UMaine graduates celebrated during the 2024 commencement ceremony

Brig. Gen. Diane Dunn, adjutant general of the Maine National Guard and commissioner of the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management, told the University of Maine’s newest graduates to continue an endless pursuit of knowledge, finding passion in had to live their work and their lives in the service of others.

“I know the words: learn, work and serve are vague, basic and deliberately very broad. We know you are all different, with amazing backgrounds and stories that allow you to apply these three words in your own unique way, at different times in your lives. But the simplicity of these three words leaves room to fill them all,” Dunn said during the speech for the 222nd Commencement ceremony on May 4.

Dunn, a UMaine alum, Maine native and first-generation college student, emphasized that attendees should feel a deep sense of satisfaction for the work they have done to get to this occasion.

“I feel compelled to share with others who sometimes question their own purpose – lesson of 2024 – you may not know what the next step is, but from this platform, with this entire arena listening, I will tell you what I told myself – you belong here, she said.

A photo collage of a student walking outside the UMaine fieldhouse and two student-athletes attending commencement

More than 2,100 bachelor’s and master’s students, including more than 50 PhD students, took part in the commencement ceremony in the Alfond Sports Arena on May 3 and 4. Nearly 10,000 spectators were present.

The start of the Graduate School was on May 3 with the address of alumna and professor emeritus at the University of Vermont Stephanie Seguino.

Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters were awarded to international leaders in the field of the development of new communications technology, Neera and Rajendra Singh.

Also honored were fellow valedictorians Michael Delorge of Biddeford, Maine and Lydia Gilmore of Bangor, Maine, as well as salutatorian Katelyn Amero of Mapleton, Maine.

The 2024 Distinguished Maine Professor Sandra Butler spoke of the support graduates undoubtedly received from others in their lives. In her speech, Butler said: “I hope you all give yourselves a pat on the back for reaching this milestone and make sure you give a hug to those who have helped you along the way.”

“To your support system on both sides of me, congratulations on sharing the glory today, and rightfully so. You are the parents who helped out financially and emotionally; the partners who took on more household duties; the children who saw their parents less than they would have liked; the grandparents, godparents, close friends and siblings who offered support in many ways,” said Butler, professor and director of the School of Social Work. “And graduates, you’ve needed that support, whether it was an offered meal, financial help when your car broke down, help understanding an assignment, or someone to take care of your children while you studied for a exam.”

A photo collage showing a student receiving a diploma from President Ferrini-Mundy and two students posing with their diplomas

Five Winners of the Presidential Awards were also recognized at the start: Lindsay Seward, associate professor of wildlife ecology, received the Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award; Brian McGill, professor of ecological modeling, received the Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award; Robert Glover, associate professor of political science and associate professor of honors, received the Presidential Public Engagement Achievement Award; Deborah Bouchard, associate professor, aquatic animal health specialist and director of the Aquaculture Research Institute, received the Presidential Innovation Award; and Nory Jones, professor of business information systems, received the Black Bear Award for Outstanding Impact.

Videos of the graduate school commencement ceremony May 3 morning commencement ceremony May 4 and the afternoon commencement ceremony May 4 are online.

Contact person: Shelby Hartin, [email protected]