Regarding the Sept. 2 article by Noel Gallagher on the approval by the University of Maine System trustees to proceed with the sale of the Stone House in Freeport (“USM gets approval, with conditions, to give up Stone House in Freeport”):

I would like to make it very clear that the sale will not affect the delivery of the two University of Southern Maine programs that use the facility.

We currently use the Stone House as the location for two of our outstanding programs: the Stonecoast master of fine arts in creative writing, ranked as one of the top low-residency graduate writing programs in the country; and Book Arts at the Stone House, a summer program offered through the Art Department. Both are under the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

Stonecoast requires students to attend two short-term residency sessions a year, while Book Arts consists of a seven-day program offering academic credits that culminates in the fall with a student exhibit and artist lecture on USM’s Portland campus.

While we are making plans to relocate these programs pending the sale of Stone House, it in no way will affect the quality or the presentation of the learning opportunities offered to our students and the Greater Portland community.

These two programs are integral parts of our vision and mission to be “Maine’s Metropolitan University,” and we intend to safeguard them as such.

Manuel Avalos, Ph.D.

dean, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

University of Southern Maine


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