January 16, 2012

Selma Botman: Diversity of student ages, backgrounds shows USM is evolving

As the nature of the student body changes, it's more critical than ever to understand their needs.

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Pleau has internships on campus and in Portland, where she lives on the peninsula and where she is actively engaged in her community's recreational and cultural life.

As I have reported before, more undergraduates in the United States are educated at comprehensive universities like USM than at any other category of four-year institution of higher education.

The changing nature of USM's student body makes more imperative than ever our commitment to giving all students an education that both transforms their understanding of the world and sets them on a path to productive and fulfilling lives.

That challenge is precisely one of the most compelling reasons I know for supporting public higher education. Many of us -- the middle and working classes, women, the many races that people America, and the immigrants who make our country their home -- owe our personal and professional success to the democratization of higher education.

Since the Morrill Act of 1862 championed the establishment of public universities across the United States dedicated to providing practical education for citizens, American society and our culture are simply unthinkable outside the advance of public higher education.

Selma Botman is president of the University of Southern Maine. She can be contacted at:

president@usm.maine.edu

 

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