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UMFK reorganization will lay groundwork for stronger development program

November 21, 2003

NR03179

The University of Maine at Fort Kent is restructuring its administration to create a stronger development operation that will provide much needed, additional financial support to the institution and help ensure future generations of students will have access to a top quality, affordable education.

"In the current economic climate, the University is under pressure to both reduce costs and to begin to do serious fundraising," said President Richard Cost. "State support alone will not keep us going and we cannot afford to raise tuition to the levels that would be needed to close the gap without threatening access. The difference will have to come from private support. Private colleges across the country have operated this way for decades, and public colleges in other states have made great strides in this direction. We are extremely fortunate here to begin with a wonderful town-campus relationship and so I am confident we can succeed."

The first step Cost has taken in this direction was to launch the university's first annual giving campaign in over a decade last year. The fundraising initiative generated over $66,000 from over 300 donors.

Over the past month, UMFK created a new classified position to support the development operations of the campus. Linda Deprey of Soldier Pond, who has served as support staff in the business office for ten years, was the successful applicant for the position and will assume her new duties in the coming weeks. She will also support special events such as commencement and donor recognition events.

To prepare the UMFK campus community for the shift toward a stronger development program, Cost looked closely at the university's existing operations and how to best use the limited resources to lay the groundwork for the new initiative.

"On the one hand we do not have key development positions that we need, such as a professional fundraiser, and at the same time we have a corporate relations office that could be useful for mature fundraising organizations but does not serve the essential operational functions needed to start up a fundraising office," said Cost. "In order to begin to create the structure that we will need to do fundraising I am eliminating the position of executive director of corporate relations."

According to Cost, the administrative reorganization will sustain the University's commitment to working with the local business community on both sides of the St. John River.

"The shift toward a strong development office will strengthen the university's mission and role in training the future leaders and educated citizens, entrepreneurs and professionals of the St. John Valley," said Cost.

In addition, the UMFK leader is committed to continuing popular programs, including the business breakfast series that has brought officials from Maine and New Brunswick together on the St. John Valley campus to network and hear from a fellow business leader about developments which impact the region.

The elimination of the corporate relations office will be effective on December 31, 2003. Diane Nadeau-Saucier, who has directed the corporate relations office since July of 1999, will be leaving the position earlier in the month.

Nadeau-Saucier began her employment at the University over twenty-five years ago as a classified employee and over the years took on increasing levels of responsibility reaching a point several years ago where she was accountable for the business operations of the campus, including financial services, personnel, Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action, bookstore, mail and telephone services, property management, and food service, reporting directly to the president.

Under her leadership the business operation received numerous positive audit reports. During the last visit of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), the final report of the visiting team included the statement that "UMFK is to be commended for the record keeping and accounts management provided by its financial services unit."

In addition, for many years Nadeau-Saucier has been responsible for the commencement ceremony at UMFK. She has shown great attention to detail and has insured a smooth program every year.

Four and a half years ago she took on a new challenge as executive director of corporate relations.

In that capacity, she has promoted the role of the University as a service institution. She initiated and hosted the Business Networking Breakfasts and she collaborated with le C'égep de Rivière du Loup to offer an English Language Immersion Program at UMFK.

Additionally, a number of workshops hosted by the corporate relations office over the past few years have been among the most successful in Aroostook County.

During the past two years, Nadeau-Saucier has maintained the database to record donor information and managed gift accounting and acknowledgement, and serves as assistant treasurer for the UMFK Foundation. She has been responsible for financial reports and the preparation of Foundation financial reports.

"Over many years Diane has been an important part of this community. We thank her for her many contributions and take this occasion to wish her the very best," said Cost.