September 03, 2013
The University of New England celebrated a long-held tradition of honoring outstanding Maine women of achievement at the 52nd Annual Deborah Morton Convocation and Awards Ceremony held on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at the Eleanor DeWolfe Ludcke '26 Auditorium on the Portland Campus.
The Deborah Morton award, first presented in 1961, was the first annual award in Maine to honor women's achievements, specifically those who have achieved high distinction in their careers and public service or whose leadership in civic, cultural or social causes has been exceptional.
This year's event paid tribute to four new inductees: Eleanor Baker, CPA, managing principal of Baker Newman Noyes; Anne Lynch, executive director of The Center for Grieving Children; Lois Galgay Reckitt, executive director of Family Crisis Services; and Barbara Vereault, D.O., Penobscot Community Health Center.
This year's scholarship awardees are UNE nursing students Kelli Sousa of the Class of 2016 and Renee Violette of the Class of 2015.
The event has honored more than 180 Maine women in the past 52 years including Margaret Chase Smith, May Sarton, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Dahlov Ipcar and former Maine First Lady Mary Herman.
The award 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.
The Deborah Morton Society's support of the Deborah Morton Scholarship is one of the most important aspects of the society. The committee strives to serve as role models to young women, and recognizes its ability to encourage aspirations through scholarships which recognize achievements and provide essential financial aid.
More on the 2013 inductees:
Eleanor Baker, CPA, J.D., LL.M. is co-founder and managing principal of Baker Newman Noyes, one of the nation's top 200 accounting and consulting firms with locations in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Ellie is focused on helping high net worth individuals and families in the areas of tax and personal financial planning. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maine, a J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law, and an LL.M. in Taxation from Boston University School of Law. She also holds the Personal Financial Specialist designation. She is a trustee at the University of Maine system, and with the University of Maine School of Law Foundation. She also serves as a trustee at Maine Public Broadcasting Network, and a trustee and finance chair for the executive committee of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. A passionate and engaged community leader, Ellie is the recipient of the 2013 American Heart Association's Crystal Heart Award for her continued support and promotion of the organization's mission.
Anne Lynch was appointed executive director of the Center for Grieving Children in July 2001, after serving as the Center's outreach director and education coordinator and facilitating the Center's Bereavement Peer Support Program as a volunteer for three years. Her introduction to the Center was as a family participant who sought support. In 2005, she spearheaded a $2.8 million capital campaign that provided a permanent home for the Center's unique grief support programs serving children and their families, bereaved parents, young widows/widowers/partners, and children resettled locally from war-torn countries. She has also produced a significant expansion of the Center's program to train providers and volunteers nationwide in the volunteer peer support model to help grieving children and families.
Lois Galgay Reckitt
Lois Galgay Reckitt has served as the executive director of Family Crisis Services since 1990. She had previously been executive director from 1979-1984, and from there left for the nation's capital to serve as executive vice president for the National Organization for Women, and later deputy director of the Human Rights Campaign Fund. She has been at the forefront of Maine's efforts to stop domestic abuse and assist its victims, and has lobbied for stronger laws against abuse and pushed for aggressive enforcement of those laws. With her help, the Legislature has passed major reforms in the area of domestic violence, including anti-stalking legislation, a domestic violence homicide review panel, and gun control measures for abusers.
Barbara Vereault, D.O., helped to create Penobscot Community Health Center of Bangor in 1997 as one of only two providers. She served as medical director of PCHC until 2006 when she decided to devote all of her time to family practice. She has helped spearhead PCHC's growth to what is now the largest community health center in Maine with more than 700 employees. Services include a very large dental clinic, a homeless and mental health practice that is integrated with primary care. PCHC seeks to provide medical care to all in need, whether insured or not. Dr. Vereault grew up in Skowhegan, Maine as the tenth of 11 children and a fourth generation family member working on the Dionne family farm.