The University of Maine, established in 1865, is the flagship university of the University of Maine System. It is located in Orono, Maine just outside of Bangor, one of Maine's largest cities. Known as "UMaine" for short, the school has an enrollment of over 12,000 students making it the largest university in the state. It is the only institution in Maine classified as a research university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Athletic teams are nicknamed the Black Bears, and sport blue and white uniforms.
The College was the fourth to be established in Maine, after Bowdoin, Bates, and Colby. Originally intended as an agricultural college, the College also placed a large emphasis on engineering and the sciences.
Tuition at the Maine College was free until 1879. In return, all students were expected to contribute 15 hours a week of labor, on which they were graded and received compensation in accordance with their grades.
Near the end of the 19th century, the curriculum was expanded to place greater emphasis on liberal arts. New faculty hired during this time included Caroline Colvin, chair of the history department, and the first woman in the nation to head a major university department.
In 1906, The Senior Skull Honor Society was founded to “publicly recognize, formally reward, and continually promote outstanding leadership and scholarship, and exemplary citizenship within the University of Maine community.”
When the University of Maine System was incorporated, the school was renamed by the legislature over the objections of the faculty to the University of Maine at Orono (or UMO). This was changed back to the University of Maine in 1986. However, it is still frequently referred to as UMO.
The official fight song of UMaine is the “Stein Song”. Written by Lincoln Colcord (words) and E.A. Fenstad (music), the tune rose to fame when Rudy Vallee arranged the current version. Vallee attended Maine from 1921–1922 before transferring to Yale, and his popularity helped make the song a national favorite. To this day, the “Stein Song” remains the only college fight song to ever reach number one on the pop charts, achieving this distinction in 1930. According to “College Fight Songs: An Annotated Anthology” published in 1998, the “Stein Song” ranks as the sixth greatest fight song of all time. It trails only “Notre Dame Victory March”, “The Victors” (Michigan), “On Wisconsin”, “Down the Field” (Yale), and “Anchors Aweigh” (Naval Academy). Maine students and alumni alike take great pride in singing the “Stein Song” while supporting their national powerhouse hockey team.
UMaine counts engineering, business, forestry, marine science and Agriculture among its most prominent programs. Other programs include wood science, sustainable agriculture, aquaculture, education, and nutrition science. UMaine is unique in offering a program in Socialist and Marxist studies and a minor in that field.
UMaine is one of only a handful of institutions to offer a combined developmental/clinical Ph.D. in psychology, as well as distinct advanced degrees in developmental psychology, social psychology, biological psychology, cognitive psychology, and behavioral neuroscience. Along with offering a Ph.D in psychology with a concentration in behavioral neuroscience, the University also offers a neuroscience concentration for Ph.D. students studying biomedical science.
The University's Fogler Library is the largest in Maine and serves as one of its intellectual hubs, attracting scholars, professors, and researchers from around the state. A collection of rare and ancient manuscripts, as well as about two million government publications, augment the University's collection. The Special Collections Unit includes the Stephen Edwin King (author of The Shining and UMaine alumnus) papers, which attract researchers from across the globe.
The University's education is often rated as an excellent value, ranking high in both the Princeton Review and Kiplinger's annual lists of best public schools. UMaine is one of only four institutions in Maine (along with Bowdoin, Bates, and Colby) accredited to award membership into the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society.
UMaine is also the birthplace of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society, recognizing high academic achievement across all disciplines.
It is the only institution in Maine ranked as a national university in the U.S. News and World Report annual rankings. U.S. News categorizes UMaine as an institution that "offers a wide range of undergraduate majors as well as master's and doctoral degrees."
The Lyle E. Littlefield Ornamentals Trial Garden is a research garden for horticulture in northern climates. The University of Maine is also home to the Maine Business School, the largest business school in Maine. Recently a Paris-based international educational consulting organization Eduniversal has included the Maine Business School at the University of Maine among its recent selection of 1,000 of the world’s best business schools.
The 2008-2009 student body consists of representatives from 47 of the United States, as well as 47 other countries
The University is also host to the Intensive English Institute, an English as a Second Language program designed to help students develop their English language skills for success in school, business, and social communication.
The University of Maine is one of a handful of colleges in the United States whose Student Government is incorporated. Student Government was formed in 1978 and incorporated shortly thereafter. They are classified as a 501(c)(3) not for profit corporation. The organization represents solely undergraduate students as each semester, however, Student Government is also regularly accused of not seeing to students' best interests, with accusations of political corruptness and mishandling of elections.
It consists of a Legislative Branch, which passes resolutions, and an Executive Branch, which helps organize on-campus entertainment and guest speakers, works with new and existing student organizations, and performs other duties.
Other organizations fall under the umbrella of Student Government, including Representative Boards, Community Associations, and many other student groups.
Student Government in the recent past has brought Live, Blues Traveler, Ben Folds, Guster, Better Than Ezra, Dashboard Confessional, Motion City Soundtrack, and others to the campus as well as actively lobbying for student interests at all levels of the government and administration.
The current President of University of Maine Student Government, Inc. is Steven Moran.
In 1965, the football team competed in the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando Florida against East Carolina. They were beaten in the game 31-0, but remain the only team from Maine to compete in a bowl contest.
Littlefield Garden was founded in the early 1960s by Lyle E. Littlefield, then Professor of Horticulture. Since then the Garden has collected over 2,500 woody and herbaceous plants, with special emphasis as follows: 210 crabapple varieties, 180 lilacs, 150 rhododendrons, and 35 magnolias.
The 15,000 square feet Roger Clapp Greenhouses are also located on the University of Maine campus. The greenhouses contain over 200 species of tropical and desert plant species from throughout the world.