UMaine Hutchinson recognizes scholarship recipients at annual luncheon

Posted:  Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 2:15pm
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Story Location:
80 Belmont Ave.
Belfast  Maine  04915
United States

BELFAST — Students and scholarship committee members and donors had the opportunity to meet and share stories Dec. 13 during UMaine Hutchinson Center's fifth annual scholarship luncheon.

Dr. Jeff Mills, president and CEO of the University of Maine Foundation, welcomed the group, saying that the community is fortunate to have the Fred Hutchinson Center facility in Belfast. The Foundation manages approximately $200 million in scholarships and $50 million in endowments, according to Mills.

"Since I came back in July, I have put 22,000 miles on my car and found that the American dream consists of owning your own home and being able to send your kids to college and being able to go to college yourself," said Mills. "I am pleased to be able to help make some of those dreams come true."

In addition to recognizing the scholarship recipients, Thursday's luncheon was an opportunity to add the Belfast Rotary Club to the scholarship donor plaque recognizing organizations and people who have contributed $10,000 or more to UMaine Hutchinson Center scholarships. Representing Rotary was Rotarian and Belfast Rotary Scholarship Committee Chairman Lee Woodward, who said that club founder, Manley Rogers, was formerly director of admissions at West Point Academy and that leadership and service are important mottos to both West Point and Rotary.

Beginning in 2000, Belfast Rotary has administered the Andrew J. Kuby Jr. scholarship fund, which each year gives two $500 scholarships to Hutchinson Center students. Woodward said that Rotary scholarship recipients are student leaders who may not have the highest GPA, but exhibit qualities that make them true leaders.

"We wanted to recognize those traits with a scholarship," said Woodward. "As Rotarians we do a lot of service work, but it's amazing what some of the local 16- and 17-year-olds do to serve their communities. We often feel small next to them and we recognize them for the work they do."

Also speaking Thursday was Carol Robbins of Searsmont, who spoke on behalf of the Hutchinson Center Scholarship Committee and donors.

"It's appropriate to have this annual luncheon at the holiday season because it is the gift-giving season," said Robbins.

"Scholarships are not only a gift to take a course, but they are a gift of education, which is a lifelong gift. It is something you can never lose, it never breaks, is never taken away. It's a gift that keeps on giving. It gives not only to the recipient, but to their family and their community, so it is all encompassing," said Robbins. "So thank-you to the donors for making that happen."

Lynnette Walauski, a mother of six children, said that being chosen as a recipient of the Midcoast AAUW scholarship gave her the confidence, and ultimately the experience and the drive to persevere.

"I learned that, yes, I am smart enough to go to college and I really like it," said Walauski. "College no longer seems like a foreign idea to my daughter now, and it's because she has seen me walk in this path."

Patricia Libby said that for her, the Graduate Assistant scholarship was not a gift, but something she had to earn, and something she had to be cajoled into pursuing. Libby is also a mother, of four, and recently decided she was not busy enough with family and community responsibilities and needed to go to graduate school.

She said she wanted to speak at the luncheon and tell her story so the Hutchinson Center's donors would have an idea of what a typical student goes through to get there.

"Year one of my three-year program was my transition from a fulltime mom to graduate student. I had been in the business world for 15 years then took seven years off to be with my children. As my youngest was entering kindergarten in the summer of 2010, that day I picked up the phone and was greeted by a very enthusiastic and friendly voice on the other end," said Libby. "It felt like I was talking to my mother. She totally understood and I felt so inspired and like, I can do this."

Libby said she hung up and thought she would pursue starting in a year. But that's not how it worked out. With lots of encouragement, Libby started school that fall, just a couple months after that first phone call.

Libby's biggest obstacle, she admitted, and the reason she thought she needed a year to prepare, was how to pay for school. College was not in her family's budget. But she soon learned about all the scholarships available and which ones she qualified for.

"I felt so supported and it was so inclusive working with everyone here," said Libby. "And after I applied, Nancy [Boyington] couldn't keep it from me any longer after she learned the fate of my application. She didn't want me to fret at home wondering if I was going to get the scholarship. She is so excited to know you're going to get a scholarship and come to school, she can't wait for the letter to arrive in the mail. It's such a reassuring thing."

The second phase of Libby's journey at the Hutchinson Center happened when she learned the following year that her son was going to college. How was she going to afford it for them both? She noticed an ad about a graduate assistant position at Hutchinson, but didn't think she qualified.

Neither did her teenage son, or his three friends over for dinner the night she told them she was considering applying.

"They all looked at me dumbfounded, and my son said, 'Mom, you have got to be kidding. How do you ever think you could be a grad tech at Hutchinson?'" said Libby.

"I told them, 'Whatever, I don't know, I can learn,'" she said. "And then he said, 'Don't embarrass yourself, do no apply."

So then, Libby said she avoided Boyington, who on the sidelines had been encouraging her to apply and cheering her on.

"It couldn't be done, avoiding her forever, and she encourage me again to apply despite what my son and his friends said," said Libby. "And I got the position."

Shortly after, the same group of teenagers was around her kitchen table and she told them she got the position at Hutchinson.

"Their jaws hit the floor, and one of them asked how I could get a job I didn't have the qualifications for," said Libby. "It was a great life lesson for me, and for the kids, as I told them it's not always what's on paper that counts, you just have to go and be yourself."

Boyington, who had been standing off to the side while Libby spoke, smiled broadly then and said, "The life lesson is that when you have the right person, you make the job fit them."

Another student who spoke Thursday was Virginia "Ginger" Wilson. Hutchinson Center Student Services Coordinator Jose Cordero described Wilson as an "inspirational student" for her willingness to continually take risks. Cordero also said that Wilson had broken the record for successfully taking the most classes in a semester.

"The semester always starts low for Ginger, with so much piled on her plate, but it always ends high. She keeps pushing through despite all her responsibilities, and I am humbled by what she has accomplished so far," said Cordero.

Wilson said she has done many things in her life, often because someone told her she couldn't do it. Having become a minister late in life, Wilson said she was happy to be at the Hutchinson Center "among you all because we've all taken chances."

Wilson described two trips she took to New Orleans after Katrina. The first trip she was helping conduct search and rescue and jumped off a truck, and broke her leg. She was sent home, but she wanted to go back.

"So I packed up the kids and a bunch of gifts for Christmas and my kids go to see first-hand what it is like to serve," said Wilson. "We also went to Kenya with my kids and got caught in the middle of a war. We adopted some kids who lost their parents and we have dedicated our lives to helping families there."

Wilson and her husband, Samwel Waithaka are both students at the Hutchinson Center. Wilson is attending on a Pete and Ann Bixler scholarship and Waithaka on United Mid-Coast Charities scholarship.

"I wanted to stay in Kenya and get a job, but I couldn't because I didn't have the right degree. So I am going to college to get that degree and go back to my babies," said Wilson

The Hutchinson Center Scholarship Committee includes Ann Bixler, Nancy Boyington, Jose Cordero, Mary Frenning, Terri Mahoney, Sue McCullough, Carol Robbins and Larry Theye. Staff include Boyington, Cordero, McCullough, Robert Blanchard, Jason Baack, Dianna Herbert, Erica Hughes, Diana McSorley, Andrea Rouillard and Molly Schauffler. Student employees include Rebecca Furrow, Wanda Ferguson, Kate Lindelof, Nandrea Patterson and Lynn Walauski. Gradue assistant is Patricia Libby.

Andrew E. Kuby Jr. Memorial scholarship (Belfast Rotary Scholarship Fund)
$500 Belfast Rotary scholarship is awarded to one student in both the Fall and Spring semesters (not available in the Summer semester). Scholarship is awarded at the beginning of the semester. The reimbursement check will be available upon completion of the course at the end of the semester by submission of the grade to Belfast Rotary Scholarship Committee. The Rotary Club values the ideals of personal character, academic achievement and service to the community and looks for these qualities in its awardees.
• Benjamin Bucklin
• Diane Thorpe

Annual Fund scholarship
The purpose of the Fund is to assist Maine residents in need as they pursue their college education through the University of Maine Hutchinson Center. This is for a UMaine, Orono, undergraduate or graduate course offered in Belfast at the Hutchinson Center. UMCC provides funds to help the needy in the midcoast for community educational services, including scholarships.
• Jessica Cutliffe
• Tami Miles
• Michael Nugent
• Christopher Stephenson

Annual-Art Scholar scholarship
The purpose of the Fund is to assist Maine residents in need as they pursue their college education through the University of Maine Hutchinson Center. This is for a UMaine, Orono, undergraduate or graduate course offered in Belfast at the Hutchinson Center. UMCC provides funds to help the needy in the midcoast for community educational services, including scholarships.
• Adele Drake

Best of the Best scholarship
The purpose of the Fund is to assist Maine residents in need as they pursue their college education through the University of Maine Hutchinson Center. This is for a UMaine, Orono, undergraduate or graduate course offered in Belfast at the Hutchinson Center. UMCC provides funds to help the needy in the midcoast for community educational services, including scholarships.
• Dayne Beckett
• Rebecca Ditano
• Rhonda Fowlie
• Donna Nielsen
• Birgitta Polson
• Pamela Simpkins

Graduate Assistant scholarship
• Patricia Libby

Midcoast AAUW scholarship
Awarded annually; first scholarship awarded in Spring 2011. For a first time college student or one who has been out of college for a while, to cover the cost of one initial college class (including tuition, fees, books and required materials).
• Maggie Raymond
• Lynette Walauski

Pete and Ann Bixler scholarship
Pete and Ann Bixler have lived on the Maine coast for 40 years. Holding Sc.D. and MA degrees respectively, they have experienced the benefits a strong educations brings. They have also seen the negative effects of a weak education, especially for working people in the Midcoast area. Their scholarship is aimed to help make the University of Maine programs at the Hutchinson Center available to all through financial aid.
• Antonio Giacomuzzi
• Virginia Wilson

Seaport Family Practice Health Professional scholarship
An annual award for an adult returning to school for a career in the health professions. The recipient need not have the highest GPA or greatest financial needs, but must exhibit qualities that are necessary for success in a health career: compassion, curiosity, humility, determination, sense of humor, and a willingness to work with others. First award in 2012.
• Dayne Beckett

Senior College at UMaine Hutchinson Center scholarship
The Senior College at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center offers two $1,000 scholarships each year to a Maine resident over the age of 35 who is taking classes at the Hutchinson Center and is in need of financial assistance. Senior College recognizes the value of continuing education for adults and the financial strain this can create.
• Donna Nielsen
• Michelle Wilbur

Shirley and Ronald Jarvella scholarship
Shirley and Ronald know the struggles families have balancing the many facets of their lives. Ron and Shirley have chosen their scholarship to benefit those who are raising their family alone, yet know the value and importance of a college education. Eligible recipients include: single head of household (single mom or dad with children).
• Jessica Cutliffe
• Marcy Marriner

United Mid-Coast Charities scholarship
The purpose of the Fund is to assist Maine residents in need as they pursue their college education through the University of Maine Hutchinson Center. This is for a UMaine, Orono, undergraduate or graduate course offered in Belfast at the Hutchinson Center. UMCC provides funds to help the needy in the midcoast for community educational services, including scholarships.
• Benjamin Bucklin
• Jessica Cutliffe
• William Harmon
• Donna Nielsen
• Michael Nugent
• Maggie Raymond
• Pamela Simpkins
• Samwel Waithaka

UMaine Hutchinson Center scholarship
Fred Hutchinson grew up in Atkinson, Maine and served as the President of the University of Maine from 1992-1997. He credits his education at the University of Maine with making a difference in his life and has chosen to offer this scholarship to pass the opportunity on to those who follow him. Eligible recipients are first-time undergraduate students.
• Rhonda Fowlie
• Marcy Marriner
• Diane Thorpe