FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington is proud to announce that Daniel Gunn, UMF professor emeritus of English, will be the Commencement Speaker for the Class of 2021 virtual celebration. The University is presenting a pre-recorded, virtual Commencement ceremony the morning of Saturday, May 8, that will be available to the public at 10:30 a.m. on the UMF website and on YouTube. Links can be found at https://www.umf.maine.edu/commencement-2021/.
The virtual Commencement ceremony will feature a live, pre-recorded marching of 186 graduates led by class officers to traditional bagpipe music. Graduates will receive their diplomas from Edward Serna, UMF president, and Eric Brown, UMF provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
The procession will take place in historic Nordica Auditorium in Merrill Hall on the UMF campus and will feature a pre-recorded welcome address by President Serna and greetings from University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy and Board of Trustee Chair James Erwin.
A much-loved and respected colleague, student mentor, advisor, and friend, Gunn served the Farmington University for more than 40 years.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to speak to these students, many of whom I know well, and all of whom I admire for their courage and resilience under very difficult circumstances during the past year,” said Gunn.
During his time teaching, he offered courses in the English novel, the 18th century, Shakespeare, James Joyce and many other areas. He also served as Faculty Senate chair, chair of the humanities division, acting dean of arts and sciences and interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.
His professional contributions include critical essays on Jane Austen, George Eliot, James Joyce, Samuel Richardson, Henry James and other novelists in distinguished academic journals, including Narrative, Nineteenth-Century Literature, James Joyce Quarterly and Eighteenth-Century Fiction.
He has also published occasional essays in the Georgia Review, the Iowa Review, the Ohio Review and other magazines.
Recently retired, Gunn continues to teach one course in literary analysis and Interpretation each year.
The National Anthem will be sung by graduating senior Mariah Anne Bonneau from Skowhegan, a business psychology major.
Graduating senior, Billie Rose Newby from Wilmington, Delaware, will give the student address. A creative writing and English major, Newby was drawn to UMF for its notable creative writing program but also loves the outdoor activities offered by the rural setting.
During her four years at UMF, she has been very involved with the campus community serving on the executive board of the Student Theater at UMF organization, as a teaching assistant in creative writing, and a co-editor of the Sandy River Review. She has also served as president of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society, and works for the University Conferences and Events office.
“This has been an extraordinary year, but our class is an extraordinary class,” said Newby. “We have done our best to rise to the occasion with every challenge, to come together, make a difference, and now to celebrate our success. I couldn’t be prouder.”
After college, she plans to work in film production for animated television as well as developing her own personal creative writing projects, including a flash fiction web-series, a book of short-stories and serial narrative podcasts.