Sen praises outgoing president, tells grads to fix problems
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins on Saturday praised the first woman to serve as president of the University of Maine and encouraged graduating seniors to focus on fixing society’s problems instead of focusing on “affixing blame.”
President Susan Hunter, who’s retiring next month, oversaw the largest incoming class, largest number of out-of-state students and biggest increase in donors to the Annual Fund, Collins said.
“Why did we wait so long to put a woman in charge?” she said.
Collins spoke Saturday as the University of Maine System held commencements from Portland to Fort Kent. The University of Maine at Machias is holding its commencement on Sunday.
Also holding commencements was Unity College, where TV host and wildlife conservationist Jeff Corwin addressed graduates Saturday.
In Orono, Collins gave graduating seniors some advice including becoming active in civic affairs because “our ability to work together to solve problems is hitting modern lows.”
“It may seem woefully out of fashion, but I believe that choosing civility and pursuing compromise can yield tremendous results that strengthen our communities and sustain our democratic institutions,” the senator said.
She urged the seniors choose words and actions carefully, take the time to listen and aim to find opportunities for cooperation.
“Fixing problems instead of affixing blame does not happen by chance. It takes deliberate, thoughtful actions,” she said.