University of Maine System

Category: Education
Year of Last Grant Award:2020

Since Harold Alfond’s 1977 gift to build the Harold Alfond Sports Arena at the University of Maine, the Harold Alfond Foundation has been a long-time supporter of the University of Maine System’s flagship campus in Orono, funding scholarships, professorships, athletic facilities, and engineering programs, among other initiatives. The Foundation has also supported System-wide initiatives to bolster executive leadership and strengthen academic programs tied to meeting workforce needs, including through the Maine Graduate and Professional Center (the Maine Center), the first University-level program in the country to integrate law, business, and public and health policy programs.  

Through the Maine Center, the University of Maine System (UMS) merged the state’s two AACSB accredited MBA programs, one at the University of Maine and the other at the University of Southern Maine, into a single ‘Maine MBA,’ based in Portland but available statewide through technology. In collaboration with the Maine Center, Maine Center Ventures, a separate nonprofit organization, was launched to build and strengthen partnerships between the Maine Center academic programs and the state’s businesses and community organizations.

In 2020, the Foundation announced an unprecedented, transformative investment in the UMS of up to $240,000,000. In true Harold Alfond fashion, this commitment is structured as a challenge grant, requiring a major fundraising match on the part of the System, its philanthropic partners, and the State of Maine.

The UMS investment includes new grant funding to help launch a cutting edge, multi-university ‘College of Engineering, Computing, and Information Science’; to support the development of innovative student retention and success programs; to further develop the Maine Center model; and to enhance athletic facilities at the University of Maine, home to the state’s only Division I athletic program.  

In aggregate, the 2020 UMS grant—the largest ever by the Foundation—represents a strategic, long-term effort to strengthen the capacity of Maine’s public universities to meet the state’s most pressing workforce and economic needs.