SOUTH PORTLAND – When Dawn Stiles was looking for recommendations for someone to honor with Spurwink’s annual Humanitarian of the Year Award, one name kept coming up.

The fact that people kept mentioning Richard L. Connor, she said, “was unusual, since he’s only been here a few years.”

Stiles, the president of Spurwink, which provides behavioral, health, educational and residential services for children, adults and families in Maine, was only partially correct on that last point.

Connor, chief executive officer of MaineToday Media, which publishes The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel, was born in Bangor. But he spent much of his career outside of Maine, particularly in Texas and Pennsylvania, before returning to buy Maine’s largest newspaper company last year.

Stiles said Connor exhibits the traits of past winners of the award, a list which includes Peter Vigue, president of Cianbro, the state’s largest construction company, and James Conlon, president and CEO of Bangor Savings Bank.

“They care about people, they act on their beliefs, they care about the less fortunate and they care about the community,” she said.

Stiles said Connor impressed her most after he took a tour of one of the nonprofit organization’s programs. Stiles said Connor spent several hours on the tour, asking questions and learning about the program.

Then, a few days later, he called and asked to see another program.

“No one’s ever done that,” she remarked Saturday at the Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks, where Spurwink’s annual gala was held and where Connor was presented with the award.

In addition to his commitment to community involvement and the organizations that seek to improve conditions in the state, Connor was also honored for his purchase and revitalization of the newspapers, Stiles said.

She said newspapers play an important role in the community, and Connor restored local ownership after the paper was owned for more than a decade by The Seattle Times Co. 

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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