FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington will inaugurate its 14th president, Kathryn A. Foster, during its 150th anniversary year.

The inauguration will take place at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, on the UMF campus.

The event is a landmark in the university’s long history of distinguished leadership and ushers in the promise of the next 150 years for UMF — the birthplace of public higher education in Maine.

As is tradition, the installation will begin with an academic procession led by fellow University of Maine System presidents, UMF faculty and nearly 50 delegates from esteemed institutions across the country.

UMaine System Chancellor James H. Page will serve as master of ceremonies and greetings will be offered by the UMaine System board of trustees, the academic community, local leaders, alumni, faculty, staff and students.

Wesley McNair, poet laureate of Maine and UMF professor emeritus, will read “My Town,” an original poem. “Distance” and “Proximity,” new musical compositions by Philip Carlsen, UMF professor of music, will be performed by the Portland Brass Quintet.


Under Foster’s leadership since her arrival last year, UMF received a full ten-year accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, created a Division of University Advancement, expanded university governance and oversaw numerous changes to campus facilities and programs.

Foster helped develop the University of Maine System’s first allocation model for outcomes-based funding and currently serves as co-chairman for UMF’s sesquicentennial celebrations.

A native of New Jersey and a scholar-educator with 30 years of experience in public higher education and regional policy and practice, Foster came to UMF from a position as visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., where she was on research leave from the State University of New York at Buffalo, her academic home from 1993 to 2012.

At the State University of New York, Foster was director of the University at Buffalo Regional Institute, an award-winning research and policy unit informing regional issues. Prior to assuming the directorship in 2005, she served as chairwoman of the University at Buffalo Department of Urban and Regional Planning, where as a faculty member, she taught graduate, undergraduate and honors courses.

Earlier in her career, she was a lecturer at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, served as a regional planner in the U.S. Peace Corps in Swaziland and as visiting fellow at the Taubman Center for State and Local Government in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2000-01.

A frequent public speaker, Foster is the author of “The Political Economy of Special-Purpose Government” (1997), “Regionalism on Purpose” (2001) and numerous book chapters, articles and policy reports.

She participated actively on several New York State task forces, including the New York State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness, and was selected by Business First in 2007 as its Woman of Influence in Public Policy. From 2006 until its conclusion in 2013, Foster was also associate director and Co-PI for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Building Resilient Regions.

Foster earned her bachelor of arts degree in geography from The Johns Hopkins University, her master’s in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley and her doctorate in public and international affairs from Princeton University.

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