Gov. Paul LePage came down to Biddeford today to check out progress on the University of New England’s $20 million new athletic facility under construction, and to visit briefly with Doctors for Maine’s Future scholarship recipients.
The governor reportedly told the future doctors to stay in the state after they graduate: “We need your talent.”
Here’s the trip as described in a UNE news release distributed after the governor had come and gone:
The University of New England and President Danielle N. Ripich, PhD, welcomed Maine Governor Paul LePage for a visit to UNE’s Biddeford Campus today.Gov. LePage took a driving tour of the Harold Alfond Forum construction site, met with Doctors for Maine’s Future Scholarship students from the College of Osteopathic Medicine, and visited UNE’s George and Barbara Bush Legacy Collection at the George and Barbara Bush Center.Under brisk but sunny skies, the Governor viewed the $20 million 106,500-square-foot Harold Alfond Forum, the athletics and student life complex under construction and slated to open in late 2012. Adjacent to the site are UNE’s new Big Blue Turf Field and Sokokis Residence Hall, which the governor also viewed.At the UNE Alfond Center for the Health Sciences, home to Maine’s medical school, Gov. LePage met with UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean and Senior Vice President for Health Affairs Marc B. Hahn, as well as with the Doctors for Maine’s Future scholarship recipients, advising the students, “I hope you stay in Maine after you graduate. We need your talent.”The Finance Authority of Maine, in association with the Maine Legislature, established the Doctors for Maine’s Future Scholarship Program in July 2009 to provide a tuition subsidy of up to $25,000 annually for eligible students who enter qualifying Maine-based medical school programs. The scholarships aim to address Maine’s acute shortage of primary care physicians and the high cost of medical education, and require clerkship experiences and training in rural health care and primary care.The governor also met with Professor of Anatomy Frank Willard, Ph.D., an expert in spinal injuries and chronic pain, who provided a tour of UNE’s anatomy lab and discussed some of the research under way at the medical school.In the brief visit, UNE President Ripich shared some of the numerous economic, educational and health care contributions the university makes to the state of Maine each year. UNE’s economic impact to Maine approaches $560 million annually, and UNE students volunteer more than 10,000 hours of community service to more than 150 community agencies, organizations and schools every year.