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UMFK FOUNDATION KICKS OFF $3 MILLION CAPITAL CAMPAIGN La Cloche de Fer Campaign uses historic symbol from University's past

March 22, 2012


Under the title of La Cloche de Fer, the University of Maine at Fort Kent Foundation today launched its first-ever comprehensive capital and endowment campaign in the 134-year history of the University.

La Cloche de Fer campaign for UMFK seeks to complete a $3 million fundraising effort during the next two years to support the following goals:

Legacy Scholarship Fund: $750,000

Academic Stewardship Fund: $750,000

Sustaining Capital Fund: $1,500,000

La Cloche de Fer campaign is led by the UMFK Foundation board of directors.

“It is a pleasure to be an officer of the UMFK Foundation board of directors at the time of the launch of this historic campaign,” said Carolyn Bouchard, Foundation president.

“Expanding the Foundation's scholarship endowment is necessary to improve student access to college, reduce reliance on loans, and provide scholarships for deserving students. This also provides broader access to higher education, better jobs, and more fulfilling lives for our graduates,” she added.

“The campaign is a wonderful opportunity for the individual board members to demonstrate their commitment to the institution's mission and set the stage for other major donors. The enthusiasm, support, and energy of the directors are encouraging. There is a sense of hope for a prosperous future for UMFK,” president Bouchard noted.

Back in the days of Vetal Cyr -- the institution's the first principal -- students, faculty, and staff were called to classes, meals, and special events by the sound of a bell -- La Cloche de Fer. The sounding of the bell was a familiar, steady, and calming presence on campus in the days when UMFK was known as the Madawaska Training School.

Today, La Cloche de Fer is asked to toll its familiar, steady, and calming tone to assist the University in providing for the education of the students in which it is entrusted.

The central goal of La Cloche de Fer campaign is to double The Foundation's scholarship endowment, which in turn, improves a student's access to college,

reduces a family's reliance on loans, and provides scholarships to deserving students.

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.

Philanthropy is an important component of UMFK's future. In an era of economic decline, private support is critical to help the University and its students, both, remain financially secure.

La Cloche de Fer campaign will bring together the disparate pieces of UMFK to paint a complete picture of the University and showcase the many ways in which it serves the greater public good, and makes an impact on the lives of countless individuals.

The Legacy Scholarship Fund is dedicated to increase funds for need and merit-based scholarships. In addition to scholarships, however, other key areas of the fund's focus will be to support faculty research scholarships; a variety of undergraduate services, including study abroad programs; a revitalized honors program; internships; and, experiential learning opportunities across a broad range of academic disciplines.

The Academic Stewardship Fund will ensure that the University's committed faculty is able to provide the next generation with the necessary resources to continue to foster an appreciation for, and the stewardship of, northern Maine's pristine natural environment, and to offer a variety of curricula that emphasize the challenges of rural America.

The Sustaining Capital Fund will introduce the campus to alternative energy, especially biomass technologies; make essential repairs and improvements to campus facilities; raise the necessary capital to renovate the former Fort Kent Armory as a shared University/Community center; and assist the University develop efficiencies to allow it to maintain a diverse and sustainable revenue base for the foreseeable future.

The symbol for the campaign -- La Cloche de Fer -- has undergone a fairly elaborate makeover for its new role as the symbol for the campaign.

The bell has been sandblasted, primed, and painted. It is not without blemishes; sporting several cracks similar to its better-known sibling, The Liberty Bell. La Cloche de Fer also has been outfitted with a new, historically-correct yoke, and a clapper. It is mounted on a cedar base.

Although its days of daily ringing are gone, La Cloche de Fer tolls again. Today it tolls for the students of UMFK, as it once did for their predecessors.