July 16, 2012
The Univesity of Maine System Board of Trustees awarded former University of Maine at Fort Kent president, Dr. Richard W. Cost, the title of president emeritus of UMFK at its meeting on Monday, July 9.
Dr. Cost served as UMFK's ninth president from 2002 to 2010. His eight years as president of the Fort Kent campus makes him the longest-serving president at UMFK in a quarter century.
“Dick Cost's service to UMFK was marked by greatly-strengthened community relations, enhanced visibility, and an expanded role for the university,” said current UMFK President Wilson G. Hess, in nominating Dr. Cost.
“Due to his foresight, the role of rural communities and the region's Acadian hertiage will remain enduring features of the University's mission. The university's infrastruture and reputation were significantly enhanced by his leadership,” President Hess added.
Cost's leadership focused the institution's mission on meeting the challenges of rural communities and celebrating the Acadian heritage of the St. John Valley. The creation of the Center for Rural Sustainable Development and the construction of the Violette Wilderness Camp are sterling examples of this rural, community focus.
The Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes became a centerpiece for archival protection and the active preservation of the history of the people of this region. Their communites share a common heritage that crosses state, provincial, and national boundaries in a relationship that predates the English settlement of New England.
Cost's approach to campus betterment resulted in: the first LEED-certified building in northern Maine (Powell Hall renovation); the aforementioned Acadian Archives; the architectually-inspired 150-bed, suite-style residence hall facility (“The Lodge”); and the acquisition of the former Fort Kent State Armory.
During Dr. Cost's tenure, the Univeristy's regional visibility was enhanced by its inclusion and steady advancement through the rankings of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Its athletic teams garnered regional and national attention with 15 Conference Champioships and frequent National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national tournament appearances. The campus' enhanced visibility also contributed to a revitalized UMFK Foundation and Alumni Association.
Online education came to play an increasingly-important part in the university's educational delivery strategy during Dr. Cost's years at UMFK, resulting in broader statewide service than ever before.
Reacting to the news of the honorary title, President Emeritus of the University of Maine at Fort Kent, Dr. Cost said:
“I am absolutely thrilled. The University of Maine at Fort Kent has a long and very rich history of serving the people of Maine and especially the St. John Valley. I am proud to have my name permanently associated with the University and the Fort Kent community. UMFK will always be an important part of our lives, and this action further cements that relationship. I had a great team and we worked hard to move the institution forward.”
Cost received a bachelor's of arts degree from Syracuse University in New York; a Master's of Business Administration from Old Dominion (Virginia) University; and a doctorate in Education from Rutgers University in New Jersey. He and his wife, Ellen, reside in Middleboro, Massachuesetts.
A public investiture ceremony for Dr. Cost will be held on the UMFK campus later in the 2012-2013 academic year.