The founding president of the University of New England, Jack S. Ketchum, MBA, served from 1978 through 1984. Integral in the 1978 merger between St. Francis College and the New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ketchum helped to create the foundation for the UNE we know today. 

After a career in business, Ketchum launched his own financial appraisal practice in 1974. During this time, he became involved with St. Francis College when he was hired to help the College assess its enrollment potential and restore its financial stability. He went on to serve as St. Francis College's president on a part-time basis at the Board's request. Then, in 1975, Ketchum and his neighbor William Bergen, a physician involved with the New England Foundation for Osteopathic Medicine (NEFOM) initiative to establish an osteopathic college, discussed the possibility of collaboration. The St. Francis College Trustees met with NEFOM, an agreement was reached, and UNE was born.

Establishing stability in these early years was not easy, with dwindling enrollment and a quarter-million-dollar annual budget deficit, but Ketchum worked hard to turn things around. By 1983, admissions were up and the University enjoyed a $40,000 budget surplus. Over the course of Ketchum's presidency, UNE added new degree programs in a variety of program areas, while also stabilizing admissions, academic affairs and the University's financial position.

We'll grow into it!” — Jack S. Ketchum, MBA

After stepping down in 1984, Ketchum continued to remain active in UNE affairs, lending his expertise in financial and corporate planning matters.

Prior to UNE

Ketchum was born in 1930 in Prince Edward Island, Canada. After spending his childhood in Westchester, New York, he received his B.S. from the University of New Hampshire in 1953 and his MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in 1955. He then worked at Proctor and Gamble and Union Mutual Life Insurance Company, becoming one of Southern Maine's leading businessmen. Wanting to strike out on his own, he left Union Mutual in 1974 to become an independent business and financial appraiser. It was through this work that he first connected with St. Francis College.

Highlights and Awards

Ketchum was also involved in K-12 education, chairing the School Board of the Kennebunks.

Committed to land preservation, Ketchum served as the General Campaign Chairman for the Laudholm Trust, helping to create the Wells Reserve at Laudholm, a National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Ketchum received an honorary degree and an honorary alumni award from UNE.