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UMFK Alumni Association to present honors at the Alumni and Friends Banquet

August 30, 2010

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The University of Maine at Fort Kent Alumni Association will pay tribute to three individuals whose lives have been touched by UMFK and who have, in turn, made an impact on the campus community at the annual Alumni and Friends Banquet on Saturday, September 18 in Nowland Hall.

Donald Levesque a 1974 graduate of UMFK will be presented with the 2010 Outstanding Alumni award; Todd Collins, a graduate from the class of 1995, will be presented with the Outstanding Young Alumni award, and Christopher Roy, who will graduate in the winter of 2010, will be presented with the Outstanding Future Alumni award.

Don Levesque is the retired editor and publisher of the St. John Valley Times, and a St. John Valley native, through and through.

Levesque is a Vietnam veteran and attended UMFK on the G.I. Bill, where earned a “field of study” in the social sciences with four minors: English, Canadian-American studies, history, and social science.

Following his graduation from UMFK, Levesque taught English as a Second Language and Communications to adults for three years at the Edmundston campus of the New Brunswick Community College. Later, he directed a bilingual education program in three provincial hospitals between Edmundston and Perth-Andover, New Brunswick.

Levesque began his newspaper career in June 1979 as an advertising sales representative and newspaper layout artist for a small, bilingual, community weekly newspaper in Grand Falls, New Brunswick. He began writing a humorous weekly column around 1980.

Levesque joined the St. John Valley Times in October 1985 as an advertising sales representative. He later moved into the newsroom as a reporter/photographer in November 1988. He was named managing editor/general manager in October 1989, and became the paper’s publisher in May 1996. 

Don retired as publisher of the St. John Valley Times this past January. His well-known column, Mon 5¢, promotes Acadian and Franco-American culture and also offers social and political commentary.

Levesque won 11 Maine Press Association awards during his career. He was one of three journalists to be inducted by the Maine Senate and House of Representatives into the newly-formed Maine Franco-American Hall of Fame in 2002.

Later this fall, he will be inducted into the Maine Press Association’s Hall of Fame.

In 2007, Levesque was presented with the Maine Acadian Heritage Council President's Award for French-language promotion and preservation.

Levesque is a member of Le Club Français, 1998 – present, and has served as its vice-president from 2009 – present. He is editor of Le Fanal, the club’s newsletter, 2009 – present.

Don was a member of the Provisionary Committee 2014 Congrès Mondial Acadien in 2009. Currently is president of the Maine Regional Organizing Committee 2014 Congrès Mondial Acadien.

He is serving his first term as a member of UMFK’s Board of Visitors.

Don is a guitarist and singer/songwriter of Les Chanteurs Acadiens de la Vallée Saint-Jean. The six-member, non-profit, musical group is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Acadian and Franco-American culture in the St. John Valley.

Levesque resides in St-Basile, New Brunswick.

Todd Collins, the Outstanding Young Alumni, was born and raised in Fort Kent, the youngest of three children of Roland (’65) and Mae Collins. He attended the Market Street School, Fort Kent Elementary School, Fort Kent Community High School, and UMFK. He spent his senior year of high school at UMFK, earning both high school and college credit, through an early college program.

Collins graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in English, along with minors in biology and environmental studies. He later graduated from Vermont Law School with a Juris Doctor degree in 1998.

After graduating from law school, Collins worked in the Strafford County (N.H.) Attorney’s Office for three years before returning to Aroostook County in 2002 to raise a family, along with his wife, Sharron (Smart) Collins. They are the parents of four children.

He has been with the Aroostook County District Attorney’s office since 2002. He has prosecuted a wide-range of misdemeanor and felony charges. He also has assisted local police departments with criminal investigations; presented grand jury indictments; prepared cases for trial; corresponded with victims and witnesses; and tried criminal cases.

Collins taught constitutional law at UMFK in 2005, as an adjunct faculty member. 

Last fall, Collins stood at a podium in Fox Auditorium to present an oral argument, for the prosecution, before the seven members of the state of Maine Supreme Judicial Court. The state’s highest court met in session at UMFK to hear oral arguments in three Aroostook County appeals cases.

Collins is a candidate for Aroostook County District Attorney in the November 2 election. 

Christopher Roy is this year’s Outstanding Future Alumni. The honor was bestowed for his involvement in various projects and research, contributions to student life, and his academic achievements.

Roy has served as president of both the Newman Club and the Ecology Committee, and is an active member of the Outing Club. In the community, serves as the assistant scout master for Boy Scout Troop #189. Additionally, Chris serves as a member of the ski patrol at Lonesome Pine Trails and works part-time at the Martin Ford car dealership.

With the assistance of a lab partner, he produced a practical “view shed” using mapping and Geographical Information Systems technology to assist the Fort Kent Planning Office with its windmill project. Because of his impressive work, Chris was asked to serve as a student intern on the Fort Kent Commercial Wind Study Committee.

He was awarded a scholarship from the Associated Faculties of the Universities of Maine on two separate occasions; received the prestigious John L. Martin Scholarship; and was the recipient of the Criminal Justice Award.

Roy worked as a deputy game warden in southern Maine this summer. Following graduation, he plans to work for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, as a game warden.

Last May, Roy received an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice. He plans to complete his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies in December, with a concentration in the game warden sequence, and a minor in Biology.

Roy resides in Fort Kent. His parents, Rodney and Lisa, and his sister, Katelyn, are a proud and supportive network.