Memo #1: Overview of Project Activities and Timeline Harold Alfond Foundation $240 Million Grant Initiatives

February 25, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

We write to invite you to think about how you and your university can be involved in UMS Transforms, which is the name we’ve given to the collection of strategic projects funded by the Harold Alfond Foundation’s unprecedented $240 million grant to the University of Maine System (UMS) in October 2020.

Over the coming months we will regularly write memos like this one to update you about the work taking place to implement the UMS Transforms initiatives. These memos are designed to update you on what’s happening, provide you with opportunities to express your interest in the initiatives, indicate your interest in getting involved, and suggest ideas that can deepen and expand the work already underway in the many dimensions of this program. Regular updates and additional information are online. Each of the four project areas will provide regular updates, announcements, and information on that site regularly.

UMS has committed to raising an additional $170 million in match over the next decade. Watch for our UMS Transforms Memo #2, coming next week, which will describe how you can help and be part of the match efforts.

UMS Transforms consists of four primary initiatives, summarized below. The grant period for the Harold Alfond Foundation grant funding spans the next 12 years, but implementation of the initiatives has already begun, and we have ambitious five-year outcomes, goals, and benchmarks. Contact the leads and co-leads listed here directly if you have ideas, questions, or interests in being involved in any of these areas. Initiative leaders are building the project teams and detailed work and funding plans for 2021.

To Learn More, Please View the Welcome to UMS Transforms Video (External Site)

confident students in business attire $55 million for the Maine Graduate & Professional Center

Supporting faculty, scholarships, integrated program development across business, law, public policy and graduate engineering, computing, and information science ($15 million); and a state-of-the-art building in Portland to house the University of Maine Graduate & Professional Center programs and Maine Law, and to serve as a center for collaboration and engagement to help attract and expand businesses and strengthen the Maine economy ($40 million). UMS will raise and obtain an additional $50 million in match for this initiative over 10 years.

Lead: Leigh Saufley, Dean, University of Maine Law School
Co-leads: Glenn Cummings, President, University of Southern Maine
Faye Gilbert, Executive Dean, Maine Business School, University of Maine
Terry Sutton, CEO, Maine Center Ventures

a group of engineers in hard hats and safety vests looking at laptop computer$75 million for a statewide multi-university Maine College of Engineering, Computing and Information Science to be cooperatively led by the University of Maine

Providing additional faculty, scholarships, and undergraduate engineering and computing opportunities at the University of Maine (UMaine) and University of Southern Maine (USM); UMaine graduate engineering and computer science programs offered in Portland; expanded pathways into the statewide college from all UMS universities, community colleges, and K-12; new opportunities for shared programs, interdisciplinary structures and partnerships; and further renovations or replacement of UMaine’s engineering and computing education infrastructure alongside the Ferland Engineering Education and Design Center (External Site) currently under construction at the University of Maine. UMS will raise and obtain an additional $75 million in match for this initiative over 10 years.

Lead: Dana Humphrey, Dean, College of Engineering, University of Maine
Co-leads: Penny Rheingans, Director, School of Computing and Information Science, University of Maine
Jeremy Qualls, Dean, College of Science, Technology, and Health, University of Southern Maine

group of jubilant graduates $20 million for student success and retention

Funding for three programs to be piloted at the University of Maine and expanded across the University of Maine System (UMS) that include research learning opportunities for first- and second-year undergraduate students; a gateways to success initiative to expand learning assistance and curricular redesign to reduce failure rates and improve retention in “gateway” STEM courses; and a pathways-to-careers program to expand access to credit-bearing internships and other experiential learning opportunities System-wide. UMS will raise and obtain an additional $25 million in match for this initiative over 10 years.

Lead: John Volin, EVPAA and Provost, University of Maine
Co-lead: Deb Hedeen, President and Provost, University of Maine at Fort Kent

Area leads:

Research Learning:
Ali Abedi, AVPR and Director CUGR, University of Maine; Heather Leslie, Director, Darling Marine Center, University of Maine

Gateway Courses:
Emily Haddad, Dean CLAS, University of Maine; Jeremy Qualls, Dean CSTH, University of Southern Maine

Pathways to Careers:
Becky Wyke, President, University of Maine at Augusta; Renee Kelly, Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development, University of Maine

group of student athletes playing basketball $90 million for Division I athletic facilities at the University of Maine and the well-being of Maine people

Providing support to maintain excellence in the state’s only Division I athletics program, advance gender equity, and provide a preferred destination for high school sports championships, large academic fairs and competitions, and community events. All of the university’s students and people from throughout Maine will be able to use the state-of-the-art athletic and convening venues at the state’s flagship university in Orono. UMS will raise and obtain an additional $20 million in match for this initiative over 10 years.

Lead: Ken Ralph, Athletic Director, University of Maine
Co-lead: Judith Rosenbaum, Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism, University of Maine

Chancellor Dan Malloy is the executive lead for the entire project. University of Maine (UMaine) President Joan Ferrini-Mundy and University of Maine System (UMS) Chief of Staff and General Counsel Jim Thelen are co-PIs. UMaine VP and Chief of Staff Kimberly Whitehead is Project Director. UMS Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Ryan Low leads the Budget Committee; UMS Director of Public Affairs Dan Demeritt heads up the Communication Team; and UMaine Foundation President Jeff Mills, USM Foundation President and CEO Ainsley Wallace, and UMaine Senior Advisor to the President and Director of Research Development Jason Charland co-lead the Fundraising and Match Committee.


Joan Ferrini-Mundy
Co-Principle Investigator
President, University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias

Jim Thelen
Co-Principle Investigator
Chief of Staff to the Chancellor, UMS General Counsel