UMFK graduates 227 on Saturday

FORT KENT, Maine — Family, friends and supportive community members filled the University of Maine at Fort Kent Sport Center as new graduates proudly accepted their diplomas during the university’s 136th commencement Saturday.

The Class of 2018 is comprised of 227 students, including 32 international students representing 14 different countries such as nearby Canada, China, Ghana and Serbia.

The university’s president, John Short, congratulated the graduates and described them as “social entrepreneurs … who will determine our future as well as theirs.”

Rep. John Martin encouraged the new graduates to use the knowledge they acquired during their university studies to try to make a positive difference.

“You need to participate in the world around you,” he said. “Because others are going to do it if you don’t. Become vocal in a cause you believe in to help change the world.”

Dr. Dora Anne Mills, who serves as vice president for clinical affairs and interim vice president for research and scholarship at the University of New England, was the commencement speaker. Mills said she was pleased that more than 100 graduates of the Class of 2018 earned their degrees in nursing.

Mills offered the graduates advice regarding guideposts she feels they should follow throughout their lives. Among them are embracing teamwork and collaboration and being adaptable to change.

“Better yet, be the change,” Mills said.

She shared a story about meeting Mother Teresa in Kolkata, India, where Mills had been providing medical care to patients in need. Mills said she felt guilty about returning to Maine to practice medicine after many years of working to help those in need overseas. Mills said Mother Teresa offered her some very thoughtful advice: “If where you’re going you will work with love and love your work, that is where you are called to go.”

Also at the ceremony, President Short presented Gregory P. Disy with a distinguished service award. Disy is chief executive officer of Aroostook Mental Health Services Inc.

Short thanked Disy or his “tireless efforts on behalf of providing and expanding critical mental health services to the people of Aroostook County.”

Katelyn E. Roy, who earned a bachelor of science degree in business, was the Class of 2018 valedictorian.

Following the ceremony the graduates and their supporters gathered on the lawn outside the Sport Center to celebrate and enjoy a free luncheon prepared by Sodexo.

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