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From truck driver to steering the future direction of higher education in Maine

June 10, 2005



Chad Marquis (center), a student at the University of Maine at Fort Kent photographed with University of Maine System Chancellor Joseph Westphal (left) and UMFK President Richard Cost (right) at his first meeting as a newly appointed UMS Trustee held at UMFK.

Two years ago 29-year-old Chad Marquis of Fort Kent spent much of his time behind the wheel of a heavy-load truck hauling wood chips to area paper mills. In recent weeks Marquis has been occupied with learning all he can about the administration of higher education in Maine as he assumes his role as a trustee for the University of Maine System.

As the newly appointed student trustee, Marquis, who will be a senior in the business management program at the University of Maine at Fort Kent this fall, is approaching his important new duty with the same enthusiasm and determination he has for obtaining his degree.

He is also cognizant of history-making appointment as the first student trustee attending UMFK ever to sit on the board.

"My greatest concern is that I be accessible to other students throughout the system. This position is for the students and I will be there to make our voice is known to the board. This is a position of great responsibility," said Marquis.

Having responsibility rest on his shoulders is not new to the 1993 graduate of Community High School in Fort Kent.

Upon graduation, Marquis enlisted in the United States Marine Corps for five years, where his main duties included motor transport and military policing. He ended his military career with an honorable discharge with the rank of Sergeant /E-5 in 1998.

After leaving the military, he worked as a long haul truck driver for Werner Enterprises in Omaha, Nebraska for a year. Then TNT Road Company of Fort Kent hired Marquis, as a professional truck driver, transporting paper chips from Nexfor Fraser's lumber operations in Ashland and Masardis, Maine to Nexfor Fraser's pulp facility in Edmundston, New Brunswick for four years.

During this time, Marquis began attending the University of Maine at Fort Kent to work toward his degree in business management.

On campus, Marquis remains very active. He has performed and directed many theatre performances including "Bloody Bess", "UMFK 125: The Musical" and recently performed in "Butley". In 2004, Marquis was awarded a performing arts award for his outstanding involvement in university productions.

He has been very active in alpine skiing on and off campus. In 2004, he was awarded skier of the year. Along with his success in skiing he became Alpine ski coach for UMFK this past season.

"At this point in my life, after having served in the military and worked as a truck driver, I truly understand and appreciate the importance of higher education. That, coupled with my strong desire to make a difference and to do whatever I can to make things better are two primary reasons why I accepted this appointment," said Marquis.

He was first approached about his interest in serving on the UMS Board of Trustees by Scott Brickman, associate professor of music. Marquis's appointment was endorsed by UMFK President Richard Cost and State Senator John L. Martin, who is also a member of the UMFK faculty. He was officially nominated to the post by Governor John Baldacci and the appointment was recently confirmed by state lawmakers.

"Among Chad's contributions to our campus community, I of course appreciate his enthusiasm for and involvement with our performing arts programs. I will always associate Chad with his role in 'UMFK 125: The Musical'. Like Major Dickey, the character he played in that production, I am confident Chad will be providing a strong, supportive voice for our campus community at the system level," said Brickman.

Currently Marquis is completing his business internship at Thibodeau's Insurance Agency in Fort Kent. Marquis will graduate in 2006 and plans to begin work on a master's degree.