UNE announces prestigious 2015 Deborah Morton Award recipients

Portrait of Deborah Morton
Portrait of Deborah Morton

June 24, 2015

Patricia Ryan
Patricia Ryan
Michelle Hood
Michelle Hood
Barbara Trafton
Barbara Trafton

Three distinguished Maine women will be honored at the 54th Annual Deborah Morton Society Convocation Ceremony on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, at 11 a.m., in the Eleanor DeWolfe Ludcke Auditorium on UNE’s Portland Campus.

The Deborah Morton Awards are presented by UNE each year to outstanding women with strong ties to Maine. These women have not only achieved high distinction in their careers, but also have a history of exceptional public service or volunteer leadership in civic, cultural or social causes. Established in 1961, it was the first annual award in Maine to honor women’s achievement, and it has been presented to more than 180 deserving recipients.

This year’s award recipients are: Patricia E. Ryan, retired executive director of the Maine Human Rights Commission; M. Michelle Hood, FACHE, president and CEO of Eastern Maine Health Systems (EMHS); and Barbara M. Trafton, broker for The Maine Real Estate Network.

“It is an honor and privilege to recognize these outstanding women who have contributed a great deal to their respective communities.  The University of New England is pleased to acknowledge their contributions.” remarked the President of UNE, Danielle N. Ripich, PhD.

Patricia E. Ryan

Patricia Ryan served as the executive director of the Maine Human Rights Commission from 1979 – 2011, during which time she was also a member of the Joint Standing Committee to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She is currently a board member and treasurer of the Maine Women’s Lobby and Maine Women’s Policy Center.

Ryan has served as chair of the Maine State Personnel Board and the Maine Commission for Women, co-chair of the EEOC/Fair Employment Practices Agencies State & Local Programs Re-Engineering Committee, co-chair of the (Maine) State Immigrant and Refugee Resettlement Task Force, was a member of the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies, was a member of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s State Agency Advisory Board, and was a founding director of the Maine Women’s Lobby and the Maine Women’s Political Caucus.

Ryan was inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014, and was the recipient of the Roger Baldwin Award presented by the Civil Liberties Union of Maine in October 2014.

M. Michelle Hood

Michelle Hood received a B.S. from Purdue University and a M.S. in health care administration from Georgia State University. She joined EMHS in April 2006 after serving as president and CEO of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health Systems, Montana Region, as well as president and CEO of its flagship hospital, St. Vincent Healthcare. 

In her current role, she focuses on healthcare policy and design models at the state and national levels, positioning EMHS to be successful in a rapidly changing healthcare environment. Hood builds partnerships that work for Maine communities, strengthening the economic and educational climate of the state.  She is active with the American Hospital Association, is the immediate past chair of the Maine Hospital Association board and serves on several community and national boards, including the University Of Maine System Board Of Trustees and the VHA New England Board.

Barbara Trafton

Barbara Trafton received a B.S. from Wellesley College, a M.S. in education from the University of Southern Maine, and a M.B.A. from Northeastern University. She has held the position of Maine State Senator as well as State Representative and is the published author of “Women Winning: How to Run for Office.”

Trafton has received numerous awards for her volunteer efforts from organizations including the Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce, the Androscoggin United Way and the City of Auburn. In 2002, she was named Auburn's Citizen of the Year by the Auburn Business Association.

Currently, Trafton is a trustee for the Auburn Public Library and is immediate past chair of Maine’s Nature Conservancy Board and the Garcelon Society for Bates College, which supports scholarships for local students. She previously served as the chair of Maine Housing and as a board director for the Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce. Her past board service includes Maine Maritime Academy, United Way of Androscoggin, Androscoggin Red Cross and Maine Audubon Society.

For more information, please contact Leta Bilodeau at lbilodeau@une.edu, or call (207) 221-4199.

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