UMFK president Dr. Deborah Hedeen, UMFK 12th presidentThe University of Maine at Fort Kent will officially welcome its twelfth president, Dr. Deborah Hedeen, at a Welcome Reception on Friday, September 9, between 4:00 – 7:00 pm in the campus’ newest building, the Enrollment and Advancement Center.

President Hedeen was appointed UMFK’s twelfth president and provost on July 1, 2020. Due to COVID-19 restrictions over the past few years, her official welcome was postponed until now. The reception is part of a weekend of activities planned for the university’s Homecoming celebrations.

Prior to joining UMFK, Hedeen served as the provost and vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at the University of Montana Western. Prior to that, she served at Idaho State University for 23 years as dean of the college of education for ten years, associate dean and assistant dean of teacher education, and professor of special education.

A proven leader in higher education, Hedeen’s extensive experience developing instructional delivery models for students in remote and rural areas has already impacted the northern Maine campus. In the last year, UMFK has implemented several new programs with certain ideas in mind: capitalizing on the natural resources that the campus is well-known for, providing more opportunities for nontraditional students to earn their degrees, and expanding technology and health-related programs.

“Our students are our number one priority,” said President Hedeen, “When the faculty approached me about some of these new possibilities, I felt that they were deserving to be added to our academic portfolio. Arctic Studies, Business Management Online Completion, Computer Systems Administration, Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician Certification, and the Master of Science in Nursing all build on strengths that UMFK already offers and allow us to make these certificates and degrees more accessible.”

As a first-generation student, Dr. Hedeen understands the importance of a student-centered campus community. In addition to well-rounded support through the pandemic, a new strategic plan, opportunities for expanded scholarships, completion of the Enrollment and Advancement Center, and a new branding strategy have been noted as areas that have benefited from her leadership.

Her vision includes continuing to foster the partnership between the university and the greater community of Fort Kent — an attribute long celebrated.

“I love that UMFK has always had a special relationship with the community of Fort Kent. With a strong volunteer population and a lot of grit and determination, Fort Kent has done some really amazing things. UMFK couldn’t be in a better community to enhance the college experience by involving interested students in this way,” said President Hedeen.

On a personal level, the new president looks forward to more university events.

“Even though we had a few events last year that allowed for public attendance, this year’s Homecoming celebrations will allow us to welcome the community back to campus. I am really excited about that.”

The public is invited to the President’s Welcome Reception to attend at their leisure to meet and speak with President Hedeen while visiting the award-winning Enrollment and Advancement Center. Refreshments will be served.

For more information on the Welcome Reception, please contact Lisa Roy at 834-7504.