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University of Maine at Machias President Cynthia Huggins Retiring After 10 Years at the Helm This December

BANGOR, MAINE – University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page announced today that University of Maine at Machias President Cynthia Huggins intends to retire at the end of December 2014. President Huggins has successfully led the Washington County university since 2005 and has been on campus since joining the faculty as an Assistant English Professor in 1997. She also served a brief stint as UMM’s Acting Vice President of Academic Affairs.

President Huggins announced her plans to retire on campus as part of her Welcome Back Breakfast for University Employees at 9:00 AM on Thursday, August 28. Following her retirement, President Huggins plans to join the editing business owned by Laurel Robinson, her life partner, and finally finish writing a book manuscript that she set aside back in 2005.

Chancellor Page also announced today that he would be working with President Huggins and her team over the next several months to develop an ongoing leadership plan for the university.

Important developments at the University of Maine at Machias under President Huggins leadership have included:

  • The adoption of an Environmental Liberal Arts focus, incorporated into the university’s mission statement in 2011. UMM is the only public ELA College in New England. All students complete The Maine Coastal Odyssey, a set of four unique, interdisciplinary core ELA courses that apply the traditional liberal arts to issues of environmental and community sustainability.
  • A reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 44 percent over a seven-year period.
  • The launching of Sunrise Education Pathways, a UMM program that provides tailored academic counseling and services to adult learners in Washington County.
  • Expansion of UMM’s Early College Program, which serves almost one hundred students throughout Washington County. Students can complete as many as 24 UMM college credit hours while still in high school, with a 50 percent tuition reduction.
  • New academic programs in Book Arts and GIS, plus three fully online degree programs.
  • MESSY, the Machias Environmental Summer Session for Youth, a successful residential summer camp that teaches middle school students the basics of environmental stewardship.

“President Huggins has been a strong leader for the University of Maine at Machias and a good fit for the region,” said Chancellor Page. “Working with her dedicated faculty and staff, Cindy has improved access to education programs for students and been an important partner in community and economic initiatives throughout Downeast Maine. She has also been a valued and effective voice for her campus and for public higher education throughout the State.”

“It has been such an honor to serve as UMM’s president for the past decade,” said President Huggins. “This is a very special university, with exceptional staff and faculty who care deeply about our students and consistently do everything possible to support and encourage them. I am very proud of what we have accomplished, working together as a team to keep postsecondary education accessible, affordable, and relevant to the good people of Washington County and throughout eastern Maine.”

“Our rural universities are an important part of Maine’s system of higher public education,” said University of Maine Board Chair Samuel Collins. “Thanks to President Huggins and her team the University of Maine at Machias set a great example of how our institutions can innovate to meet the needs of Maine students and taxpayers.”

Established in 1968, the University of Maine System is the state’s largest educational enterprise. It has an annual enrollment of nearly 40,000 students and serves over 500,000 individuals annually through educational and cultural offerings. Two-thirds of its alumni—approximately 120,000 people—live in Maine. The University of Maine System features seven universities—some with multiple campuses—located across the state, as well as eight University College outreach centers, a law school, an additional 31 course sites, and Cooperative Extension. For more information, visit www.maine.edu.