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Elliott to join Kindred in ranks of UMFK professor emeriti

April 29, 2005

NR05073

Retired University of Maine at Fort Kent Professor John Elliott will have a new title conferred upon him at commencement exercises on Saturday May 7, when President Richard W. Cost honors him as the university's newest professor emeritus.

Elliott, who ended his quarter-century of full-time service as a faculty member at UMFK last December, will join former colleague and friend, Professor Emerita Wendy Kindred, who received the honor upon her retirement in 2003.

"This is a very special honor that is awarded infrequently to individuals retiring from the campus following a long career of distinguished service to the university community," said Cost. "All of us at UMFK are aware of and deeply value John's dedication to this institution and to our students. Everyone we consulted in this process agreed that John Elliott is truly a model of what the title emeritus stands for in the very best traditions of academe."

The proposal for the recognition was originated by Assistant Professor Bruno Hicks, chair of the education division, and Professor Brad Ritz, chair of the natural and behavioral sciences division, who both extolled Elliott's extraordinary teaching in both divisions.

Elliott's career at UMFK began in 1978, when he was appointed to fill a one-year vacancy in mathematics. After the faculty member he was replacing announced he would not return to the university, Elliott applied, and was hired, for the full-time, tenure track position.

After taking a two-year leave of absence from 1982 through 1984 to work on his doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he received his much desired third degree in 1986.

The Ph.D. came 20 years after he earned his masters degree in mathematics from the University of Maine in Orono and 25 years after he received a bachelor of arts in mathematics from Ricker College in Houlton. In addition, he conducted post-masters study in mathematics at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton in the early 1970's.

For five years in the 1980's, while serving on faculty at UMFK, Elliott was an external consultant for the Children's Television Workshop, the production company which produces Sesame Street and other television shows.

Specifically, Elliott worked on the Public Broadcasting Network's Square One TV, a math show geared toward eight to 12 year olds.

In 1990, during a six-month sabbatical in Ireland, he taught at the National University in Cork and visited public schools to learn about the nation's math curriculum, as well as observed the teaching and learning of mathematics at all grade levels.

In 1994, he was chosen as one of 30 delegates to attend a one-week U.S./Russia education conference in Moscow.

He was a senior author of Math Connections, a secondary level math textbook series published in 1995, and served as a consultant on a geometry textbook authored by Paddy Barry. Elliott also contributed to a textbook written by Frank Hooper, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor.

In addition, the UMFK math professor has seen several of his articles published in scholarly journals and has also served as a reviewer for other publications.

In 1991, he was singled out for his contributions to mathematics education throughout Maine with the Association of Teachers of Mathematics In Maine (ATOMIM) Recognition Award.

Two years earlier, in 1989, Elliott was honored nationally by the American Association of Higher Education, at a ceremony in Chicago, as one of less than 300 educators around the country for their classroom teaching reputation.

Elliott will not only join his friend Kindred in the elite ranks of faculty emeriti at commencement exercises on May 7, he will also be seated next to his former colleague during the ceremony.

Kindred, who began her career as UMFK's professor of art in 1973, served the campus for 28-years, before her retirement in December 2003.

During her tenure Kindred both inspired blossoming new artists and helped other students, who were initially fulfilling a visual arts requirement, to see the world a bit differently. She also spent 16 years editing the literary journal The Black Fly Review, and numerous years as director of the UMFK Honors Program.

In her nearly three decades as a full-time faculty member, Kindred taught 3,072 students in 232 different courses.

She also represented the UMFK faculty on the University of Maine System Board of Trustees for many years.

Commencement exercises at UMFK will be held on Saturday, May 7 at 1:00 p.m. in the University SportsCenter.