UNE celebrates 50-year tradition recognizing outstanding women of achievement with Deborah Morton Awards

September 13, 2011

The University of New England celebrated a long-held tradition of honoring outstanding Maine women of achievement at the 50th Annual Deborah Morton Convocation and Awards Ceremony held Tuesday, Sept, 20, 2011 at 11 a.m. at the Eleanor DeWolfe Ludcke '26 Auditorium on the Portland Campus at 716 Stevens Avenue. 

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 past recipients in addition to four new inductees: Kaye Flanagan, Lynn Kraemer Goldfarb, Gail Kelly and Donna M. Loring. 

This year's scholarship recipients are UNE students Amanda Romero '12, Dental Hygiene and Sharon Staples '13, Nursing.

The event has honored 185 Maine women in the past 50 years including Margaret Chase Smith, May Sarton, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Dahlov Ipcar and former Maine First Lady Mary Herman. 

Award History

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.

For more information about the Deborah Morton Society, view the website.

2011 Recipients

Kaye Flanagan

Kaye Flanagan has lived a lifetime of public service and civic engagement.  A native of New York City, she began a career in psychiatric nursing immediately after graduation from Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing.  There she served in nursing education, supervision and medical-psychiatric clinical leadership.  Later, she moved to Maine where she continued her professional career, first by simultaneously earning a B.A. degree at the University of Southern Maine, and working in supervisory positions at Holy Innocents Home Care Service.  She eventually became director of that organization. 

When she left full time employment, Flanagan began serving on various Boards primarily in the health care arena.  For 15 years, she served on the Board of Trustees at Maine Medical Center where she chaired the Quality Improvement Committee.  After moving to the Augusta area she turned her attention to the needs of that community by serving on the Board of the Kennebec Valley United Way, co-chairing the 1995 Annual Campaign. 

She also joined the Board of The Children's Center, a preschool program for children with special needs.  As chair of this program she was instrumental in building a strong Board of Directors, recruiting competent management leadership, and spearheading a major fundraising campaign to raise $1.4 million for construction of a state-of-the-art facility.  This enabled the coordination of professional services for children with multiple health challenges to maximize their potential for functional and school success. 

Flanagan has also taken leadership positions on the boards of Catholic Charities Maine and Spring Harbor Hospital, and currently serves on boards for the Maine Cancer Foundation and the Maine State Museum Commission.  Along with her husband David Flanagan, she has travelled frequently to Bulgaria and other Eastern European and Central Asian countries.

Lynn Kraemer Goldfarb

Lynn Kraemer Goldfarb is the retired president of L.K. Goldfarb Associates, an international consulting firm specializing in electric energy efficiency.  She was the first woman to serve as a vice president of Central Maine Power Company.  Prior to that, she was the executive vice president of Sun Savings and Loan Association.  She has taught at both the University of Southern Maine and St. Joseph's College. 

Three Maine governors have appointed her to advisory committees including the Task Force on International Trade, Council of Advisors on Consumer Credit, Council of Advisors on Energy Efficiency Performance Standards, and the Governor's Council on Business Taxation.  She was a member of the Maine State Board of Education and served on the New England Board of Advisors to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. 

Goldfarb has served as a member of the Business Administration Advisory Board for Westbrook College, the Southern Maine Technical College Foundation Board, Chambers of Commerce of Greater Portland Region, and Piper Shores Life Care Community. She is a past president of Community Counseling Center, the Western Maine Wellesley Club and Temple Beth El Sisterhood, and is a former trustee of the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Portland Museum of Art, and Greater Portland Landmarks.

Currently, she volunteers for the American Heart Association where she was founding chair of the Circle of Red, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Kosher Meals on Wheels, and the National Council of Jewish Women.  She has been honored by numerous organizations for her professional achievement including the U.S. Department of Energy, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Community Action Agencies of Maine.  She also received the YWCA's Tribute to Women in Industry award. Goldfarb received a B.A. from Wellesley College and an M.B.A. from The Graduate School of Business, Columbia University.

Gail Kelly

Gail Kelly began her career upon graduation from Husson College, as it was then known, by serving Olympia Snowe who was then a member of the U.S. House representing Maine's second district.  Kelly's first assignment was the 1980 re-election campaign for then Congresswoman Snowe.  The campaign was a success, and Kelly continued to serve the Congresswoman in that capacity in addition to working as a medical assistant in the Bangor area.  In 1987, Congresswoman Snowe asked Kelly to join her Congressional staff as a Maine staff assistant.  She later joined the Senate staff when Snowe was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994. 

Since that time, Kelly has served the senator in a number of positions including director of constituent services, regional representative, Maine state scheduler, and most recently in 2004, as Senator Snowe's state director.  Kelly now runs the senator's six Maine offices from Biddeford to Presque Isle, traveling throughout all 16 Maine counties represented by the senator.

In 2001, Kelly decided to begin her own political career by running for Brewer City Council.  She was successful in her pursuit and was re-elected for a second term in 2004. Her tenure included serving twice as the city's mayor.  Kelly's public service was later recognized with the Brewer Citizen of the Year Award, and the prestigious John Joseph Moakley award for Exemplary Public Service. 

She is the past president of the Bangor Area Breakfast Rotary and the Husson University Alumni Board, and currently serves as board member of the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce and the Government Affairs Committee for the Bangor Chamber of Commerce.  Kelly is the recipient of the Alida Camp Award for her many years of service to the Maine Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.  Kelly's passion in life is raising awareness of M.S., serving as a board member of the Greater New England M.S. Society, and working tirelessly as an advocate by raising funds to find a cure for this devastating disease.  Kelly has one son and a granddaughter.  She is engaged to John Sheehan of Brewer.

Donna M. Loring

Donna M. Loring is presently a Tribal Council member of the Penobscot Indian Nation.  She held the position of the Nation's representative to the Maine State Legislature for 12 years, ending in October 2008. During her legislative service, Loring authored and sponsored L.D. 291: "An Act to Require Teaching Maine Native American History and Culture in Maine's Schools."  Governor Angus King signed the Act into law on June 14, 2001. The law is changing the way Maine views its history.

Loring conceptualized and advocated for the first "State of the Tribes Address" in Maine History. Tribal Chiefs addressed a Joint Session of the Legislature on March 11, 2002. This was the first time ever that Tribal Chiefs were allowed to address the Legislature. The event was carried live on Maine Public Television and Radio. 

Loring is a Vietnam veteran, serving from November of 1967 to November of 1968 during the TET Offensive.  She is a graduate of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and the University of Maine at Orono where she graduated with a B.A. in Political Science, and currently serves as an adjunct faculty member.

Her professional background is in law enforcement, and she served as the police chief for the Penobscot Nation from 1984-1990. Loring was the first woman police academy graduate to become police chief in the State of Maine. In 1992 she became the first woman director of security at Bowdoin College, a position she held until March of 1997.  In May of 2008, Loring published a book titled, "In the Shadow of the Eagle: A Tribal Representative in Maine", a journal of her experiences in the Maine State Legislature as a Non-voting Tribal Representative.

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