University of Maine at Machias to Hold 107th Annual Commencement
MACHIAS, Maine — The University of Maine at Machias will hold its 107th Commencement Ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 13 in the Reynolds Center gymnasium. One hundred and three students will graduate with degrees or program certificates.
The commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient will be Cathie Pelletier, award-winning novelist and songwriter who was born and raised in Allagash, Maine. She graduated from the University of Maine at Fort Kent with a Bachelor of Arts degree after which she left for Nashville in pursuit of a career as a songwriter. Two of her novels were made into films, and two have been optioned for future films. She has also co-written books with notable celebrities such as: country music icon, Tanya Tucker; Grand Ole Opry legend, Skeeter Davis; and legendary fiddler-singer, Doug Kershaw. Several of Pelletier’s songs have been recorded by singers and she has collaborated on songs with numerous Nashville songwriters. She served as Writer in Residence at UMM in spring 2014.
Susan Corbett is receiving the UMM Distinguished Achievement Award, Charley Martin-Berry is receiving the Distinguished Service Award, the Distinguished Alumnus Award will be presented to Heather Perry, Kelsi Bean Thompson will receive the Young Alumnus Award, and Ryan Economy is this year’s Ivy Orator.
Susan Corbett is the Chief Executive Officer at Axiom Technologies, a provider and advocate of fast, affordable, and reliable broadband services for rural communities. In 2005, Corbett joined Axiom Technologies as Chief Financial Officer. Under her leadership, the telecommunications company has designed and constructed more than 100 access points connecting more than 2,500 square miles in rural Maine. As an authority on rural broadband deployment, Corbett works closely with economic development and rural organizations to advance internet and wireless technologies and their adoption. Under her leadership, Axiom has received many awards, robust media coverage, and significant grants. Most recently, Axiom was awarded a Microsoft grant to provide internet access to homes in Washington County, Maine, using TV white space.
Charley Martin-Berry is director of the Community Caring Collaborative (CCC), an organization dedicated to nurturing collaboration in order to expand resources and opportunities that improve lives in Washington County. She participated in the CCC as a community partner from 2008 to 2012, as the coordinator and lead teacher for Passages, a high school diploma program for young parents. She joined the CCC staff in 2012, becoming director in 2016. A major focus for her has been the design, collaboration, and funding efforts for Family Futures Downeast, a two-generation education and workforce opportunity for families in Washington County. Marin-Berry also leads the CCC’s Hope Fund and Dream Funds, programs that help families access financial resources to reach their goals and realize their dreams. Charley was a member of the John T. Gorman Foundation’s Leadership program in 2015, and currently serves on the boards of directors for Axiom Education and Training Center and for Downeast Community Partners. A graduate of Washington Academy and the University of Maine, Charley has spent her life in Downeast, Maine, mostly working in the nonprofit sector. She currently lives in East Machias with her husband, Jacob, and daughter, Raven.
Heather Perry is Superintendent of Schools for the Gorham School Department in Gorham, Maine. She received her Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of Maine and her Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Maine at Machias. She is currently working on her doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Southern Maine. Perry chairs the Maine Superintendents’ Association Statewide Funding Committee and Certification Committee, and serves as a member of its Executive Board. She is a graduate of the Maine Development Foundation’s Education Leaders Experience, Alpha class. She chairs the Board of Good Will-Hinckley and sits on the Board of Directors of Jobs for Maine’s Graduates. Perry has also served as President of Penquis and Kennebec Regional Superintendents’ Association, Vice President of the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council, Trustee for the Moosehead Historical Society, and has chaired the National Rural Trust Finance Policy Committee.
Kelsi Bean Thompson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science from the University of Maine at Machias, an Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services from Eastern Maine Community College, and will be graduating this spring as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. She believes that students from high poverty backgrounds and public universities should have the same access to medical schools that students from wealthier communities and private colleges have. Thompson worked closely with public universities in Maine to create a statewide program to help support Maine students from diverse backgrounds in accomplishing their goals to become physicians. The service is free for aspiring medical students, and the mentors volunteer their time. Bean has secured a residency position in internal medicine, and plans to specialize as a cardiologist
Ryan Economy is UMM’s 2018 Ivy Orator. The Ivy Oration is an honored tradition at UMM. Each spring a member of the senior class, chosen by his or her peers, presents an oration at the Honors Convocation and Commencement on behalf of graduating seniors. This oration honors their UMM friendships, the wisdom and knowledge that they have gained during college, and their hopes for the future. Economy graduated from Medomak Valley High School in 2014, and he just received a bachelor’s degree in environmental recreation and tourism management with a concentration in leisure programming and a minor in counseling.
Members of UMM’s area communities are welcome to attend.