I thank the Sun Journal for its recent coverage of the University of Southern Maine’s plans to strengthen its presence in Lewiston-Auburn.

As the July 7 story outlines, USM is both exploring the relocation of the Lewiston-Auburn campus to downtown Lewiston, as well as looking to expand its academic offerings. We believe the right space with the right mix of offerings is critical to best meeting the needs of the Androscoggin region.

In addition to entire programs currently offered on the Lewiston-Auburn campus in nursing, leadership and organizational studies, social and behavioral sciences, natural and applied sciences, occupational therapy and numerous other courses in a variety of disciplines, we are optimistic we will soon be introducing here USM’s health sciences program. We are also in the process of exploring other programs to introduce on our Lewiston-Auburn campus, particularly ones that dovetail with regional needs in health care delivery.

The Lewiston-Auburn campus continues to be — and always will be — a critical part of our university, and our commitment to maintaining a strong and vibrant campus presence here is firm and unwavering.

Robert Stein, executive director for public affairs
University of Southern Maine, Portland