With all due respect to Greg Kesich’s comments (“If it’s going to have a shot, USM has to be integral to community,” March 26) regarding USM’s need to interact more with nonprofits, small businesses, etc., in the Portland area in order to become “integral to the community”: He doesn’t have a clue. He and University of Southern Maine President Theodora Kalikow should do their homework.

USM students currently, and have long been, getting credit for courses while serving our community at various venues.

This includes hospitals; the Preble Street Resource Center (founded by a USM professor); at geotechnical companies where students earn credit as interns; at Greater Portland schools as education majors; at Gorham schools serving as mentors through the Russell Scholars Program; at Merrill Auditorium, where the School of Music students support the Youth Concerts; in the School of Business’ small-business advisory programs involving students, and the Muskie School.

USM has been deeply involved in community and statewide efforts. The list is greater than your 300-word limit would allow.

With declining resources, USM has not done a good job in reminding our region of just how great a role we play. Changing the mission from an “urban comprehensive university” to a “metropolitan university” does not celebrate the contributions to date. It implies we’ve been asleep – and that’s far from the truth.

Irwin Novak

professor of geology, USM



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