December 28, 2007
Sharon Johnson, dean of information services at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, has retired from the University following 20 years of dedicated service.
Johnson was hired in September 1987 as assistant librarian and computer center supervisor. In 1991, she became acting library director. In 1992, Johnson was promoted to director of Information Resources. She oversaw the library, academic computing and audio visual.
In 1996, Johnson was named Dean of Information Services. Her duties included overseeing the Acadian Archives and distance education. During her years at UMFK, the campus saw many great improvements in equipment and technology, such as ITV coming to campus; the Cyr Hall computer lab; all computers on campus were connected to the world wide web; cable television and data connections within dorm rooms; and the UMFK website was born. And the list goes on.
Johnson also served on many committees for the campus and USM; attended development seminars; and taught various courses. In the early 1990s, when pending cuts by the University of Maine System threatened the academic outreach and ITV programs, Johnson made her self heard. “We are living in an information age,” she said. “The University must support technology on individual campuses, including computers, multi-media, CD-Rom and video technology.”
She stressed the importance of maintaining and enhancing the URSUS electronic library catalog, which makes information from all campuses available to students. Johnson also noted the need for support to continue the telecommunications networks that deliver URSUS and the ITV system to various parts of the state.
To the many persons who worked under her supervision over the years, she was hardworking, a mentor, wise and very supportive.
“Sharon Johnson is an amazing employee who grew with the job here at UMFK,” said University President Dr. Richard W. Cost. “She came here with experience in the field of library science and as the field of information services technology expanded at an explosive pace, she kept pace with every advance. She loved learning new things and was continuously growing and expanding her expertise.
“The most wonderful legacy she leaves this university is an extraordinary staff of equally-capable personnel, all sharing her signature commitment to providing our students and our faculty with the best and most advanced tools for learning and conducting research,” added Dr. Cost.
“Sharon is very quiet, low key, and self effacing. Yet she has done an extraordinary job of sharing her values and dedication to service and to education with all of the people who work with her. She is a special leader and problem solver. We will miss Sharon very much and wish her every happiness during her well-earned retirement.”
Earlier in December, her friends, colleagues and co-workers at the University threw a retirement party in the Bengal’s Lair in honor of Dean Johnson.
“I wish to thank all of you for making my last days so pleasurable and festive,” Johnson wrote to the campus community. “Thank you for contributing so generously for the party and for me. I will be forever grateful. You all must know how much you all mean to me. My 20 years here have been the best years of my life. Everyone is so important to me; the community that resides here is outstanding. So, as I retire, I take good memories away with me.”
Johnson plans to spend the winter in warmer climes, but plans to be back in the Valley – and at UMFK in some capacity – come the spring.