NMCC celebrates ‘Making Way for Greatness’ at this year’s Foundation Annual Dinner

3 months ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – On the evening of Thursday, November 16 the NMCC Foundation hosted its Annual Dinner, highlighting this year’s theme, “Making Way for Greatness.” The evening began with a Foundation board meeting followed by a social hour allowing guests to visit student displays showcasing the latest technology from various programs. During the fiscal year celebrated by the event, the NMCC Foundation awarded more than $135,000 in student scholarships.

During the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors, held just prior to the dinner, chairperson of the Board Ryan Bushey welcomed the new incoming Chairperson of the Board, Gina LeBlanc-Eggert of Versant Power in Presque Isle. In completing his second and final year as chairperson, Bushey had worked closely with LeBlanc-Eggert as his vice chairperson. LeBlanc-Eggert was selected by the Nominating Committee as the top candidate for the role. The Board voted unanimously in favor of LeBlanc-Eggert, whose term will begin at the December 20 board meeting. She will be supported by new Vice Chairperson Tony Lahey of MMG Insurance, who joined the board in January.

The board of directors recognized Steve Ouellette of Frank Martin Sons Inc. of Fort Kent for his nine years of service as he reached the maximum number of consecutive terms. During the 2024 year, Ouellette will serve in emeritus status as a non-voting member.

The board also voted in one new director, Daigle Oil Chief Operating Officer Carter Vaillancourt, who will fill Ouellette’s vacant seat. Vaillancourt works and lives in Fort Kent and brings unique insights into the needs of the St. John Valley.

Griffin Goins, dean of development and public affairs, as well as the executive director of the NMCC foundation, opened the evening with an introduction to the year’s theme, stating, “When we talk about greatness in Aroostook County, we’re not talking about NMCC, but the greatness of this community, and the students we see each day who entrust the College with their future.”

NMCC President Timothy Crowley updated the audience on the latest projects on campus, including the upcoming groundbreaking for the new childcare center, as well as the status of federal Congressionally Directed Spending projects, totaling $4.8 million between the years 2022 and 2023. Crowley celebrated November’s graduating class of mechanized loggers who, for the first time in the program’s history, also received their CDL Class-A licenses. He also spoke of the advancing partnership with Maine Maritime Academy to train Maine’s offshore wind workforce to meet the future demand. Crowley expressed appreciation to Aroostook County’s state delegation, and national delegation, for making these innovative projects possible.

NMCC Foundation Chairperson Ryan Bushey spoke of the extraordinary accomplishments that the Foundation had made over the last twelve months, including raising more than $314,000 in donations. During his remarks, Bushey announced the endowment of the newly established Paula Michaud Memorial Scholarship, which received the final necessary donation to surpass the $10,000 endowment level the day of the event.

Student speakers took the stage and spoke of their academic journey and how the NMCC Foundation impacted their lives. The first speaker, Alexis Smith, described her family’s move from rural Mississippi, and how much her life has transformed since moving to Aroostook County and enrolling at NMCC. Water Treatment Technology senior Kenny Jandreau, a non-traditional student who returned to college after years in the workforce, described how his relationship with the woods, through fishing and hunting in his childhood, led him to pursue a career in protecting natural resources. Finally, international student Jalen Lucas told his story about moving to Presque Isle from his home country, Trinidad and Tobago, and his gratitude for the opportunities available through the college.

The Foundation presented Stephanie Beaulieu with this year’s Newly Endowed Scholarship award, for her contribution to endow the Fields Realty Memorial Scholarship in memory of her late father, Lee Scott Fields Sr.

Two anonymous donors from Connecticut received this year’s Outstanding Benefactor Award for their contributions to the Wind Power Technology program, establishing both the Wind Power Scholarship – a pass-through scholarship to support wind students – and a $20,000 donation toward the creation of promotional products to support the program to a wider audience.

The Foundation’s most prestigious honor, the Eagle Award, went to outgoing Board Chair Ryan Bushey for his steadfast efforts in advancing LD 1988, the legislation passed in August that provides $1 million dollars towards building the new childcare center on NMCC campus.

The foundation dinner takes place each November, traditionally on the Thursday prior to Thanksgiving. For more information on the NMCC Foundation, please visit nmcc.edu.