University of Maine
Since the 1970s, the Harold Alfond Foundation has partnered with the University of Maine to provide high-quality public higher education experiences for Maine students. Major grants have been made to build athletic facilities (such as the Harold Alfond Sports Stadium and Harold Alfond Sports Arena), endow scholarship funds, and create The Alfond Fund, the athletic department’s coordinated fundraising program.
According to the University, “The vision and leadership of Harold Alfond and the Harold Alfond Foundation have transformed the University of Maine campus and its statewide mission as Maine’s land grant university. UMaine is the state’s only public research university and NCAA Division I athletics program. Over many years, investments by Harold Alfond and the Foundation have strengthened those distinctions to benefit Maine and beyond.
“Generous capital investments and operating support in UMaine Athletics, particularly the football and men’s ice hockey programs, have had a major impact. Harold Alfond Sports Arena, where two men’s ice hockey national championship banners hang, and Harold Alfond Sports Stadium are preeminent facilities on campus, serving student-athletes and Black Bear Nation fans, and countless numbers of community members. Most recently, The Alfond Fund launched a new chapter in Black Bear annual fundraising.
“Harold Alfond Foundation investments also made history with the establishment of the prestigious Stephen E. King Chair in Literature in honor of UMaine’s preeminent alumnus.”
In addition to those grant projects described above, the Foundation has supported innovation, research, and commercialization efforts at the University of Maine, including through significant contributions to “establish the Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Lab and the Alfond Advanced Manufacturing Lab for Structural Thermoplastics, both at the internationally recognized Advanced Structures and Composites Center. These laboratories support cutting-edge research and provide hands-on educational opportunities for tomorrow’s workforce.”
In 2017, the Foundation awarded the University of Maine System a challenge grant in support of the Portland-based Maine Graduate and Professional Center (the Maine Center). This initiative “brings together programs in law, business, and public and health policy, to train the workforce of the future and grow Maine’s economy. This center is critical to offering UMaine’s nationally recognized MBA degree statewide and beyond.”
In 2018, the Harold Alfond Foundation created a leadership endowment fund in the University of Maine System to enable the University of Maine to compete nationally for a top-tier president and to help incentivize a long-term commitment to the state.
Most recently, in 2020, the Foundation announced an unprecedented, transformative investment of up to $240,000,000 in the University of Maine System. Through this grant, significant funds are being allocated to support innovative academic programs at the University of Maine, including in its ongoing collaborations with the University of Southern Maine. The UMS commitment also includes major funding, totaling $90,000,000, to support the long-term, strategic master plan of UMaine Athletics. In true Harold Alfond spirit, the UMaine Athletics grant component requires the University to raise significant matching funds from donors and the Maine community.