BIDDEFORD — Bernard Featherman, husband of the late Sandra Featherman, Ph.D., who served as the president of the university from 1995 through 2006 donated $125,000 to the University of New England, which has a campus in Biddeford. The Sandra and Bernard Featherman University Archives Endowment will be used to create a University of New England historical collection that will help preserve UNE’s rich and unique past and help to chronicle its story into the future.

While historical collections currently exist for UNE’s two precursor institutions, St. Francis College and Westbrook College, as well as for its College of Osteopathic Medicine, there has never been an archives dedicated to the history of UNE as a whole, which was established in 1978, when St. Francis College merged with the New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. The creation of the Sandra and Bernard Featherman University Archives will facilitate a seamless continuity of historical documentation of the institution, in all of its forms, from 1830 to the present.

The funds donated by the Feathermans will be used for costs related to collecting, cataloguing, preserving, maintaining, and storing items related to the history of the university, and the archives will open possibilities for student internships and work-study positions.

Andrew Featherman, the couple’s son, said the idea of an archives was born from his father’s desire to keep the memory of his mother alive after her passing in 2018. A meaningful gift to the University of New England seemed the right choice. “The thing that always meant the most to my mother was being able to go to a small school and make a big difference,” he said. “At UNE, she really did make a difference. Her legacy is tied to UNE more than any other place. This archives can preserve documents and memories for those who have had a connection to the school so that centuries from now, people can remember it and how it grew.”

Sandra Featherman was, indeed, instrumental in the growth of UNE. Considered a trailblazing leader for the university, Featherman was one of the first women to serve as president of a coeducational institution of higher education. She directed multi-million dollar renovations on both the Biddeford and Portland campuses, helped grow the operating budget from $26 million to more than $100 million, and increased the endowment from $2 million to $24 million. “Sandra Featherman played a critical role in the life of UNE,” said current university president, James Herbert, Ph.D. “She oversaw the merger of UNE with Westbrook College, dramatically expanded our academic offerings, and literally doubled student enrollment. It is fitting that an archives dedicated to the preservation of UNE’s history will bear her name. We are very grateful to her family for enabling us to honor her in this way.”

The Featherman University Archives will house many types of materials related to UNE’s history, including university records; formal publications, such as yearbooks, course catalogs, student newspapers, and programs and promotional materials for various university events, such as commencement; newspaper articles; significant correspondences; and artifacts, such as jackets, hats, banners, and scrapbooks. Anyone in possession of historical items related to UNE who is willing to donate them to the archives is encouraged to contact Zachary Enright, M.L.I.S., university archivist, at or (207) 602-2131.

Comments are not available on this story.