Sunrise Senior College Presents $1000 Gift to UMM

Sunrise Senior College, which is affiliated with the University of Maine at Machias, has made a gift of $1,000 toward renovations of UMM’s Performing Arts Center.

Tom Finlay, president of the board of directors for Sunrise Senior College, presented the check to UMM President Dr. Cynthia Huggins last week.

“The best way to secure (further) funding (through state, federal and grant sources) for the renovation of the PAC is to show local support,” Finlay said. “In recognition of this, at the sixth annual meeting of the Sunrise Senior College, we voted unanimously to make a gift of $1,000 to the University of Maine at Machias in support of renovations to the Performing Arts Center.

“We hope this will only be the beginning.”

Sunrise Senior College’s annual meeting took place in April, and was attended by nearly 100 members. Intended for a community of learners ages 50 and older, the College has more than 300 members from dozens of Washington County communities.

Sunrise Senior College members recognize UMM’s Performing Arts Center as “a focal point for the University, the local community and even for all of Washington County,” Finlay said.

The PAC is home for numerous events, including UMM theater and musical performances every fall and spring. It also is a second home for community offerings, such as Downriver Theatre and MYSTI (Maine Youth Shakespeare Theatre Institute) shows in the summer. The new Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony Orchestra performs at the PAC each fall and spring, too.

Sunrise Senior College, which uses UMM’s Science 102 lecture hall for its winter film series, would like to host more events – possibly a music series.-- in the Performing Arts Center .

Built in 1983, the PAC was converted from UMM’s old basketball venue. The theater now faces renovations because it still has its original curtains, carpeting and seating. The facility seats more than 350 people.

“There are so many ways to put this $1,000 gift to use,” said Arthur Hill, UMM’s theater director. “The PAC needs a cosmetic revival, and we are grateful to Sunrise Senior College for supporting this project.”

Earlier this year, UMM student Jessica Harrington of Steuben took a class in grant writing. Her proposal for $15,000 worth of new curtains for the PAC was funded, and the Sunrise Senior College’s $1,000 gift will move PAC renovations that much more ahead.

Now in its sixth year, Sunrise Senior College offers more than 25 classes each spring, summer and fall. UMM provides classroom space, as well as administrative assistance from Naida Pennell in the Office of Community Education and Outreach..

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