Art Girard

Art Girard

Philanthropy and an array of study options help make UNE a top college for Marine Biology

In November 2018, College Magazine ranked the University of New England number seven in the country on its list of “The 10 Best Colleges for Marine Biology” — the only school in New England to crack to the list’s top 10.

UNE’s Marine Biology program has grown immensely due to its pinnacle position along the water, an array of study options such as a bachelor of arts degree and a minor in marine affairs, bachelor of science degrees and minors in both aquaculture and marine entrepreneurship, and a bachelor of science in a program called MARMAT — a double major in marine sciences and applied mathematics — as well as from the incredible support of alumni and UNE community.

In fact, an earlier gift from the Art Girard family helped support many of these current programs. He and his family had gifted the locally known Ram Island to UNE, providing the University with the chance to build and expand on its already world-class marine science programs.

An entrepreneur, speedboat racer, commercial real estate broker, and philanthropist, Girard has often been associated with preserving historic and natural landmarks such as lighthouses and the land where they reside. Girard spent a portion of his childhood in Portland, Maine. Later in life he returned to work as a mechanic and thereafter began purchasing real estate for development with an eye for conservation. In regards to Ram Island Girard reflects, "Its location and relatively unspoiled environment teeming with marine wildlife was the perfect match for the studies supported by the Marine Sciences Department. UNE stood out to me for [its] progressive curriculum and extraordinary management team. I have no doubt it will be an excellent custodian of Ram Island."

Ram lsland, located only two miles offshore, provides students with a place to practice more hands on research techniques. Jeanne Hey, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, says, "Adding Ram Island to UNE's already extraordinary marine resources makes us the undisputed leader in marine education. Nowhere else can undergraduates study marine science and policy in an on-campus, fully equipped marine science center and travel to a university-owned island research station within a short boat ride from a university dock. Ram Island's unique location at the confluence of the Saco Bay estuary and the Atlantic Ocean generates opportunities for students to take advantage of a remarkable living laboratory."

In recognition of the large amount of support that the Girard family has provided our university, but more specifically our Marine Science Program, the Marine Science Center located on Biddeford campus was named after Arthur Girard. The Arthur P. Girard Marine Science Center (APGMSC) incorporates two floors dedicated to teaching, a tidal pump system, 550,000 gallon storage tank enabling flow-through seawater distributed to classrooms and labs, five internal pools, and wet and dry laboratories.

Return to Institutional Advancement