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POET, TEACHER & WRITER, LEWIS TURCO, TO SPEAK AND RECEIVE HONORARY DEGREE AT UMFK'S 127TH COMMENCEMENT

April 21, 2009

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Poet, teacher and writer, Lewis Turco, will be the guest speaker at the University of Maine at Fort Kent’s 127th commencement exercises on Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 1 p.m. in the University’s Sports Center. 

The University of Maine System Board of Trustees will confer a Doctor of Humane Letters degree upon Turco through the recommendation of UMFK President, Dr. Richard W. Cost, and the University’s faculty. 

Fort Kent Town Manager, Donald Guimond, will be presented UMFK’s 2009 Distinguished Service Award during the commencement ceremonies.    

LEWIS TURCO Turco is most notably known for championing Formalist poetry, or New Formalism, in the United States. 

Turco is Emeritus Professor of English and past Director of the Program in Writing Arts at the State University of New York (SUNY), College at Oswego.  He is a prolific award-winning author who has published 21 collections of his own poems and a book of literary criticism, Visions and Revisions of American Poetry (1986). His poetry, fiction, drama, and essays have appeared in most literary magazines, and in over 100 books, most recently in Washburn and Major's World Poetry. 

Lewis Turco was born in Buffalo, New York on May 2, 1934. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Connecticut in 1959 and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1962.  

Turco taught at Fenn College (later Cleveland State University) where he founded the Cleveland Poetry Center, of which he was the director until 1964.  He later served as assistant professor at Hillsdale College. 

From 1965 through 1996, Turco taught at SUNY-Oswego, where he also was Poet-in-Residence from 1995 until his retirement in 1996. At SUNY-Oswego Turco founded and directed the Program in the Writing Arts. 

Turco began his publishing career in 1960, with the publication of First Poems. Sometimes using the pseudonym Wesli Court (an anagram of Lewis Turco), he has continued to publish poetry, books about poetry, such as the New Book of Forms and Visions and Revisions of American Poetry, and other works related to the writing arts.  

Turco has collaborated with other artists on such projects as While the Spider Slept, a ballet based upon his poem November 22, 1963, performed by the Swedish Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet; The Fog, a chamber opera with Dutch composer Walter Hekster; and Bordello: PoemPrints with printmaker George O'Connell.  

He is retired from University teaching and from operating an antiquarian bookshop in southern Maine. 

DON GUIMOND Guimond has been Fort Kent town manager since December 1993 and he was at the helm in the town’s handling of, and recovery from, the Flood of 2008. 

Don Guimond was born on his family’s farm in Fort Kent, the second of five children of Albert Jr. and Pauline Guimond.  He and his siblings are the fourth generation to operate the farm – Buggy Brook Farms – on the Aroostook Road in Fort Kent and Wallagrass. 

Over the years the family farm has seen a variety of crops and livestock.  Today, it concentrates mainly on hay, small grains and a cow-calf operation that produces as many as 120 newborn calves, annually. 

Guimond graduated from Fort Kent Community High School in 1976 and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Husson University in 1980.  Upon graduation, Don returned to his family roots where he immersed himself in his community, his occupation and improvements to the family farm. 

He is a graduate (2000) of the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service Municipal Leadership program, and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont in 2007. 

The University of Maine System Board of Trustees will confer a Doctor of Humane Letters degree upon Turco through the recommendation of UMFK President, Dr. Richard W. Cost, and the University’s faculty. 

Prior to holding his current position, Don was Fort Kent’s planning and economic development coordinator.  He previously worked as a program assistant at the Farm Service Agency and as the manager at Fort Kent Federal Credit Union, now Acadia Federal Credit Union.Among his many civic and business affiliations, Don is a director/treasurer of Acadia Federal Credit Union; serves on the advisory board of America’s First Mile; is a director of the Aroostook Municipal Association; is a director of the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce; is a member of the Maine Beef Producers Association; member and chair of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farms Service Agency county committee; is a member of the Maine Municipal Association Legislative Policy Committee; is a director of Le Homestead Palliative/Hospice Center; and is a member of UMFK’s Center for Rural Sustainable Development Committee. 

Among the many recognitions that Don Guimond has received over the years include: St. John Valley’s Outstanding Conservation Farmer (1990); Maine Beef Producer of the Year (1993); Citizenship Award from the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce (2004).   ###