Elimination of the American and New England Studies program at the University of Southern Maine will have a huge negative impact on Maine cultural resources and institutions.

This program has provided advanced training for many who now serve as key staff members and leaders of essential Maine cultural and heritage organizations, and as talented teachers in our public and private schools. It has proven to be one of the most effective graduate programs offered in southern Maine.

When the shoe industry was eliminated in Maine, I developed important new professional job skills as a student in American and New England Studies from 1992 to 1994.

That new knowledge has allowed me to serve as a town manager; as executive director of the Lincoln County Historical Association; as an avocational archaeologist on the Popham Colony/Fort St. George dig for 10 seasons, and as president of the Friends of Swan Island and of the Arnold Expedition Historical Society.

I am but one example of those former American and New England Studies students who today steward and interpret our state’s cultural heritage for resident and visitor alike.

As I look at institutions like the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, the Yarmouth Historical Society, the Freeport Historical Society, North Yarmouth Academy, etc., I find American and New England Studies graduates making major contributions that would have not been possible without the program.

Why eliminate such a unique, important and effective program, in favor of keeping courses available elsewhere? I call on President Kalikow to reconsider.

John A. Robbins Jr.
Robbins Historical Research, Inc.
Richmond