University of Southern Maine

The University of Southern Maine (USM) is a public university with campuses in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston in the U.S. state of Maine. It is the southernmost of the University of Maine System. It was founded as two separate state universities, Gorham Normal School and University of Maine at Portland. The two universities were combined in 1970 to help streamline the public university system in Maine and eventually expanded by adding the Lewiston campus in 1988.

University of Southern Maine
University of Southern Maine seal.svg
Former names
University of Maine at Portland
Gorham State College
University of Maine at Portland-Gorham
MottoThe University of Everyone
TypePublic university
Parent institution
University of Maine System
Academic affiliations
PresidentGlenn Cummings
Students8,022 (2020)[1]
Undergraduates6,098 (2020)[2]
Postgraduates1,924 (2020)[3]
Location, ,
United States

43°39′45″N 70°16′34″W / 43.66250°N 70.27611°W / 43.66250; -70.27611Coordinates: 43°39′45″N 70°16′34″W / 43.66250°N 70.27611°W / 43.66250; -70.27611
CampusUrban, Suburban
ColorsRoyal Blue and Gold[4]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division III
MascotChamp the Husky
University of Southern Maine.svg

The Portland Campus is home to the Edmund Muskie School of Public Service, the Bio Sciences Research Institute, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Osher Map Library, and the USM School of Business. The Gorham campus, much more residential, is home to the School of Education and Human Development and the School of Music.[5] As of 2019, USM had 6,700 undergraduate students and 1,500 graduate students, with a student-faculty ratio of 13:1.[6][7]


Evolving from Gorham Academy into an institution of higher education, USM originated in 1878 as Gorham Normal School, later called Gorham State Teachers College and then Gorham State College. In 1970 that institution merged with the University of Maine at Portland (previously Portland Junior College) and became the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham (UMPG).[8] The name was changed to University of Southern Maine in 1978. The Lewiston-Auburn campus was founded in 1988.

2014 financial problems and subsequent developmentsEdit

At the beginning of 2014, administrators at USM announced that the university had found itself in dire financial straits, and would be announcing program closures and faculty layoffs, including long-term just cause faculty and tenured faculty.[9] President Theodora Kalikow and Provost Michael Stevenson announced that four departments would be closed: the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department, the GeoSciences Department, the Arts and Humanities program at Lewiston-Auburn College, and the graduate program American and New England Studies (the Recreation and Leisure Studies closure was later rescinded[10]). A week later, twelve individual faculty members in various departments were informed that they would be laid off effective May 31. As a result of protests led by USM students,[11] the layoffs were rescinded by Kalikow.[12] Later that year, Chancellor Page asked Kalikow for her resignation as USM president.[13][14][15]

This process was restarted in October 2014, when Interim President David T. Flanagan (former CEO of a power company) and Provost Joseph McDonnell announced that the three programs targeted for elimination in March would indeed be eliminated, and two more: French and Applied Medical Sciences.[16] In addition, USM faculty were notified that twenty-five departments would have to shed fifty full-time faculty members, whether through retirement or layoffs.[17] In the end, 36 faculty members retired, but since some of them were not in targeted departments, 25 faculty members were fired.

Local business leaders claimed the cuts would impair Maine's economy[18][19] and many faculty, students, staff, and community members disputed administration claims about financial insolvency.[20][21][22] Critics claimed that the layoffs were arbitrary and capricious,[23] an attempt to eliminate outspoken faculty critical of administration policies and actions, and in violation of the Faculty Senate governance document and the faculty union's Collective Bargaining Agreement.[24][25] All of the faculty layoffs were immediately challenged through grievances filed by the union against the University of Maine System.[24] Following an investigation, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) voted in 2015 to censure the university.[26][27]

The university announced in March 2015 that Harvey Kesselman, Provost and Acting President[28] of Stockton University, would become the USM President effective July 1, 2015.[29][30] Kesselman backed out of the USM presidency when he was asked to remain at Stockton in the wake of that institution's troubled attempts to open an "island campus" in Atlantic City, New Jersey.[31] USM then announced that Glenn Cummings, former speaker of the Maine House, would serve as the next president.[32] Since in the wake of the controversy swirling around the university Zito Sartarelli had already withdrawn his name from consideration in February,[33] Glenn Cummings remained the only finalist willing to accept the job. He currently serves as the fourth president of USM since 2011.[34]


Wishcamper Center, east side of campus.

Portland CampusEdit

The main part of the campus consists entirely of non-residential buildings. Many department offices are located around the perimeter of the campus center in converted multi-story homes as well as in the major buildings. The primary academic areas at the Portland campus are business, nursing, history, political science, economics, sociology, biology, physics, chemistry, math, English, psychology, media studies, modern and classical languages and literatures, American and New England studies.[35] The Albert Brenner Glickman Family Library is the main library on the Portland Campus.

Gorham CampusEdit

Luther Bonney, Masterton Hall, and the Science building at USM's Portland Campus

43°40′54″N 70°26′54″W / 43.68167°N 70.44833°W / 43.68167; -70.44833 (Gorham campus, University of Southern Maine)

Robie Andrews Hall is one of the original Gorham State College buildings. It is now primarily a residence hall with some mixed academic usage on the first floor. Taken from a 1907 postcard.

Gorham is home to most of the university's dormitories and competitive athletic facilities. The primary academic areas residing in Gorham are industrial technologies, engineering, art, music, theater, counseling and education, anthropology, geography, environmental sciences, and geosciences.[35] McLellan House, built in 1773, was acquired by Gorham State College in 1966. It was converted into dormitories and later into office space.[36] The Academy Building was built in 1803 and purchased by the university in 1878.

The Brooks Dining Hall was renovated in 2019 at a cost of $2.5 million which is allowing it to expand the vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free food [37] because "students who prefer a plant-based diet were ditching the meal plan, eating elsewhere or foregoing meals."[38]

Residence Halls located on the Gorham campus include:

  • Woodward Hall
  • Dickey and Wood Towers: Dickey and Wood Towers were opened in 1970 and formerly inaugurated in 1973. They are named after Edna Dickey, who taught history at the university from 1945–1972 as well as serving as Dean of Women from 1945–69 and Esther Wood, who taught social sciences from 1930–1973.[36] USM has proposed mothballing the two towers, which currently have several vacant floors, to save $400,000 in 2014.[39]
  • Upton Hall and Hastings Hall: Upton Hall and the adjacent Hastings Hall are named after Ethelyn Upton and Mary Hastings, both of whom were prominent faculty. Upton Hall, home of the university healthcenter and Residential Life Office, was opened in 1960. Hastings Hall opened in 1968. Together, the complex can house up to 300 students.[36]
  • Anderson Hall
  • Robie Andrews Hall: Robie Hall is named after former Maine Governor Frederick Robie, who served from 1883 to 1887. It was built in 1897 to replace a female-only dormitory which had burnt down in 1894.[36]
  • Phillipi Hall: Opened in 2001. Philippi hall also houses USM's new Pioneer Program.[36]
  • Upperclass Hall (completed fall of 2007)

Lewiston-Auburn CampusEdit

44°4′35″N 70°10′20″W / 44.07639°N 70.17222°W / 44.07639; -70.17222 (Lewiston-Auburn campus, University of Southern Maine)

USM's Lewiston-Auburn campus, Front entrance. This campus was established in 1988

The Lewiston-Auburn campus of the University of Southern Maine is the newest of the three campuses. The college on this campus is known as Lewiston-Auburn College (USM LAC). USM LAC is committed to being a national leader in interdisciplinary education, serving as a resource for the community, and providing degree programs that are responsive to changing cultural and workplace demands available to a non-traditional and diverse student body.[40]

Baccalaureate degree programs available at USM LAC are: Arts and Humanities, Leadership and Organizational Studies, Natural and Applied Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences. Master of Arts in Leadership and Master of Occupational Therapy degrees are offered exclusively at Lewiston-Auburn College. The USM Nursing program (BS & RN to BS) from USM's College of Nursing and Health Professions are also offered at the Lewiston-Auburn campus.[40]


USM offers baccalaureate and master's degree programs as well as doctoral programs in Public Policy and School Psychology.[5] Undergraduate study is available in roughly 115 areas, and degrees conferred include the B.S, B.A, B.M., and B.F.A.[41] Graduate study is available at the Masters and Doctoral level through the School of Business, School of Education and Human Development, Muskie School of Public Service, School of Social Work, School of Music, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, School of Nursing, and the School of Environmental, Health, and Life Sciences.

The Department of Educational and School Psychology offers a master's degree and a doctoral degree in School Psychology. The degrees are accredited by the Maine Department of Education. Graduates of the master's program are eligible for certification as school psychologists. Graduates of the doctoral program are eligible for state licensure as psychologists and certification as school psychologists. The department also offers a master's degree with an emphasis in applied behavior analysis that meets the educational requirements to be eligible for board certification as a behavior analyst (BCBA).

The Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing is a graduate program in creative writing which enrolls approximately 100 students in four major genres: creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and popular fiction.

The USM School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) an unrecognized accreditor.

Continuing education is available through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes.

The University of Southern Maine is one of two schools in the state of Maine that offers an ABET accredited Computer Science degree program.[42]


The University of Southern Maine teams are the Huskies. The university sponsors the 23 sports at the NCAA Division III level. The majority of sports compete in the Little East Conference; wrestling competes as an independent Division III team, men's and women's ice hockey compete in the ECAC East.[43]



Glenn Cummings was appointed President of the university on May 20, 2015 after Dr. Harvey Kesselman, who had accepted an appointment as President of the university to commence on July 1, 2015, agreed to remain as Acting President of Stockton University by request of the Stockton University Board of Trustees.

Notable alumniEdit

Name Class Notability Reference
Spencer Albee ex-1997 American musician
Richard A. Bennett 2000 Chairman of the Maine Republican Party [44]
Joseph Brannigan ?? Maine state legislator
Michael F. Brennan ?? Maine state legislator
Joseph Bruno (Maine politician) 1989 Minority Leader of the Maine House of Representatives, 2000–2004 [45]
Alan Casavant 2004 Mayor of Biddeford, Maine, 2012–present [46]
Vinton Cassidy ?? Maine State Senator, 1992–1998
Glenn Chadbourne ?? American Artist [47]
Kate Chappell 1983 Founder of Tom's of Maine [48]
Kathleen Chase 1991 Maine State Representative from the 147th district [49]
John Cleveland (politician) 1982 State Senator from Maine's 15th District [50]
Robert Crowley (Survivor contestant) ?? Winner of the American television show Survivor: Gabon [51]
John Currier 1975 28th Vice Commandant of the United States Coast Guard [52]
Gerald Davis (politician) ?? Maine State Senator from the 11th District, 2008–2010 [53]
William Diamond 1972 Maine Secretary of State, 1989–1997 [54]
Mark Dion (politician) ?? Maine State Representative, 2010–present
Don Dodge ?? Developer advocate for Google
Benjamin F. Dudley 1999 Maine House of Representatives, 1998–2006 [55]
Eleanor Espling 1994 Maine House of Representatives, 2010–present [56]
Ellen F. Golden 1994 Director, Women's Business Center, Coastal Enterprises, Inc., Wiscasset, Maine [citation needed]
Anne Haskell ?? Maine state legislator
Simon M. Hamlin ?? U.S. Congressman
Hannah Holmes 1988 Journalist [57]
Wilbur R. Ingalls, Jr. ?? Architect
Kevan Jones ?? British Member of Parliament
Brian Langley ?? Maine state legislator
Lois Lowry 1972 Novelist
David A. Marshall ?? Artist and Portland city councilor
Jean Ginn Marvin ?? Maine State Legislator
Chellie Pingree ?? U.S. Congresswoman
Luke Robinson (wrestler) 2008 Professional wrestler
Diane Russell ?? Maine state legislator
Tony Shalhoub 1977 Actor
Raymond C. Stevens 1986 Research Scientist
Kevin St.Jarre 2010 Writer
Nancy Sullivan (politician) ?? Maine State Legislator
Cleon Turner ?? Massachusetts State Legislator
John Bruce Wallace ?? Philosopher and artist
Bonnie Titcomb Lewis ?? State legislator


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Further readingEdit

  • Bibber, Joyce K (2001). University of Southern Maine. Arcadia Publishing. OCLC 47164632.

External linksEdit