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UMFK to introduce new campus project with well-known former state senator

February 6, 2004

NR04029

Although the University of Maine at Fort Kent is currently in the midst of its year-long 125th anniversary celebration, the campus community is looking forward to launching a new theme for its upcoming academic year, one which will focus on civic engagement.

UMFK will transition from honoring its past to focusing on creating a new understanding of civic engagement campus-wide, when "The American Democracy Project" officially kicks off later this year.

To lay a foundation for the year ahead, the university has invited a well-known Maine activist and inspirational speaker to visit the UMFK community and address the issue of community and civic involvement as an integral part of the processes of democracy.

"An Evening with The Honorable John Jenkins: Your Community, Your Democracy", will be held on Wednesday, February 18, at 7:00 p.m. in UMFK's Fox Auditorium. The session is free and open to the public.

Jenkins served as a two-term mayor of Lewiston in the 1990's and as a state senator, as well as for the U.S. Department of Labor as Glass Ceiling Commissioner.

In addition to his political career, Jenkins is well known on the lecture circuit. As the owner and President of Pep Talk, a personal and professional training and development business, he has lectured and trained throughout the U.S., Japan, and The People's Republic of China.

Jenkins is a five-time world martial arts champion and has been inducted into the Lewiston/Auburn Sports Hall of Fame, Maine Sports Hall of Fame, and the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

Most recently he was named the recipient of "The Distinguished Service Award for the State of Maine", the highest accolade of the Maine State Bar Association. Jenkins was honored for his accomplishments, character and leadership.

Past recipients of the award include former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell; William S. Cohen, a former U.S. senator and secretary of defense; Edmund S. Muskie, a former governor, U.S. senator and secretary of state; former Gov. James B. Longley; and former U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith.

The American Democracy Project was born out of a concern about decreasing rates of participation in the civic life of America in voting, in advocacy, in local grassroots associations and in other forms of civic engagement.

It is directed by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), with a project co-director coming from The New York Times.

Jenkins' presentation is open to the public at no charge.

For more information, contact the UMFK student services office at (207) 834-7513.