Gathering celebrates UMF president’s career, legacy
FARMINGTON - Guests gathered beneath blue skies and the red-brown brick of the Alumni Theatre Thursday afternoon, celebrating the career of the University of Maine at Farmington's longest-serving president since the school became a four-year university in 1945.
Theodora Kalikow will officially retire in a couple of weeks, after serving 18 years as the university's president. Kathryn Foster, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C who previously worked at the University of Buffalo, was appointed by the UM system's board of trustees to be UMF's next president in April. Kalikow announced her retirement in September 2011.
"At some level we were hoping this day would never come," Daniel Gunn, vice president of academic affairs, said before introducing the other speakers.
The event was held outside the Emery Community Arts Center, just the latest of a series of facility improvements, renovations and construction projects completed under Kalikow's watch.
Guests at the event represented the wide array of systems that UMF touches; public and private, state and municipal, professors and alumni, as well as educators of every sort. Spokespeople for Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Olympia Snowe and Rep. Michael Michaud relayed both official and private congratulations to Kalikow.
State Sen. Tom Saviello wished the president well on her next efforts; Kalikow will be working on special projects within the UM system for two years. Those efforts will include concentrating on improving access to higher education for Maine students and collaborating with business leaders and UMS officials to expand economic development in the state.
"You're not really retiring," Saviello said, "because I know you too well, but starting a new adventure."
Town Manager Richard Davis presented Kalikow with a ceremonial key to the city, saying she had "done more to bring recognition to Farmington than any other force."
F. Celeste Branham, vice president of community services, read a statement from incoming president Foster, congratulating Kalikow and thanking her for helping "pass the baton" to a new chief administrator.
"It's especially good to hear these things while you're still alive," Kalikow quipped, giving a warm and at times hilarious farewell to members of UMF's administration, as well as the students, professors, staff of the university and the community itself.