Convocation 2021


2021/2022 Academic Theme: Race & Social Justice

In academia, convocation is the event officially welcoming students to their academic career. It is intended also to convey to students the importance of their educational work and to show the school’s commitment to supporting students as they pursue their education.

At UMA, Convocation marks the beginning of a new academic year, and with that, a new academic theme. The UMA Colloquium is pleased to announce that the 2021-2022 academic theme is Race & Social Justice. Part of this year’s academic theme includes the adoption of a single theme-related book by a number of classes across the curriculum: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson.

Rising Scholars

Rising Scholars are also recognized at Convocation for both academic achievement and promise. Students are nominated because they have excelled in academics, engaged in the UMA community, or are someone who faculty/staff believe shows great potential and promise as student scholars.

Keynote Speaker – Honorable Donna Loring

Honorable Donna Loring
Honorable Donna Loring. Photo credit: Jason Paige Smith.

The Honorable Donna Loring is an elder and former council member of the Penobscot Indian Nation. She held the position of the Nation’s Representative to the Maine State Legislature for twelve years, ending her service in 2008. Her book titled “In The Shadow of the Eagle: A Tribal Representative in Maine” chronicles her experiences in the Maine State Legislature as a Non-voting Tribal Representative.

During her time in the Maine Legislature, she authored and sponsored LD 291 “An Act to Require Teaching Maine Native American History and Culture in Maine’s Schools” which Governor Angus King signed into law in 2001, changing the way Maine views its history.

Most recently, she was a Senior Advisor on Tribal Affairs to Governor Janet Mills.

Her professional background is in law enforcement having served as the Police Chief for the Penobscot Nation from 1984-1990 and becoming the first woman police academy graduate to become police chief in the State of Maine.

Donna is a Vietnam Veteran, serving in Vietnam from November of 1967 to November of 1968, during the TET Offensive.

She hosts her own radio show, Wabanaki Windows at WERU Community Radio in Orland.

  • First and foremost, there is an expectation faculty will attend.
  • Faculty members – and especially those teaching a class on Friday afternoon – are encouraged to invite their students to what promises to be a thought-provoking conversation that cuts across all academic disciplines.
  • Convocation will conclude at approximately 4:00 p.m.
  • Because Convocation is designed to be a university community event, UMA staff are expected to attend Convocation.
  • Staff who nominated a Rising Scholar are especially encouraged to attend.
  • If you have any questions, contact Carol Bean at 207.621.3438.
  • Students are encouraged to attend Convocation whether or not they are Rising Scholars.
  • Returning Rising Scholars from previous years are also invited to attend Convocation.

If you were selected as a Rising Scholar last year or the year before, you are a Returning Rising Scholar. As a returning Rising Scholar, we look forward to your attending this year’s September 17th Convocation as a special guest of the university.

While only newly nominated Rising Scholars will be acknowledged by name during the program, Interim President Szakas intends to recognize returning Rising Scholars as a group during Convocation.

If you have any questions, contact Carol Bean at 207.621.3438.

This event is open to the public. We invite you to tune in to the Convocation event online on September 17th at 3:00 pm.

A link to join the live stream will be provided closer to the event date.