Theodora J. Kalikow to retire as University of Maine at Farmington president

Theodora J. KalikowFARMINGTON, ME (September 19, 2011)—President Theodora J. Kalikow, a visionary leader who has guided the University of Maine at Farmington to emerge as a nationally-recognized model of educational effectiveness, has announced that she will retire as president of University of Maine at Farmington on June 30, 2012.

Having recently announced her decision to the University of Maine System Board of Trustees, Kalikow shared it with the UMF campus community at the annual employee recognition dinner on Friday, Sept. 16. With a tenure of 18 years, she is the longest-serving UMF president since the Farmington school became a four-year college in 1945 and the third-longest serving chief administrator of the western Maine institution in its nearly 150-year history.

“It has been an honor to serve as UMF president; to work with our outstanding faculty, staff, students and alumni; and to be a part of what are often the most important years of many young people’s lives,” said Kalikow. “UMF is a unique place that empowers members of campus leadership, along with students, to help determine the things that matter to a quality public liberal arts education. I am grateful to have been able to make a difference in higher education in Maine and look forward to continuing that work this year as we all help to chart the University’s direction for the future.”

Kalikow has served as UMF’s 13th president since 1994. Originally from Swampscott, Mass., she came to UMF from Plymouth State College where she served as interim president, dean of the college and professor of philosophy. Earlier in her career, she worked in administrative, faculty and leadership roles at Southeastern Massachusetts University (now University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth) and University of Northern Colorado and was named an ACE Fellow at Brown University.

Kalikow’s presidency is notable for her tireless efforts to provide the kind of honest, active, forward-thinking leadership and deep commitment to education that has been the hallmark of her administration. During her time at UMF, the University has been recognized as “One of America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report for 15 consecutive years, as one of 20 outstanding colleges selected as national models of educational effectiveness, and by the U.S. Congressional Record for its efforts to make an environmentally sustainable campus a reality.

Affectionately known as “Theo” by students, faculty, staff, community members, and leaders throughout the state, Kalikow is noted for creating a culture of learning, leadership and community on the Farmington campus and beyond. She can frequently be seen on campus walking with students, energetically engaged in conversation—making them feel valued, cared about and connected.

Throughout her presidency, Kalikow has put student success first and foremost and has committed to strengthening the academic experience at UMF with a focus on experiential learning, internships and undergraduate research. The UMF Symposium, a University-wide day to spotlight original student research, has been celebrated at UMF since 1999. The Wilson Scholars Program, an undergraduate research program to promote the highest level of scholarship, has named close to 150 student scholars since 2006. Additionally, under Kalikow’s leadership, UMF has added five new majors, five new programs in interdisciplinary studies, two new master’s degree programs and 16 faculty positions.

In 2000, she received the University of Maine’s Maryann Hartman Award from the Women’s Studies program, which annually recognizes Maine women of achievement whose accomplishments provide inspirations for other women. In 2002, Kalikow was honored for the enduring value of her contributions to women as she was inducted to the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2006, her exceptional leadership and public service were recognized when she was awarded the Deborah Morton Award by the trustees of the University of New England.

Kalikow’s legacy is also evident in the University’s commitment to environmental sustainability and how that has impacted UMF, its students and the state of Maine. She was an early signatory of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment. Also, in 2007, she was awarded the Green Building Leadership Award from the Maine Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council for her pioneering role in advancing environmentally-responsible buildings in Maine. Many facilities on the UMF campus feature advanced geothermal technology and the latest energy efficiencies due to Kalikow’s vision of environmental stewardship, including the UMF Education Center—one of Maine’s first LEED-certified green buildings—Frances Allen Black Hall, Preble-Ricker science facility renovations and the recently-opened Emery Community Arts Center.

After leaving the presidency, Kalikow will continue to serve the University of Maine System working on special projects for two years. These efforts will include concentrating on improving access to higher education for Maine students and collaborating with business leaders and UMS officials to expand economic development in the state.

“It has been my pleasure and honor to work with Theo for nearly twenty years,” said University of Maine System Chancellor Richard L. Pattenaude. “She has done a wonderful job as president of UMF, leading it to new levels of excellence. She is a delightful and caring colleague who will be missed by everyone throughout the University of Maine System. I look forward to working with her on special projects in the next few years and am very pleased we will continue to have her talent, wisdom and irrepressible good humor available to us.”

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Photo can be found at

Photo Credit: UMF photo