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BANGOR – Presidential searches are underway for two openings within the University of Maine System.

Charles L. Johnson III of Hallowell, chair of the University System’s Board of Trustees, has announced the membership of the search committees that will review and recommend candidates for the respective presidencies of the University of Maine (UMaine) and the University of Maine at Machias (UMM). Both institutions currently are led by interim presidents: Robert A. Kennedy at UMaine and Sue A. Huseman at UMM.

"These institutions play important roles among Maine’s public universities," Johnson said. "As Maine’s flagship and land-grant university, UMaine is rising as a nationally prominent teaching and research university, and will benefit from a president with the vision, energy, and experience to take it to even greater heights.

"The University of Maine at Machias, meanwhile, is building on its reputation as a fine regional liberal arts school with a special emphasis on environmental and marine studies," Johnson continued. "We seek a leader who can capitalize on its roles and strengths to serve the needs of Downeast Maine and our state."

The UMaine search committee is seeking a replacement for Peter S. Hoff, who stepped down as UMaine’s President in August after seven years in that position. The search committee is chaired by James D. Mullen of Bangor, a member of the Board of Trustees and a Bangor-based business executive. He will be joined on the committee by fellow trustees Margaret A. Weston of Yarmouth and Lyndel J. Wishcamper of Freeport; faculty members Laura Cowan May, Knud Hermansen, and Susan Hunter; Robert Cobb, dean of UMaine’s College of Education & Human Development; UMaine staff members Robin Arnold and Mary Malone; UMaine student Ross Bartlett; Bion Foster, chair of the UMaine Alumni Association; and H. Allen Fernald, chair of the UMaine Board of Visitors.

The UMM search committee is seeking a replacement for John Joseph, who served as president for nearly three years until his sudden death in May 2003. The UMM search committee is chaired by Donald L. McDowell of Yarmouth, a member of the System’s Board of Trustees and a retired executive from both the higher education and healthcare fields. Trustees Jean M. Flahive of Eastport and Wickham Skinner of Tenants Harbor also will serve on the committee, along with UMM faculty members William Eckart, Michael Kimball, and Shallie Page; UMM registrar Mary Stover; UMM Student Senate President Molly Phipps; William Weaver, a UMM staff member; and UMM Alumni Association vice president Mary McFadden.

Johnson said he will soon appoint two additional committee members – one representing the UMM Board of Visitors and one representing UMM administrators. He will make those appointments after he receives nominations from the appropriate groups for those positions on the committee. The UMM Board of Visitors will meet in November and nominate their representative at that time.

With 11,358 students, UMaine is the largest school within the University of Maine System. Located in Orono and featuring an educational outreach center in Belfast, UMaine offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees and serves as the State’s primary research university. It also performs statewide public service and outreach, most notably through its Cooperative Extension program and its Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy.

Located in Machias, UMM has a student enrollment of 1,191 students. It offers bachelor’s degree programs as well as a small number of associate degree programs. UMM’s mission focuses on serving the needs of rural and coastal Maine. It participates in the Maine State Consortium, a newly established collaborative involving UMM, the University of Maine at Fort Kent, and the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

In a related matter, University of Maine System Chancellor Joseph W. Westphal announced that Dr. Cynthia E. Huggins, who currently serves as Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs at UMM, will succeed Huseman as Interim President, effective Jan. 1, 2005. Huggins, who holds a Ph.D in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has served as Associate Professor of English at UMM since 2003 and has been actively involved in a number of campus committees and initiatives.

"Vice President Huggins has been working closely with President Huseman over the past year and is well prepared for the transition," said Westphal. "I look forward to working with her in this new capacity."

Huseman previously announced that she would be stepping down as Interim President at the end of the 2004 calendar year.

Established in 1968, the University of Maine System is the State’s largest educational institution, with more than 34,000 students enrolled. It features seven universities – some with multiple campuses – located across the State, as well as 11 University College outreach centers and more than 100 interactive distance education sites. For more information, log onto