UNE honors four prominent Maine women with 2008 Deborah Morton Awards

September 01, 2008

Four prominent Maine women were honored on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 as recipients of the 2008 Deborah Morton Awards at a ceremony on the University of New England's Westbrook College Campus.

Speaking at the awards convocation ceremony were honorees Martha Tod Dudman, author and community leader, and resident of Northeast Harbor; Esther Nettles Rauch, Ph.D., educator and former vice president of Bangor Theological Seminary from Glenburn (near Bangor); Leigh Ingalls Saufley, Maine chief justice, Cumberland County resident; and Nancy Thibodeau, community activist and winter sports promoter from Fort Kent.

Allyson Hildreth '09, a UNE dental hygiene major from Standish is the 2008-2009 Deborah Morton Endowed Scholarship Recipient.

Award History

The Deborah Morton Awards are presented each year by the trustees of the University of New England to outstanding women who have achieved high distinction in their careers and public service or whose leadership in civic, cultural or social causes has been exceptional.

The Deborah Morton Award, first presented at Westbrook College in 1961, was the first annual award in Maine to honor women's achievements. It was named in memory of Deborah Morton of Round Pond, Maine, valedictorian of the 1879 class of the Westbrook Seminary - the forerunner of Westbrook College, which merged with the University of New England in 1996. Morton was a teacher, dean, linguist, historian and prominent Portland civic leader whose service to Westbrook College spanned more than 60 years. Since 1961, more than 150 distinguished women have been honored with the award.

The Deborah Morton Society's support of the Deborah Morton Endowed Scholarship is one of the most important aspects of the Deborah Morton Society. The committee strives to serve as role models to such young women, and recognizes its ability to encourage them directly through scholarships, which both recognize their achievements and provides essential financial aid.

For more information about the Deborah Morton Society, view www.une.edu/deborahmorton.

Martha Tod Dudman

Martha Tod Dudman is the author of four books: Dawn (Puckerbrush Press, 1989), Augusta, Gone (Simon & Schuster, 2001), Expecting to Fly (Simon & Schuster, 2004) and Black Olives (Simon & Schuster, 2008). Augusta, Gone was winner of the 2002 Books for a Better Life Award and was released as a Lifetime film in 2006. Dudman's essay, "Leaving the Island" was included in the anthology The Empty Nest (Hyperion, 2007).

Dudman served as president and general manager of a group of radio stations in Ellsworth and Bangor for ten years, and then as a professional fundraising consultant with Gary Friedmann & Associates. Among other projects, she managed capital campaigns for the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor and the Northeast Harbor Library.

An active member of several local, state, and national organizations, Dudman has served as president of the Maine Association of Broadcasters and president of the Bangor Rotary Club. She is a director of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust.

Dudman was born in St. Louis, Missouri, grew up in Washington, D.C. and went to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She moved to Maine in 1975, first to Little Cranberry Island, and then to Northeast Harbor, where she raised her son and daughter and where she still lives today.

Esther Nettles Rauch

The academic career of Esther Nettles Rauch began at The Ohio State University (M.A. 1979; Ph.D. 1983) with her dissertation on the English poet and philosopher of language and classical rhetoric, John Dryden. Currently retired, Rauch is a former vice-president of the Bangor Theological Seminary and a professor of English at the University of Maine. In addition she inaugurated the Constance H. Carlson Distinguished Chair in the Humanities at Husson College in Bangor, Maine, where she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters. Prior to her academic career she was the manager of professional staffing at The Center for Naval Analyses, a private research center in Arlington, VA.

Rauch is currently a member of the Alumni Board of Advisors at The Ohio State University and a former member of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees, Eastern Maine Medical Center Board, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems Board (charter member), the Maine Humanities Council, the Farnsworth Museum Board and the Loring Fund (chair) of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine.

Rauch was a chief reader and table leader for the College Level Examination Program of The Educational Testing Service at Princeton, New Jersey; a member of the Board of Trustees at Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts; a scholar/discussion leader for the Maine Humanities Council's "Let's Talk About It" and "Literature and Medicine" programs in many small communities across Maine; and founder of a program in Brewer, Maine for first generation applicants to college which provides individual mentors for a number of students, along with trips to visit college campuses and assistance with financial aid applications.

A resident of Glenburn, Maine (near Bangor), Esther Rauch is married to Dr. Charles F. Rauch, Jr., Rear Admiral, United States Navy, ret.

Leigh Ingalls Saufley

Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley, after a brief period in private and federal practice, joined the Maine Attorney General's Office in 1981, eventually accepting appointment as a deputy attorney general in that office. In April of 1990, she was appointed to the District Court by Governor John R. McKernan. Governor McKernan appointed her to the Superior Court in 1993, and in 1997 Governor Angus S. King appointed her to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. On December 6, 2001, she was sworn in as Maine's first female chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court by Governor King.

Chief Justice Saufley was a trustee to the Foundation for Blood Research, 1988-90 and a member of the Casey Family Program Advisory Board, 1988-90. She was a liaison to the CASA Committee, Advisory Committee for Professional Responsibility, MLCE Advisory Board and Advisory Committee for Future of Maine Courts. Saufley served as president of the Gignoux Inns of Court, 1996-1997. She has also been a member of the Committee to Study the Role of the Courts in Protecting Children, and the Bernstein Non-Adversarial Forum Committee.

Chief Justice Saufley is the recipient of many distinguished awards including honorary degrees from the University of New England in 2004, and University of Maine at Presque Isle in 2008, as well as being named University of Maine School of Law Distinguished Alumna in 2002. Also in 2002, she was named one of the YWCA's Women of Achievement, and in 2005, received the Portland Regional Chamber's Neal W. Allen Award.

Saufley was born in Portland, Maine, the daughter of Richard and Janet Ingalls. She is a graduate of South Portland High School, University of Maine at Orono (B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, 1976), and the University of Maine School of Law (J.D. 1980). Saufley and her husband reside in Cumberland County.

Nancy A. Thibodeau

Nancy A. Thibodeau has become known as the driving force behind Fort Kent, Maine's recent emergence as the host for some of the best Nordic competitions in the world, including the 2004 Biathlon World Cup, the 2005 World Paralympic Championships, and countless North American and U.S. National Championships races in both biathlon and cross country skiing. These events have not only brought worldwide attention to Maine, they have also become a powerful source of economic activity. The World Cup alone was seen by 40 million television viewers in Europe, 1.5 million viewers in the United States and witnessed live in the stadium by another 20,000 spectators. The economic impact of this event was $5.2 million dollars.

In addition to her work in the management of winter sports events, Thibodeau has held a number of professional positions in the healthcare industry. She earned her bachelor of science degree in medical records administration from Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin in 1978.

Thibodeau serves on the boards of the University of Maine Fort Kent Foundation, the 10th Mountain Lodge and the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce (where she formerly served as president). She has also served on the Make a Wish of Maine Foundation Board of Directors where she is still a Wish Granter volunteer. In addition, Thibodeau is a Reach to Recovery Volunteer for the American Cancer Society and was formerly a RCIA instructor for St Louis Parish.

In 2005 Thibodeau received the University of Maine Fort Kent Distinguished Service Award and Fort Kent BPW Woman of the Year award.

She is married to James Thibodeau of Fort Kent and the couple has two children: Renee, 22 and Paul, 21.

Allyson Hildreth - Deborah Morton Scholarship Awardee

Allyson Hildreth '09 is a 23-year-old dental hygiene major who grew up in Standish, Maine with her parents and two sisters. An active athlete since she was nine, Hildreth participated in both recreational sports and school sports including softball and field hockey.

She attended Bonny Eagle High school, and graduated in 2003, attending the University of Southern Maine for business. She spent three years studying business, until she realized it wasn't the career path she wanted to take, and began her studies in dental hygiene at University of New England in 2006. "This will be my third year here at UNE in the dental hygiene program. And I truly feel I've found my niche," said Hildreth. She added, "I'm very honored to be the recipient of the Deborah Morton Scholarship Award and am grateful for the money to help fund my education here at UNE."

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