TO: Employee-News

FROM: Dr. Melik Peter Khoury

DATE: April 3, 2018

SUBJECT: Early Spring Treats


Unity College Colleagues,

As spring thaw finally begins to really take hold here in Maine, the receding snow reveals a treasure trove of yard art, toys, lawn furniture, motorized vehicles, and other beloved objet d’art. As I was enjoying the spring discovery on my drive in this morning, it made me think of all the great things that have happened in late winter / early spring here at the college, often due directly to your hard work and commitment to our students and college. So I thought I might celebrate a few of them with you.

Lapping Lecture | Joe Riis will be speaking tonight as part of the annual Lapping Lecture Series. The Lapping Lecture Series is an annual highlight for me, as it is one of the times, as president, that I get to get a little more hands-on with our faculty as we identify and host amazing national speakers. Joe is terrific. Thanks for Dean deHart, Josh Kerscmar and others for working to bring him to the series.

Spring Open House | This Saturday visitors will get a real taste of living and learning on our small, supportive, passionate campus. Thank you for all your help in engaging with students and their families as they experience academic workshops; enjoy meals in award-winning Wyman Commons; get answers about housing, wellness, and financial aid; visit the animal barn and animal rooms; and get the inside information about student life from current undergraduates. Registration begins at 9 a.m. in the Tozier Gymnasium. A community fair and campus tours will begin at 9:15 a.m. Brunch and academic experience sessions will be held from noon to 2 p.m. See you there!

PADI Grant | Our faculty have been busy, and it’s paying off for our students! Dr. Emma Perry and Dr. Alyson McKnight have been awarded a grant from the PADI Foundation to support their project: Can foraging shorebirds provide us with a cheap index of marine community health? By all accounts this is a pioneering effort to link bird activity and meiofaunal community structure. Not only will this be a great opportunity for Emma and Aly to travel to Curacao to study the meiofauna and coastal bird diversity, but they will also have funding to take a student with them on this data collection trip.

MAPSS Scholarship | Our students have been busy too! Emily MacDonald, an Earth and Environmental Science major, just became the first student in the College’s history to earn the Janet Engle Cormier Soil Science Scholarship from the Maine Association of Professional Soil Scientists (MAPSS). Emily is ably mentored by Dr. Kevin Spigel and Dr. Jim Kilarney. She was awarded the scholarship at the MAPSS meeting hosted by the college at the UCCPA.

BIG NIGHT | Greg LeClair, Matt Chatfield and the Herp Club say Big Night might be any night now! To help raise awareness of the annual road crossing of amphibians, known as “Big Night,” the Unity College Herpetology Club has launched the first-ever Big Night event at the college. The Big Night event follows in the footsteps of dozens of other conservation organizations who have mobilized volunteers to help conserve the dwindling amphibian population, sending volunteers out into one of the first warm and rainy nights of spring to help these creatures cross without getting hit.

Service Spring Break | Five students joined development officer Jlynn Frazier and Dean of Students Ray Phinney on a spring break service trip to Tacoma Washington. The group worked with the local Habitat for Humanity to give students exposure to different people in different parts of the country, and to continue our efforts to become a part of the Tacoma community in order to broaden our service demographic.

Fulbright | We were very happy to host the Maine Fulbright Scholars here at the college. Dr. Amy Arnett, Chief Distance Education Officer, and Fulbright Scholar, and I played host. Chief Sustainability Officer Jennifer deHart conducted tours of our sustainability initiatives and Distance Education faculty member, Dr. Brent Bibles and Dr. Arnett offered presentations on their research. The room was full of Maine’s Fulbest and Fulbrightest!

Sky Lodge | We had a wonderful visit to Sky Lodge on March 27th. During the day, a dozen or so faculty and staff took a day trip to meet the Couris and the staff; get tours of the lodge, the conference center, and train and auto museums; and to imagine the possibilities. We made a little video capturing the spirit of the day.

In the evening of the 27th, the main lodge dining room was full of Moose River and Jackman Selectmen and their spouses for our introduction to area leaders. Folks were curious and eager to get to know us. The questions demonstrated what I would call “cautious optimism” and real interest in partnering with the college, as demonstrated in comments from town leaders in this recent Portland Press Herald article. Our team’s message focused on “we’re here to learn from you how we can best become part of this community.” Elaine and John Couri reaffirmed their appreciation for and commitment to the college.

I wish every one of you could have been there to see the energy throughout that day, and I hope you are able to take advantage of several visits to Sky Lodge I’ve asked John Zavodny to arrange for faculty, staff, and students. His invitation went out recently via email. Trips are filling fast, so reserve your spot for one of two-day trips very soon. We’re committed to getting everyone there who wants to go, so trips will continue even after graduation.

In addition, President Autumn Kanakis and Student Government Association are having their spring leadership retreat there; maintenance, custodial, events, catering, and sustainability work units have had orientation trips; we have several classes scheduled to go for the day, including Lori Perez’s CSI lab and a Paul Guernsey writing class; and we’re working to get Tom Mullin and the Trail Crew up there very soon. Plans for a fall Open House are in the works. Of course you’ll be invited! Stay tuned.

If you haven’t seen the WABI segment on Sky Lodge that ran (and ran and ran) last week, it’s worth a look and maybe a share.

Registration for Fall | The schedule is out and registration is right around the corner. Please make sure to support our students as they plan for fall classes and help them have a smooth registration week. Watch for specific advising and support tips from our student success team very soon.

Apologies for missing all the amazing things you do that didn’t get noticed in this note. Thank you once again for your service to this special institution!

In Unity!

Dr. Melik Peter Khoury
Unity College
Office: 207-509-7144