Serena Dawn Gosbee of Sebago, Maine, was selected to give the student commencement speech. Gosbee, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications, was inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Earlier this spring, she was named the 2011 recipient of the Outstanding Senior in Communication Award. She is a 2005 graduate of Lake Region High School who transferred to USM from Southern Maine Community College. After graduation, she plans to continue working at AMEC Earth and Environmental in South Portland while exploring opportunities to work with children. Both of her parents, Robin Gosbee ’82, and the late Lane Gosbee ’03, graduated from USM.
Isle au Haut resident, best-selling author and swordfishing captain Linda Greenlaw delivered the keynote address at USM’s 131st Commencement. USM also awarded her an honorary degree in recognition for her contribution to the cultural heritage of the coast of Maine. Greenlaw first came to public attention in 1997 when she was one of the swordfish captains profiled in Sebastian Junger’s best-seller, The Perfect Storm. She is the author of four books about life as a commercial fisherman, The Hungry Ocean (1999 New York Times best-seller), The Lobster Chronicles (2002 New York Times best-seller), All Fishermen are Liars (2004 New York Times best-seller) and Seaworthy: A Swordboat Captain Returns to Sea. Time Magazine called her 2005 Recipes from a Very Small Island, co-authored with her mother Martha Greenlaw, a “must-have cookbook.” She also is featured in the Discovery Channel series Swords: Life on the Line.
Award-winning author Phillip Hoose of Portland advised graduates to learn from rejection, be adaptable, support the arts and to unplug their laptops during his keynote address at USM’s 130th Commencement ceremony. He was also presented with an honorary doctor of humane letters. Advocating they take time off from work, Hoose led the audience in a rendition of the Charlie King song, “Bring Back the Eight Hour Day.” Last November his book, “Claudette Clovin: Twice Toward Justice” received the National Book Award in the young readers category. In January, he received the Newbery Honor for a prominent contribution to literature for young readers.
Student commencement speaker Jared Karrer of Eliot is a member of the Maine National Guard, who expected to be in Iraq this semester. Speaking to the audience about the uncertainty he felt upon learning his battalion had been told to stand down, he stated, “Humility in the face of losing all control is empowering.” Karrer, a 2005 graduate of Marshwood High School, joined the Maine Army National Guard while still a senior in high school, and began his studies at USM in the fall of 2006. He served as the secretary of USM’s Bahai Campus Association.
John W. Hessler, senior cartographic librarian for the Library of Congress, discusses how Thoreau’s tracings of early North American maps shaped his thinking of the environment and the American wilderness. Hessler’s lecture, “Thoreau, his Maps, and his Image of Nature,” was the first public presentation of Hessler’s research.
10.16.09 John W. Hessler
The lecture kicked off a three-day celebration of the reopening of USM’s Osher Map Libray and Smith Center for Cartographic Education.
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Ellen Goodman gave the keynote address to about 1,500 graduates and their friends and family at USM’s 129th Commencement ceremony. She also received an honorary doctor of humane letters at the ceremony. Goodman is perhaps best known for her syndicated Boston Globe column that appears in over 300 newspapers. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary in 1980. Her books include Paper Trail: Common Sense in Uncommon Times (Simon & Schuster, 2004), and I Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women’s Lives co-written with Patricia O’Brien (Simon & Schuster, 2000).
Social work student Paige Emily Eclov, who was selected to present the student Commencement address, spoke on the importance of community work and contributing to society. While attending college, Eclov, of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, was actively involved in the community. She volunteered at the Preble Street soup kitchen, served as an Americorps Service Leader for Portland West, and was secretary and campaign head for PIRG (Public Interest Research Group). Her USM internships were at PROP’s (Peoples Regional Opportunity Program) Homelessness Prevention Program, and Little Brothers of the Elderly. She also made service trips to six different countries and is extensively involved in her church.
Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier turned human rights activist, speaks about his own experience as a child soldier in Sierra Leone and the greater effects of war on children. His story, told in his book A Long Way Gone: Memoir of a Boy Soldier (2007), has garnered national attention. Beah has made appearances on NPR’s Fresh Air and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. His story has also been told in Newsweek and the New York Times.
3.14.2009 Ishmael Beah
This address was the 2009 Douglas M. Schair Memorial Lecture on Genocide and Human Rights and was sponsored by The Hudson Foundation and the Academic Council for Religion, Genocide, and Human Rights.
Roger Wilkins shared a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for Watergate coverage with Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, and Herb (Herblock) Block. Wilkins is the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of History and American Culture at George Mason University. He served as assistant attorney general during the Johnson administration, and has written for The New York Times and The Washington Post.
5.10.08 Roger Wilkins
The keynote address to 1,000 graduates and their friends and family at USM’s 128th Commencement ceremony at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Mark A. Coursey of Auburn, graduated with a B.S. in Leadership and Organizational Studies from USM Lewiston-Auburn College, was selected to give the 2008 student Commencement address. He returned to college after a sixteen-year absence. Coursey plans to attend the University of Maine School of Law, beginning in fall ’08.
5.10.08 Mark Coursey ’08
The student address at USM’s 128th Commencement ceremony.