Zillmans to be honored during UMPI commencement

2 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — University of Maine at Presque Isle President Ray Rice has announced that former UMPI President Donald N. Zillman and first lady Linda G. Zillman will deliver a joint commencement address and receive honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees during the university’s 113th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 7.

“We are so pleased to have Don and Linda Zillman join us for this year’s commencement exercises,” Rice said. “The Zillmans are beloved members of our UMPI community and have championed not only this institution, but also many entities throughout the University of Maine System and the state of Maine. We are so pleased to connect them with our graduates during the special occasion of our first in-person commencement exercises since 2019.”

Dr. Donald N. Zillman has served in leadership capacities on multiple campuses within the University of Maine System, including president of UMPI from 2006-2012, interim president of the University of Maine at Fort Kent from 2001-2002, interim provost and academic vice president at the University of Maine from 1999-2000, and the dean of the University of Maine School of Law from 1991-1998. He held the Godfrey Professorship of Law at Maine Law from 1990 until his retirement in 2019 and is the Emeritus Godfrey Professor of Law at Maine Law.

As UMPI’s 10th president, he led several major initiatives, including: more than $4 million in renovations to UMPI’s major classroom building, Pullen and Folsom Halls; the establishment of several renewable energy systems on campus, from solar to wind to biomass; the four-year, Nellie Mae Education Foundation-funded Project Compass effort to develop and improve culturally responsive retention strategies for UMPI’s Native American students; and the addition of a state-of the-art GIS laboratory. He also established a scholarship fund for new students while serving at UMPI.

He began his legal career as a Captain at the Army Judge Advocate General’s School in Charlottesville, VA. After discharge from active duty, he began his civilian teaching career at Arizona State Law School and subsequently taught at the University of Utah and the University of Maine Law School. He also served as Visiting Professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Over the years, he has published 80 books and articles on a wide range of subjects. His most recent publications include a chapter in Resilience in Energy, Infrastructure, and Natural Resources Law, Energy Justice and Energy Law with del Guayo, Godden, Montoya and Gonzalez, and Military Memories. In terms of his civic activities, he has been a Rotarian for decades and served as president of the Portland Rotary Club in 2017-2018. He has also been an avid competitive runner, having completed over 1,000 races over the last 40 years.

Linda G. Zillman is well known across Maine as a strong advocate of the arts and higher education. For decades, her service and philanthropy have supported several arts organizations as well as UMS institutions. She served on the Board of Portland Ballet for three years, and has been on the Alliance Board of the Art Museum (now the Zillman Art Museum of the University of Maine in Bangor) for 16 years.

 She was instrumental in helping to bring to UMPI a gift from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts through its Photographic Legacy Project of over 100 works by the world-famous artist, working closely with Reed Art Gallery Director Sandra Huck on the effort. 

Together with her husband Don, she saw to the establishment of the Zillman Family Professorship in 2013 through a designated fund they established at the Maine Community Foundation. This professorship is awarded every two years to an UMPI faculty member to assist in research and faculty development; it is the University’s first rotating professorship. Most recently, her passion for gardening stimulated the leadership of the Zillman Family Greenhouse, the newest building on the UMPI campus.

 She has made a significant impact elsewhere in Maine. Through a naming gift she and her husband made, the University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor was expanded and enhanced; the museum was subsequently named the Linda G. and Donald N. Zillman Art Museum. Their support of the studio arts and performing arts throughout Maine is also reflected in their long-term support of Portland Ballet, on whose board both have served.

An avid supporter of the Presque Isle-based Wintergreen Arts Center, Linda Zillman has helped contribute to the growth of the community-focused arts non-profit supporting children in the local region. She is well known across the UMPI community as well as the entire University of Maine System and has long demonstrated a strong dedication to the citizens of not only Aroostook County, but the entire State of Maine.

Commencement will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 7, in Gentile Hall. The classes of 2020 and 2021 have been invited to march in this ceremony. Face coverings will be optional; participants must have proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours. This is subject to change depending on the current health situation. 

This year’s Commencement will be live streamed on the University’s YouTube page. Viewers can directly access the livestream starting at 9:30 a.m. on graduation day by visiting www.umpi.edu/livestream.