Noel Paul Stookey to Address Attendees at UMA Convocation

Member of the legendary trio Peter, Paul and Mary, and renowned singer and songwriter in his own right, to provide remarks at September 20 event on Dirigo, UMA’s theme for academic year

 AUGUSTA–University of Maine at Augusta President Rebecca Wyke is pleased to announce that Noel Paul Stookey, member of the legendary trio Peter, Paul and Mary, and renowned singer and songwriter in his own right, will deliver the Keynote Address at UMA’s Convocation ceremony on September 20, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.  Convocation will be held on the Campus Green of the Augusta Campus.

Convocation marks the beginning of a new academic year, and with that, a new academic theme.  The UMA Colloquium selected Dirigo as the theme for the 2019-2020 academic year.  Additionally, a single theme-related book has been adopted for use in a number of classes across the curriculum: When We Were the Kennedy’s, by Monica Wood.

Dr. Kay Retzlaff, UMA Professor of English, will frame and provide a faculty perspective on the theme and Brenda Thomas, a student in the Education Pathways program, will give her perspective on Dirigo.

During the Convocation ceremony, UMA will also recognize students identified as Rising Scholars for both academic achievement and promise.  Nominated students are those who have excelled in academics, engaged in the UMA community, or are individuals faculty and staff believe show great potential and promise as student scholars.

About the keynote speaker

Photo of Noel Paul Stookey
Noel Paul Stookey Image Photo Credit Sally Farr

Stookey grew up in the Midwest where he played electric guitar in his high school rock ’n’ roll band (the Birds of Paradise) and hung out at an R&B record shop listening to groups like the Drifters, the Platters, and the Cadillacs.

He moved to New York City at 20 looking for independence, but he found “Peter” and “Mary,” and a career that took on a life of its own, with their first album shooting to the top of the charts, where it stayed for two years. He has performed in intimate coffeehouses, at the White House, and in massive stadiums. At the 1963 March on Washington when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his I Have a Dream speech, Peter, Paul and Mary performed the compelling If I Had a Hammer and Blowin’ in the Wind.

Stookey’s sound has been shaped by huge cities, as well as the smallest hamlets of the Heartland, housing projects, coastal Maine villages, towns up and down the Mississippi, and by his search for a common language that enables everyone, no matter their origins and experiences, to communicate with each other and celebrate the mystery of life.

Over forty-five years ago, Stookey and his wife Elizabeth (Betty) moved with their three daughters to the coast of Maine.  By then Stookey’s solo voice was firmly established, writing and performing music that addresses social change while speaking of and to the soul; fusing jazz improvisation and insightful folk lyrics. The political, sociopolitical, spiritual, and cultural dynamics of life’s stories continue to drive his songs. The connection between Stookey and his material, as well as his audience, is intimate, immediate, identifiable, and electrifying.

Stookey has recorded over 50 albums, both as part of the legendary trio and as a soloist.  His voice is known all across this land: from the Wedding Song to In These Times.

Nearly $2 million earned from Stookey’s now-classic Wedding Song helped fund the work of other socially responsible artists.  This inspired Stookey, along with his daughter Liz Stookey Sunde, to launch MusicToLife Initiative in 2001. The nonprofit has introduced groundbreaking ways to bring music to life for social change through technology, entertainment, artist collaboration, and education.