Published Date Written by Staff ReportU.S. Senator Susan M. Collins, R-Maine, and Mary G.F. Bitterman, president of the Bernard Osher Foundation, will be the speakers at the University of Southern Maine Commencement ceremonies, Saturday, May 11, in the Costello Sports Complex, on the Gorham campus.
For the first time, USM will have two ceremonies due to the Cumberland County Civic Center renovation project, the university announced. The ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. with about 1,000 graduates eligible to march. Graduates from the College of Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Science, Technology, and Health (except for the School of Nursing), and Women and Gender Studies will march during the morning ceremony, at which Senator Collins will speak. Graduates from the School of Nursing, Lewiston-Auburn College, and the College of Management and Human Development will hear Mary G.F. Bitterman's address during the 2 p.m. ceremony.
Collins, who has served as Maine's senator since 1997, serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and as ranking member of the Special Committee on Aging. "She has been a consistent supporter of efforts to help make post-secondary education accessible and more affordable for all families, and has led efforts to increase Pell Grants funding," USM reported. "Senator Collins is a champion of the federal TRIO programs, which help students enter and stay in college until graduation. At USM, she has assisted in securing federal appropriations that helped construct buildings, laboratories, Nursing Simulation Laboratories, and the Portland Alumni Skywalk."
Bitterman is president of The Bernard Osher Foundation, an organization that supports post-secondary scholarships, integrative medicine, and created a national network of Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes. That network includes nearly 120 institutes on college campuses across the nation, including the National Resource Center at USM. She serves on many boards, including the Commonwealth Club of California, PBS, the PBS Foundation, and Santa Clara University. She is an honorary member of the National Presswomen's Federation and a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.