The Star-Herald

Mills to offer UMFK commencement address

FORT KENT, Maine — The University of Maine at Fort Kent has announced that Dr. Dora Ann Mills will be the keynote speaker for the 136th commencement ceremony on May 12 at 1 p.m. in the UMFK Sports Center.

Since 2011, Mills has been a vice president at the University of New England (UNE), where she has helped expand clinical interprofessional education and public health programs such as nutrition education and substance use prevention.

“Dr. Mills is an excellent example of Maine values and commitment to hard work,” said UMFK President Dr. John Short. “She has been a true pioneer in educating the health professionals of the future and we are fortunate to be able to include her in our commencement ceremony.”

“As someone with County roots and who grew up in and worked in rural Maine, I am passionate about UMFK’s vision as Maine’s premier rural university,” said Mills. “Just as UMFK is located along the confluence of the Fish and St. John rivers, this rural university is also at the crossroads of Maine, New Brunswick, and Quebec, and because of UMFK’s innovative use of technology, it has grown a global audience while maintaining its identity as a rural, environmentally-focused, culturally diverse institution of higher education.”

Mills grew up in rural western Maine and frequently visited her family in Aroostook County, where her mother was born and her grandparents were fourth-generation potato farmers and loggers.

After completing her education and training, she returned to her hometown of Farmington to practice medicine. From 1996 to 2011, she was Maine’s director for public health, and was the longest-serving director in the nation when she left service. During her tenure, she championed policies that created smoke-free public places, the building of a statewide community-based public health infrastructure, and pandemic preparedness.

Mills has received numerous state and national awards, including an honorary degree from the University of Maine at Augusta.

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