‘We’re all so connected,” said Maine artist Eric Hopkins, chatting with his old friend Dorothy Foote at the Shaping Maine event at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish.

Foote, chief executive officer and head of schools for Wayfinder Schools, and Hopkins were among the event’s guests – the 50 People chosen annually by Maine magazine to be featured in its July issue for their influential contributions to the state.

While Foote appeared on the list in the 2014, Hopkins was in this year’s edition.

“There’s so much happening right here in Maine,” Hopkins said. “There are a million-plus Mainiacs. E pluribus unum. Out of many, one.”

Guests of the June 23 event chatted, sipped cocktails and enjoyed a serene evening at the college’s newly renovated Stone Barn. The Mainers who made the list since its inception in 2013 were invited.

“This is the first time all of these people have come together,” said Jean Maginnis, senior director of development at the college, explaining the idea behind the event. “We were so thrilled that our president, Jim Dlugos, was named one of the top 50 in 2015, we thought it would be a unique opportunity to invite his colleagues to come out to visit and create the conversation that will help to move Maine forward and hopefully spark collaboration.”

With the setting sun, swaying evergreens and occasional bleating sheep in the bucolic background, several notable Mainers gathered to make connections and talk.

“When you gather like this, you have synergies and connections that might not otherwise happen,” said Dlugos, who co-hosted Shaping Maine with Kevin Thomas, publisher of Maine Media Collective.

Among the guests were Michael Dubyak, chairman of WEX; Phil Coupe and Fortunat Mueller, co-founders of ReVision Energy; Jan Anderson Kearce, executive director of Lift360; Scott Nash, illustrator and design educator; and Nancy Smith, executive director of GrowSmart Maine; Bill Nemitz, Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram columnist, and his wife, Andrea; Aaron Stephan, a sculptor; Donna McNeil, retired executive director of the Maine Arts Commission; and Meg Weston, president of Maine Media Workshops + College.

“People work really damn hard to come here and to stay here,” said Thomas, welcoming guests. “We focused on that intentionality, and that led us to all of you, the 50 Mainers. You are creating and leading this state. I am honored to have you in our pages and to see you here tonight.”

“I’m so excited to be here,” said Smith, who was surprised and elated about being on this year’s list. “You just quietly do the good work that needs to be done, and to be recognized by an organization that you respect, it’s just wonderful.”

“This is a very generous tribute,” said McNeil, who was featured in 2014. “It’s great they are bringing people who care about Maine together. People who work in the arts don’t often commingle with people in business, so this is a great opportunity.”