Bergen receives honorary doctorate

Kathy McCarty, Special to The County
17 years ago

   PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – William Bergen, D.O., of Presque Isle, received an honorary doctor of science in osteopathy degree during the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine’s 27th commencement exercise held in June in Portland.
    Bergen, 75, a founder and board member of NECOM – which was established at St. Francis College in 1978 – was lucky to be alive to receive the honor. He and his wife, Mary, 58, were seriously injured following a two-vehicle accident in Houlton that claimed the life of the other driver, 44-year-old Alan Bulley. It was later determined that Bulley’s blood alcohol level was over three times the legal limit when he crashed head-on into the Bergens’ Dodge pickup on North Street. The Bergens were first taken to Houlton Regional Hospital and later transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center.
“William and his wife stayed with their son in Massachusetts for a time to be closer to the hospital where he was undergoing therapy following the accident,” said John Schmidt, a close family friend. “They were looking forward to returning to their home in Presque Isle. It’s been a lengthy recovery and they’re just glad to be alive.”
Schmidt indicated he and Bergen had worked together and that Bergen was “a dear friend.”
“I got to know him while I worked as director of nursing at The Aroostook Medical Center,” said Schmidt.
In addition to helping found the university, Bergen also taught at the medical school.
Schmidt said Bergen told him he was pleased to be honored in this way.
“I received a note from him (Bergen) prior to the event saying it was the thrill of his life,” said Schmidt. “He’s been very dedicated to the medical profession, so this is a fitting honor to bestow upon him.”