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UMFK President joins in alumna's 100th birthday party

August 6, 2004



UMFK President Richard Cost surprises 100-year-old Madawaska Training School Alumna Myrtle Hafford Hoyt with a UMFK sweatshirt, teddy bear and official sentiment at a birthday party in Kittery recently.

An alumna of the Madawaska Training School, a forerunner of UMFK, who recently became a centenarian, received an unexpected guest at a celebration held in honor of the milestone occasion.

Myrtle Hoyt, a graduate of the MTS Class of 1921, was pleasantly surprised to find University of Maine at Fort Kent President Richard Cost along with his wife Ellen among the family and friends gathered for her 100th birthday party on June 26 in Kittery, Maine.

President Cost became aware of Hoyt's birthday when her son, Russell Hoyt, decided to take a look at UMFK's website after hearing all of the wonderful things that his mother had to say about her alma mater over the years and found her name on a list of missing alumni. He immediately contacted the university to let officials know of his mother's whereabouts.

"Over the years the university had lost contact with Myrtle Hoyt. Our records indicated that we had a bad address for her. We were ecstatic to hear from her son," said Jason Parent, director of university relations and alumni affairs.

In Russell Hoyt's early correspondence with UMFK he noted that the family was planning a birthday party at a home which is now inhabited by her niece and nephew in Kittery.

Russell Hoyt requested that the university send along a memento to mark the occasion.

Upon being informed of this, President Cost told them that he would love to personally deliver UMFK's greetings and Hoyt's family responded very positively to the idea.

For her birthday, he presented Hoyt with UMFK-themed gifts along with a certificate of congratulations.

"We all enjoyed meeting President Cost and his wife, and hearing stories from an old 'tin can' sailor," said Russell Hoyt. "My mother was very happy with the items he presented to her and was also quite surprised."

The Hoyt family were not the only ones who enjoyed the celebration.

"One of the great joys of my job is getting to meet people whose lives were changed through their experience at this campus," said Cost. "It was a very good day and a fun visit. The whole family was there; her son, relatives and in-laws. They all had wonderful family stories to share. Myrtle is delightful, wonderfully alert and very pleasant."

When asked, on the occasion of her birthday by Emily Aronson of the Portsmouth Herald Local News how she made it to her one hundredth birthday Hoyt replied "I have no idea, the good Lord just left me here."

Hoyt will be recognized during UMFK's annual alumni banquet. An award will be presented to her family by Peggy Moore, the daughter of the university's current golden cane holder, Irene Daigle.