Handley-smallDear UMA faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends:

I am writing you to let you know I will be leaving UMA in early September to take on an exciting new position at National University in San Diego. This was a very difficult decision for me, because I love UMA and the people who work here and go to school here. In the end, though, I have chosen to take this new opportunity for three reasons.

First, the new job at National University is one that truly excites me. As the first Executive Director of their brand new Sanford Education Center, I can have a real national impact on K-12 education, developing and implementing programs that will create inspiring new teachers at every level. I will also be developing new national programs for non-profit leaders, and I get to return to my roots at National University where I served in several leadership positions as a Dean and a Vice President for most of the 1990s.

The second reason I have decided to take the new position is to be closer to my children and grandchildren, all of whom reside in California. Living in Maine, my trips to California have been too infrequent and all too brief for someone so devoted to family. I am really looking forward to spending much more time with them.

Third and finally, I can leave UMA, knowing it is in great shape, with a tremendous leadership team in place to continue our momentum, growth and success.

Over the past six and a half years, we have accomplished so much together, including building public and private partnerships to create new programs in Architecture, Aviation and Nursing; enhancing student support through one-stop shopping and a new Enrollment Services Division; strengthening our nationally recognized support of veterans; acquiring the Gannett building that established a UMA presence in downtown Augusta; building a new state-of-the-art dental hygiene clinic on the Bangor campus; strengthening online and distance education and our relationship with University College centers; building an institutional research arm, so we could make data driven decisions; establishing an advancement and alumni office to tighten our ties with former students, while creating new revenue streams to support current students; and strengthening our relationship with the communities that surround us and building strong partnerships with business and civic leaders and legislators to strengthen economic development efforts in our region and state.

These were not my accomplishments, they were ours. Indeed, if I was going to take credit for any one accomplishment, it would be for assembling a great team that worked so well together, and made these many accomplishments happen.  That will surely continue in my absence.

I will be at UMA for about another month, so I will surely see most of you before I leave. As far as who will be taking my place on an interim basis, the Chancellor will be soliciting  input from people on campus and likely making a determination in the coming weeks.

I want to thank you all for providing me with this amazing opportunity to serve as your President. I will miss you, and regret that I will not be around to celebrate UMA’s 50th anniversary. But I know the next 50 will be just as exciting and notable, and as UMA moves forward into its next half century be assured I will be following UMA’s continued success from afar while forever carrying this special place close to my heart.

Sincerely,

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Allyson Handley