UMaine Foundation receives $100,000 Maine Day of Giving gift

ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine Foundation received a $100,000 gift to kick off the annual Maine Day of Giving event led by the foundation, according to Foundation President Jeffery Mills.

Donors Joe and Sue Cyr of Old Town have provided $50,000 to name a biomedical engineering prep lab in the Ferland Engineering Education and Design Center, $40,000 to support the MaineMBA program and up to $10,000 as a Maine Day of Giving matching challenge to support gifts to the Collins Center for the Arts.

“Over the course of our lives, we have had the opportunity to observe the countless services, contributions and good deeds made by the University of Maine Foundation to the citizens, students and local community, and Maine as a whole,” the Cyrs said. “We believe these actions should be recognized, rewarded and encouraged.”

Maine Day of Giving was created in 2016. UMaine alumni and friends unite from wherever they happen to be and support an area they love at the College of Our Hearts Always as their way to participate in the traditional annual UMaine day of service

The annual Maine Day tradition was established in 1935 by University of Maine president Arthur Hauck. He said that the day would help the campus, through work projects, become a more attractive place and foster the spirit of friendliness and cooperation — identified as the Maine spirit — and strengthen loyalty among people and to the university.

“The gift from the Cyrs exemplifies the Maine spirit fostered by President Hauck. Each area receiving support has a large impact on the greater community,” Mills said. “We are very grateful to Joe and Sue for this generous gesture and gifts they have provided previously.”

The engineering center and the MaineMBA program contributions will help UMaine to meet the matching requirements of the recently announced Harold Alfond Foundation grants.

“Support for UMaine engineering and MaineMBA is an investment in the state and its workforce, and aligns with our UMS TRANSFORMS initiative made possible by the Harold Alfond Foundation,” UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy said. 

“Joe and Sue Cyr are community leaders who have long been partners in helping UMaine advance its mission. We appreciate their vision and are grateful for their ongoing support,” she said.

Interim dean of the Graduate School of Business Faye Gilbert and College of Engineering dean Dana Humphrey agreed that gifts like these are critical to moving their programs forward and attaining the matching requirements of the Harold Alfond Foundation grants. They acknowledged that projects of this magnitude rely on the generosity of UMaine alumni and friends like the Cyrs.

The Collins Center for the Arts will use the funds to encourage others to support the center by matching their Maine Day of Giving donations with the Cyr gift. Collins Center has been closed to public performances for more than a year, and has been functioning as a classroom and COVID-19 testing facility to support the campus community during the pandemic.

Collins Center for the Arts executive director Danny Williams was very pleased to receive the Maine Day of Giving opportunity.

 “We are so very grateful to Joe and Sue for their generosity. Like the CCA itself, they have always been about community support and engagement. A gift of this magnitude is always something to be celebrated, but given the additional challenges the performing arts community has faced this past year, we are even more grateful for their generosity and support,” he said.

In 2020, the Maine Day of Giving effort was pivoted to raise funds for the Student Crisis Fund. More than $271,000 was raised to help students in need as a result of the pandemic. With this gift, the 2021 Maine Day of Giving is off to a great start to help raise money to support all areas across campus.

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