UNE honors five prominent Maine Women with Deborah Morton Awards Sept. 22nd

September 07, 2009

The University of New England honored five prominent Maine women on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at the 2009 Deborah Morton Awards Ceremony on the University of New England's Portland Campus.

Kate Cheney Chappell, artist and co-founder of Tom's of Maine; Josephine "Dodie" Detmer, longtime teacher and community volunteer; Meredith Jones, president of the Maine Community Foundation; Laurie Lachance, president of the Maine Development Foundation; and UNE President Emeritus Sandra Featherman, Ph.D. spoke at the convocation ceremony.  Brenda Connell '10, a nursing student from Hollis, NH is the 2009-2010 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 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 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.

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

Kate Cheney Chappell

Artist, poet, teacher, mother and co-founder of Tom's of Maine, Kate Cheney Chappell brings creativity and commitment to the common good and to her life and work.  After early training in studio art and writing that culminated in a year in Paris at the Sorbonne and l'Atelier Goetz to study painting, etching and poetry translation, Kate plunged into marriage and business.  As Vice President of Tom's of Maine, she championed family-friendly policies that included flextime, parenting leave and paid time for volunteering; directed new product development with innovations such as the first natural children's toothpaste; and brought her artistic eye and voice to consumer packaging and dialogue.

Kate spearheaded a 10% charitable giving program for Tom's of Maine with her husband, Tom that led to more than 30 years support of the arts, human needs, education and the environment. 

She completed her degree from USM, summa cum laude.  Her art work is in the collections of the New Britain Museum of American Art, the New York Public Library, Bowdoin, Bates and Colby colleges, and the University of New England. 

Josephine "Dodie" Detmer, HON '06

Dedicated to community affairs mainly in the areas of education and history, Josephine "Dodie" Detmer is a retired teacher who served 33 of her 35 years as a teacher at Waynflete School in Portland.  Over the years, she enjoyed teaching American, Chinese, Indian, World Religions, Middle Eastern and Russian histories.  Her interest in Asian histories was likely rooted in the four years she lived in Pakistan which broadened her outlook and enhanced her interest in politics and World Affairs.
Her experiences enriched her teaching and she shared them with her students.  Detmer attended Vassar College, and received a bachelor's degree from Bucknell University, and a master's of Education from Tufts.  She holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of New England. 

She has served on numerous Boards including the University of New England, Maine Historical Society, Victoria Society, Portland Public Library and Greater Portland Landmarks which led to her authoring a book on the history of the City of Portland called Portland.  Detmer and her husband, Howard live in Cumberland Foreside.

Meredith Jones

Named a "state champion" by the Maine Centers for Women, Work and Community earlier this year, Meredith Jones has dedicated much of her life working to improve the lives of Maine citizens.  In the fields of health, education, leadership and philanthropy, she has helped shape policy and programs that have had a lasting impact on Mainers.

In January 2009, Jones became the fourth president of the Maine Community Foundation following nine years as its vice president for program development and grantmaking services.   As vice president, she helped develop several initiatives including the Maine Compact for Higher Education, the Environmental Funders Network and a new program, EncoreME, to engage baby boomers.
Prior to joining the foundation in 1999, Jones developed and led a number of major programs that are still in existence today, including Leadership Maine and the Maine Coalition for Excellence in Education.  Jones holds a B.A. in Public Administration from the University of Maine at Augusta and an associate's degree from Colby Junior College in New London, N.H.

Laurie Lachance

For the past quarter of a century, Laurie Lachance has been analyzing and forecasting Maine's economic conditions.  She is a graduate of Bowdoin College with a degree in economics, and an MBA from Thomas College.  She began her career as a financial trainee at Central Maine Power Company where she moved upward through the ranks to become the utility's Corporate Economist. 

In 1993, she was the first woman and the first Maine native to be appointed as Maine's State Economist.  She served in that capacity for an unprecedented 11 years through three administrations - Republican Governor John McKernan, Independent Governor Angus King and Democratic Governor John Baldacci.
In the fall of 2004, Lachance was named President and CEO of the Maine Development Foundation.  The Foundation is a highly regarded nonprofit development corporation established in state statute in 1978, and has earned a statewide reputation as an independent, non-partisan advocate for long-term economic growth.

Sandra Green Featherman, Ph.D., HA '98, '04

Sandra Featherman, Ph.D., was the president of the University of New England from 1995 through June 2006. The UNE Board of Trustees has named her president emeritus.

Dr. Featherman is president of the Samuel Fels Fund.  She serves on the boards of the Maine Community Foundation, Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund for Women, Girl Scouts of Maine, and as a commissioner for the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation of the American Osteopathic Association.  She chairs the State of Maine Judicial Compensation Commission.

In the last five years, she has served as chair of the Assembly of Presidents of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine; commissioner of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Higher Education; and president of the Maine Women's Forum. 

She has been a member of the Higher Education Policy Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and both the Commission on Minorities in Higher Education and the Commission of Women in Higher Education for the American Council on Education; Maine Compact for Higher Education; and as president of both the Maine Independent Colleges Association and the Greater Portland Alliance of Colleges.  She is a frequent lecturer for national organizations on leadership issues, especially for women.

Dr. Featherman has published more than 50 academic publications, as well as numerous magazine and newspaper articles.  One study for UNESCO on "The Status of Women in Higher Education Administration in North America" was published in English, French and Spanish.  Her B. A., M. A., and Ph.D. are from the University of Pennsylvania.

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