FARMINGTON — University of Maine at Farmington will celebrate its 2011 commencement at 10:30 a.m. May 14 at an outdoor ceremony behind the UMF Olsen Student Center on the UMF campus.

Environmentalist, author and educator Bill McKibben will deliver the commencement address.

McKibben has written extensively about climate change and founded 350.org, a grass-roots movement dedicated to help people across the globe become aware of the severe consequences of global warming to all of Earth’s inhabitants. He is recognized by the Boston Globe as “probably the nation’s leading environmentalist.”

Theodora J. Kalikow, UMF president, and Allen Berger, vice president for academic affairs, will confer degrees to this year’s graduates, including the first graduates of UMF’s Master of Science in Education – Educational Leadership degree program.

“As one of Princeton Review’s recently named ‘green colleges,’ UMF is thrilled to have Bill McKibben bring his passion for the environment to our new graduates,” Kalikow said. “Throughout his career, he has led by example and has committed his time and talent to a cause he cares deeply about.”

McKibben is currently a Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, where he also directs the Middlebury Fellowships in Environmental Journalism.

The university will award honorary degrees of Doctor of Humane Letters to McKibben and Robert Shetterly, artist, illustrator and activist. Shetterly is known for his editorial drawings for the Maine Times newspaper, prolific book illustrations and his narrative painting series, including “Americans Who Tell The Truth,” which has toured the country for more than seven years.

Jeffrey Lees of Vassalboro, graduating senior with a double major in psychology and political science, will give the student address. Lees is an honors scholar and was inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta and Psi Chi, two academic honor societies. He worked as a Gear Up tutor at Dirigo and Jay high schools and served as president of UMF Student Senate and the Table Gaming Club.

The outdoor ceremony is free and open to the public. However, in case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held inside the UMF Fitness & Recreation Center. Admission to the indoor ceremony will be limited to those who have already received Fitness and Recreation Center tickets. Guests of graduates are also welcome to watch the ceremony live over closed-circuit television in classrooms in the UMF Education Center and in Lincoln Auditorium and C23, located in the UMF Roberts Learning Center.

The commencement ceremony will be broadcast live on Mount Blue TV community access Channel 11, whether the ceremony is held indoors or outdoors. DVDs of the ceremony will be available in early summer for a small fee from the university’s Ferro Alumni Center, which may be contacted at 207-778-7090.


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