The University of Maine at Fort Kent has received the largest financial gift in its history with the receipt of more than $300,000 from the estate of the late Esther C. Labbee, it has been announced.
The UMFK Foundation has received proceeds from the estate of Ms. Labbee, a 1949 graduate of the former Madawaska Training School, totaling more than $300,000. The Foundation anticipates receiving additional proceeds from Ms. Labbee's estate, which will add to her bequest to the University.
The Labbee bequest represents a major boost to the Foundation's $3 million fundraising goal for La Cloche de Fer campaign in general, and for the campaign's Legacy Scholarship Fund initiative in particular.
The Foundation has invested the bequest in establishing The Estate of Esther C. Labbee Memorial Scholarship to benefit the education of students enrolled at the University.
Esther C. Labbee was born in November 1928 in Wallagrass, Maine. She was one of six children born to Ernest and Cecilia (Gagnon) Labbee. Following her graduation from the Madawaska Training School, a predecessor of UMFK, she left Fort Kent to tour the country. She later earned a master's degree in Education in California.
Esther Labbee taught at the Buckley Elementary School in Manchester, Connecticut for more than 25 years, retiring in 1984. She made her home in nearby Willington, Connecticut. Ms. Labbee passed away at the age of 84 in November 2012.
The Estate of Esther C. Labbee Memorial Scholarship was established at the University of Maine at Fort Kent on behalf of the University of Maine at Fort Kent Foundation in 2013 in her memory.
Scholarships will be awarded annually from the fund under the direction of the president of the University, or his designee, in consultation with the Office of Student Financial Aid.
With the receipt of the Esther C. Labbee bequest, the Foundation's La Cloche de Fer campaign is approaching its goal of raising $750,000 within the Legacy Scholarship Fund portion of the $3 million comprehensive campaign.
The goal of the Legacy Scholarship Fund is to double The Foundation's scholarship endowment, which in turn, will improve a student's access to college, reduce a family's reliance on loans, and provide scholarships to deserving students each year. By providing greater access to higher education, preparing graduates for better jobs, accelerate learning through Early College High School, and offering adult learners more fulfilling lives, the University is prepared to increase the number of UMFK graduates into Maine's workforce by 20 percent during the next decade.
La Cloche de Fer is a comprehensive campaign to develop a more diverse and sustainable revenue base for the institution; integrating statewide and national foundations, corporations, and a widely-dispersed alumni population, into a multi-year fundraising effort.