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UMFK to commemorate first day of classes on September 30, 1878 with historic bell ringing and modern teaching demonstration

September 19, 2003


The University of Maine at Fort Kent will mark the occasion of the first day of classes at its forerunner the Madawaska Training School, on September 30, 1878, with the ringing of a 114-year-old bell, once perched atop the first university building, followed by a teaching demonstration using the latest state-of-the-art technology, on Tuesday, September 30.

At 12:00 noon, the bell which originally rang from the belfry of the first building constructed exclusively for use by Madawaska Training School faculty and students in 1889 will ring 13 times, once for each decade of the institution's existence.

The bell that will ring out, for the first time in many years, on September 30, 2003 once stood atop the original Cyr Hall constructed on Pleasant Street, on what is presently part of the UMFK campus.

The bell, which hasn't officially tolled since the early 1960's when the original Cyr Hall was replaced by the current classroom and administrative building that carries the same name, now sits in a cupola on the roof of the Blake Library.

To connect the opening of the first day of classes in 1878 to the 125th year commemoration of the event, the honor of ringing the bell will go to a current UMFK education student, Jamie Pelletier of Madawaska, who is the great, great, granddaughter of Theodore Bouchard, the very first graduate of the Madawaska Training School in 1882.

Immediately following the noon bell ringing, the public is invited to participate in a teaching demonstration in the Nadeau Hall teleconference room that will be lead by three faculty members who will use the latest technology available to faculty on the university campus.

Standing by to welcome campus and community members to the event will be Principal Vetal Cyr and Miss Mae Morrill, the first administrative head and teacher respectively, who were present at the first day of classes in 1878.

Cyr and Morrill will be portrayed by UMFK alumni Laurel Daigle, a Fort Kent area businessman and Anne Roy, director of the Acadian Village in Van Buren. The two will be reprising the roles they played on August 27, when the university re-enacted the first day of classes at the Acadian Village in Van Buren.

UMFK faculty members Tony Gauvin, Raymond Albert and Bruno Hicks will follow the welcome by "Cyr" and "Morrill" with a 60 minute session that will demonstrate the use of the latest teaching technology, showcase the continuing education activities of Gauvin and Albert, and explain what the current generation of university education program graduates can expect in the classroom.

Albert, associate professor of computer science, and Gauvin, assistant professor of electronic commerce, were two of only 13 college and university faculty members nationwide selected to participate in a prestigious information security summer institute at Purdue University this past summer.

The two attended the Information Assurance Education Graduate Certificate program, which ran June 16 through August 8, at the West Lafayette, Indiana campus Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS).

CERIAS is currently viewed as one of the world's leading centers for research and education in areas of information security that are crucial to the protection of critical computing and communication infrastructure.

Albert and Gauvin will use the technology in the Nadeau Hall facility to discuss some of the material covered at the summer institute.

They will be joined by Hicks, assistant professor of education and chair of the education division, who will explain, using some of the technology available, how today's teachers are incorporating the use of technology in their classroom.

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, contact the UMFK 125th Anniversary planning office at (207) 834-7557.