay in Maine, perhaps after more travel. Brother Kyle is quicker to say he wants to settle in the state although he too plans a scholastic trip to Bulgaria.
Even though both young men have European travel in their futures, they seemed comfortable hanging out with their grandmother Sallyann Hadyniak at her log home on a rainy afternoon.