ORONO — Frederick E. Hutchinson, who was the first member of his family to go to college and later served as University of Maine president, died Wednesday. He was 79.

Hutchinson died in a Bangor hospital, according to the university. He earned his undergraduate degree from UMaine in 1953 and a doctorate from Pennsylvania State University before serving as professor, dean and vice president at his alma mater.

He worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development and served as provost at Ohio State University before returning to UMaine to serve as president from 1992 to 1997, when he retired.

Robert Kennedy, UMaine’s current president, said Hutchinson “spoke of the great opportunities that came his way only because he was able to earn a UMaine degree.”

UMaine’s Hutchinson Center in Belfast is named in his honor.

“His dedication to opening up educational opportunities for Maine families will remain through the legacy of the Hutchinson Center,” said Gov. John Baldacci.

Hutchinson is survived by his wife, Dione, and two daughters.