One day before the expected appointment of a new president for the flagship University of Maine campus in Orono, the creation of an endowment fund that will be used to supplement that executive’s salary was announced.

The school said in a statement Monday that it plans to use a $5 million donation from the Harold Alfond Foundation to establish a leadership endowment whose proceeds will make the president’s salary more competitive within higher education.

“Given the challenges facing higher education and our state’s economy, high-quality executive leadership at Maine’s flagship university is critical,” Gregory W. Powell, chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation, said in a statement. “The Foundation’s grant will enable the University of Maine to compete nationally for a top-tier president and to help incentivize a long-term commitment to our state.”

University of Maine System Chancellor James Page will announce the school’s new president at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Buchanan Alumni House in Orono.

The choice will be one of three finalists: Amit Chakma, president and vice chancellor of the University of Western Ontario; Joan Ferrini-Mundy, chief operating officer of the National Science Foundation; and Sally Reis, who holds the Letitia Neag Morgan Endowed Chair in Educational Psychology and is a professor at the University of Connecticut.

A fourth finalist – Nancy Targett, provost of the University of New Hampshire – withdrew her name from consideration.

Although the salary of the new president has not yet been announced, outgoing president Susan Hunter makes $275,000.

That is significantly lower than the salary for newly minted University of New Hampshire President James W. Dean Jr., who will earn $445,000.

The Harold Alfond Foundation – named for the late Dexter Shoe Co. owner and philanthropist – has been a regular contributor to UMaine. Prior to the leadership endowment, the foundation donated $1.8 million to support expanding applied marine research at the Downeast Institute, which was created when the University of Maine at Machias merged with the Orono school. That partnership is a big part of Hunter’s legacy as the university first female president.

A $3.9 million gift established the Harold Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory and Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at UMaine.

The foundation also has awarded $9.25 million to support changes to professional graduate education at the University of Maine System’s Maine Center for Graduate and Professional Studies.

“We thank the Harold Alfond Foundation for their continued support of our work to reform public higher education in Maine,” Page said in a statement. “The foundation’s investment in leadership will help build on UMaine’s 150-year legacy of service and its new partnership with the University of Maine at Machias while preserving crucial public resources for academics and essential programming.”

UMaine is the flagship of the University of Maine System, which includes campuses in Fort Kent, Presque Isle, Augusta, Farmington and Machias, as well as the University of Southern Maine’s Gorham and Portland campuses.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

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