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Supporting UNE

Harold Alfond Foundation Commits $10 Million to UNE

Largest Gift in the University's History

UNE dedicates and celebrates
opening of the Harold Alfond Forum

UNE celebrated the grand opening of the Harold Alfond Forum with a dedication on Oct. 26, 2012.

UNE breaks ground for
Harold Alfond Forum

Under sunny skies and 80-degree temperatures, University of New England formally broke ground Sept. 26, 2011 on its $20 million 106,500-square-foot Harold Alfond Forum, an athletics and student life complex on UNE’s Biddeford Campus.  Read more  about the groundbreaking ceremony.

The Largest Gift

The Harold Alfond Foundation announced on Dec. 10, 2010 a commitment of $10 million to create an approximately $20 million state-of-the-art Harold Alfond Forum on the University of New England (UNE) campus in Biddeford combined with an investment in interprofessional healthcare workforce education. 

The announcement was made at UNE’s Harold Alfond Center for Health Sciences on the Biddeford Campus.

Alfond Forum

The etymology of the word "forum" indicates that it was used to designate a place of assembly in ancient Rome, and this public space was used for athletic competitions as well as a place conducive to the open exchange of ideas. 

We think that this is an apt descriptor of our new building which will include a 106,500-square-foot facility featuring an ice hockey rink with 900 seats; a basketball court with 1,200 seats; classroom and lab space; a fitness center; and multi-purpose indoor practice courts that can also be used for performances and other events, with a combined seating capacity of 3,000.  

This will be the largest gathering space on either the Biddeford or Portland campuses and will provided us with much needed facilities for intercollegiate athletic events, recreational activities and academic pursuits.

The complex will be located next to UNE’s new synthetic blue turf field.

“Harold Alfond understood the positive relationship between athletics and academics, and was inspired by UNE's mission to educate Maine's health care professionals," said Greg Powell, chairman of the Foundation's Board of Trustees.  "We are delighted to support UNE during such an exciting period of growth for the University."

UNE President Danielle N. Ripich, Ph.D., said: “We are extremely grateful to the Harold Alfond Foundation for this transformational gift – the largest in the history of the University of New England.  State-of-the-art educational and athletic facilities are fundamental resources that enhance the mental and physical well-being of our students.  UNE’s reputation, the institution’s overall competitiveness, and our ability to recruit and retain academically engaged students will be forever changed by this very generous gift.”

The Alfond Challenge

In true Harold Alfond fashion, the $10 million commitment includes a challenge grant. When UNE has successfully matched the $7 million Alfond gift with other donations in support of its mission, the Foundation will gift an additional $3 million to UNE for the purpose of interprofessional health workforce education.

“UNE is unique in that it offers a broad range of health and health-related clinical disciplines and is able to engage practitioners, scholars and researchers across health professions to educate a future work force in Maine,” said UNE President Ripich. “The Alfond Foundation’s $3 million gift will enable us to prepare health professionals who can deliver integrated care in the 21st century and work towards establishing collaborative clinical practice sites.”

About the Harold Alfond Foundation

Founded in 1950, the Harold Alfond Foundation furthers the philanthropic legacy of Harold Alfond, the founder of Dexter Shoe Company and a longtime supporter of Maine communities in which he and his family worked and resided.  Harold Alfond awarded matching challenge grants to organizations to foster collaboration and to inspire and leverage additional giving by others.  He ensured that his philanthropy would live on by committing nearly all of his wealth to the Foundation, which continues to support charitable causes in the State of Maine.

Consistent with Harold Alfond’s own giving pattern and philanthropic principles, the Foundation favors education, health care, youth development and other selected charitable causes.  The Foundation honors Harold Alfond’s business approach to funding decisions, his belief in teamwork, and his love of competition by continuing to award matching challenge grants to projects that meet a demonstrable need, are entrepreneurial, promote teamwork, have measurable performance outcomes, are financially viable and have quality management and board leadership.

Invest in UNE: Join the Challenge

There are many ways to invest in UNE to help us meet the Alfond Challenge. To find out more, contact:

William Chance
Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement


Harold Alfond Forum Fact Sheet

The facility is envisioned to be approximately 105,000 square feet and to have the following programming:

Level 1

(recessed to provide seating
from the top down)

  • NHL size ice hockey rink
  • 900 spectator seat
  • Team lockers
  • Visitor lockers
  • Officials’ lockers
  • Training room
  • Coaches’ offices
  • Zamboni and refrigeration
  • Storage and janitorial support

Level 2

(at ground level)

  • Lobby
  • Restrooms
  • Cyber café/dining/student study space
  • Weight and conditioning room
  • Athletic training room
  • Laundry and equipment room
  • Visiting and home locker rooms
  • Basketball court
  • 1,200 spectator seats
  • Two court, multi-purpose indoor practice courts
  • Mechanical room

Level 3

  • Athletic offices
  • Athletic training and
    exercise performance
    classrooms and offices
  • Small conference room
  • Large conference room overlooking basketball court
  • Restrooms
  • Janitorial support

Download a pdf of this fact sheet