University of Southern Maine
Former names
Gorham Normal School (1878–1945)
Portland University (1921–1933)
Portland Junior College (1933–1957)
Gorham State Teachers College (1945–1964)
University of Maine at Portland (1957–1970)
Gorham State College (1964–1970)
University of Maine at Portland-Gorham (1970–1978)
MottoThe University of Everyone
TypePublic university
Established1878; 146 years ago (1878)
Parent institution
University of Maine System
Academic affiliations
PresidentJacqueline Edmondson[1]
Students7,996 (2021)[2]
Undergraduates5,956 (2021)[2]
Postgraduates1,778 (2021)[2]
United States

43°39′45″N 70°16′34″W / 43.66250°N 70.27611°W / 43.66250; -70.27611
CampusUrban, Suburban, 142 acres (57 ha)
NewspaperThe Free Press
Colors  Royal Blue
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division III
MascotChamp the Husky

The University of Southern Maine (USM) is a public university with campuses in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston in the U.S. state of Maine. It is the southernmost of the University of Maine System. It was founded as two separate state universities, Gorham Normal School and Portland University. The two universities, later known as Gorham State College and the University of Maine at Portland, were combined in 1970 to help streamline the public university system in Maine and eventually expanded by adding the Lewiston campus in 1988.

The Portland Campus is home to the Edmund Muskie School of Public Service, the Bio Sciences Research Institute, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Osher Map Library, and the USM School of Business. The Gorham campus, much more residential, is home to the School of Education and Human Development and the School of Music.[3]


Robie Andrews Hall is one of the original Gorham State College buildings. It is now primarily a residence hall with some mixed academic usage on the first floor. Taken from a 1907 postcard.

Evolving from Gorham Academy into an institution of higher education, USM originated in 1878 as Gorham Normal School, later called Gorham State Teachers College and then Gorham State College. In 1970 that institution merged with the University of Maine at Portland (previously Portland Junior College) and became the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham (UMPG).[4] The name was changed to University of Southern Maine in 1978. The Lewiston-Auburn campus was founded in 1988.


See also: List of Presidents of the University of Southern Maine

William J. MacLeod served as president from 1970 until 1971. Louis J.P. Calisti served as president from 1971 until 1973. Walter P. Fridinger served as president in 1973. N. Edd Miller served as president from 1973 until 1978. Kenneth W. Allen served as president from 1978 until 1979. Robert L. Woodbury served as president from 1979 until 1986. Patricia R. Plante served as president from 1987 to 1991.[5] Richard Pattenaude served as president from 1991 until 2007. Joe Wood served as interim president from 2007 to 2008.[6] Selma Botman served as president from 2008 until 2012. Theodora J. Kalikow served as interim president from 2012 until 2014. Former power company CEO David Flanagan served as interim president from 2014 until 2015.[7] Glenn Cummings, former speaker of the Maine House, served as president from 2015 until 2022.[8][9] Jacqueline Edmondson became the 14th president of the University of Southern Maine in July 2022.[10]


The McGoldrick Center for Career & Student Services, left, the Bean Green, and the Portland Commons dorm.
Luther Bonney, Masterton Hall, and the Science building at USM's Portland Campus

See also: List of University of Southern Maine buildings


The Portland campus is located in the Oakdale neighborhood. The primary academic areas at the Portland campus are business, nursing, history, political science, economics, sociology, biology, physics, chemistry, math, english, psychology, media studies, modern and classical languages and literatures, and American and New England studies.[11] The campus houses the Wishcamper Center, the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education, Hannaford Hall, Luther Bonney Hall, Masterton Hall, the Science Building, the Southworth Planetarium, Payson Smith Hall, Abromson Community Education Center, the Alumni House, and the Sullivan Gymnasium complex. Many department offices are located around the perimeter of the campus center in converted multi-story homes as well as in the major buildings.

In 2021, the university removed the Woodbury Campus Center and broke ground on the 210,000 square foot, 580-bed Portland Commons dorm,[12] which opened in August 2023. It has 385 studios, single, double and four-person apartments with views of the city and Casco Bay. The dorm is open to USM upperclassmen, USM graduate students, University of Maine School of Law students and Southern Maine Community College upperclassmen.[13]

The McGoldrick Center for Career & Student Success and the adjacent Bean Green grassy quad also opened to students in August 2023. The McGoldrick Center includes a dining hall, a career center, and multiple student lounges. Across the street from the dorm is a 500-space parking garage, which is the largest Level Two charging station in Maine with 58 electric vehicle charging stations and storage for more than 250 bicycles.[14] The buildings were built with green building techniques. Portland Commons is the second largest passive house building at an American university.[15]

In 2023, the university broke ground on the $63 million Crewe Center for the Arts with an art gallery, a visual arts teaching space, and a performing arts center able to seat 210 people. It is located between Payson Smith and Luther Bonney.[16][17]

The student-run community radio station WMPG and the student-run newspaper The Free Press are located on the Portland campus.

The campus is adjacent to Noyes Park,[18][19] a three-quarter acre landscaped park with large shade trees, and near Fesenden Park, Baxter Boulevard park, and Deering Oaks. The USM Portland campus is bordered by I-295, with on and off-ramps accessing the campus on Forest Avenue, and is across the street from a Hannaford grocery store and near restaurants and bars, which include The Great Lost Bear.

Glickman Library

USM Glickman Library at Portland

The Albert Brenner Glickman Family Library is the main library, located on the Portland campus. It includes the Osher Map Library. It houses the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine, where the current collections represent the African American, Jewish, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender communities.[20] The library also has rare book collections, including holdings in pre-20th century New England textbooks.[21]


Corthell Hall is located on the Gorham campus and is the School of Music's concert hall. Originally Corthell Hall was the sole classroom building on the Gorham Normal School campus.

Gorham is home to most of the university's dormitories and competitive athletic facilities. The primary academic areas residing in Gorham are industrial technologies, engineering, art, music, theater, counseling and education, anthropology, geography, environmental sciences, and geosciences.[11] McLellan House, built in 1773, was acquired by Gorham State College in 1966. It was converted into dormitories and later into office space.[22] The Academy Building was built in 1803 and purchased by the university in 1878.

Residence Halls located on the Gorham campus include:


44°4′35″N 70°10′20″W / 44.07639°N 70.17222°W / 44.07639; -70.17222 (Lewiston-Auburn campus, University of Southern Maine)

USM's Lewiston-Auburn campus, Front entrance. This campus was established in 1988

The Lewiston-Auburn campus of the University of Southern Maine is the newest of the three campuses. The college on this campus is known as Lewiston-Auburn College (USM LAC). USM LAC is committed to being a national leader in interdisciplinary education, serving as a resource for the community, and providing degree programs that are responsive to changing cultural and workplace demands available to a non-traditional and diverse student body.[25]

Baccalaureate degree programs available at USM LAC are: Arts and Humanities, Leadership and Organizational Studies, Natural and Applied Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences. Master of Arts in Leadership and Master of Occupational Therapy degrees are offered exclusively at Lewiston-Auburn College. The USM Nursing program (BS & RN to BS) from USM's College of Nursing and Health Professions are also offered at the Lewiston-Auburn campus.[25]


USM offers baccalaureate and master's degree programs as well as doctoral programs in Public Policy and School Psychology.[3] Undergraduate study is available in roughly 115 areas, and degrees conferred include the B.S, B.A, B.M., and B.F.A.[26] Graduate study is available at the Masters and Doctoral level through the School of Business, School of Education and Human Development, Muskie School of Public Service, School of Social Work, School of Music, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, School of Nursing, and the School of Environmental, Health, and Life Sciences.

The Department of Educational and School Psychology offers a master's degree and a doctoral degree in School Psychology. The degrees are accredited by the Maine Department of Education. Graduates of the master's program are eligible for certification as school psychologists. Graduates of the doctoral program are eligible for state licensure as psychologists and certification as school psychologists. The department also offers a master's degree with an emphasis in applied behavior analysis that meets the educational requirements to be eligible for board certification as a behavior analyst (BCBA).

The Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing is a graduate program in creative writing which enrolls approximately 100 students in four major genres: creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and popular fiction.

The USM School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Continuing education is available through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes.

The University of Southern Maine is one of two schools in the state of Maine that offers an ABET accredited Computer Science degree program.[27]

Students at the two-year Southern Maine Community College in South Portland can seamlessly transfer their credit hours to continue their degrees in business administration; pre-engineering, fire science, horticulture, liberal studies with a focus in science, marine science, nursing, precision machining and manufacturing, and respiratory therapy.[28]

Maine-Greenland Collaboration

The Maine-Greenland Collaboration is an interdisciplinary research project to investigate the environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural challenges facing coastal communities in Maine and Greenland. The collaboration involves researchers and students from the Muskie School of Public Service, the School of Social Work and many other programs.[29]

Reykjavik University Partnership

USM has a partnership with Reykjavik University allowing for more student and faculty exchanges between USM and Reykjavik University. The partnership was signed in 2017.[30]

Maine Teacher Residency Program

The University of Southern Maine administers the Maine Teacher Residency Program for the University of Maine System. The program allows teaching students to work in Maine classrooms while completing their degrees and aims to ease the shortage of teachers. In the 2022–2023 school year, 40 teaching students were enrolled in the program. The program will grow to include 70 more student teachers in the 2023–2024 school year.[31]

Edmund Muskie School of Public Service & the Catherine Cutler Institute

The Muskie School is located on the Portland campus and includes public health, tourism and hospitality, geography-anthropology, and the graduate school of policy, planning, and management. The Catherine Cutler Institute is the research arm of the Muskie School.[32]

Quality Control Collaboratory (QC2)

The Quality Control Collaboratory (QC2) is a partnership with the Maine Brewers' Guild to provide laboratory analysis and testing for the craft beverage industry. It is located on the Portland campus. The lab provides research opportunities for USM undergrad and graduate students.[33][34]

Boyne Family Advanced Simulation and Interprofessional Education Center

The Boyne Family Advanced Simulation and Interprofessional Education Center is a $2.5 million simulation laboratory for nursing students located on two floors of the Science Building.[35]

Maine Regulatory Training & Ethics Center

The Maine Regulatory Training & Ethics Center is located in the Wishcamper Center and provides training in regulatory compliance, workforce development, and ethical decision-making. It is a partnership between the University of Southern Maine, the University of Maine Law School, businesses, and community partners. In 2023, the National Science Foundation provided $400,000 in funding to the center to develop an ethics training program for scientists working with AI.[36]

Charles Scontras Center for Labor and Community Education

The Charles Scontras Center for Labor and Community Education is located in Payson Hall and formally opens in Fall 2023. Matthew Emmick is the director. The center educates workers about labor laws and their rights.[37]


The University of Southern Maine is the second largest university in the University of Maine System. Enrollment for 2023-2024 was 5,407 students.[38] In 2022, 58.8% of undergraduate students were female and 41.2% were male.[39] As of 2021, USM had 5,950 undergraduate students and 1,750 graduate students, with a student-faculty ratio of 13:3.[2][40]

Student life

Dining service

Sodexo operates the dining halls. In the fall of 2022, Sodexo introduced delivery robots that carry food to students on both the Gorham and the Portland campuses. The robots are called Kiwibots and have special tires to work in the snow. Students must download an app to use the service. The robots can deliver Starbucks lattes and falafel from food trucks parked on campus.[41]

The Brooks Dining Hall on the Gorham campus was renovated in 2019 at a cost of $2.5 million allowing it to expand the vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free food.[42] In 2023, the McGoldrick Center opened on the Portland campus. It houses a 300-seat dining hall and the Husky Cafe & Brew Pub.[43]

The Free Press

The Free Press is a student-run and funded campus newspaper that was founded in 1972. It publishes a print edition weekly during the academic year, equaling roughly 22 editions a year. The newspaper has a circulation of 3,000. It is an entirely student-run and student-funded newspaper not supported by an academic department. The university does not have a journalism program. In fall 2022, a lack of staff led the newspaper to discontinue updates to its websites and social media and focus on print publications.[44]


WMPG is a community radio station located on the Portland Campus. A mix of USM students and volunteers from the greater Portland community produce all the music and local public affairs programs. It began broadcasting in 1973.[45]

Husky Line

The Greater Portland METRO bus service runs the Husky Line between the Portland and Gorham campuses. The bus arrives every 30 minutes on weekdays.[46] The public bus line was added in 2018, replacing a previous private bus service.[47] The route is a limited-stop line operated by buses running on natural gas. All the buses have wifi. All USM students and faculty ride the bus for free by showing their campus ID card.[48]


The University of Southern Maine teams are the Huskies.

Intercollegiate athletics

The athletic program started in 1922 with men’s and women's basketball.[49] The university sponsors 23 sports at the NCAA Division III level. The majority of sports compete in the Little East Conference; wrestling competes as an independent Division III team, men's and women's ice hockey compete in the ECAC East.[50]

Club sports

The University of Southern Maine has six club sports teams. They include ice hockey, men's rugby, men's volleyball, women's volleyball, dance team, and esports.[51] The largest club is the USM Esports team, a competitive video gaming team, with 170 participating students during the 2023-2024 academic year. In 2024, Town & Country Federal Credit Union donated $750,000 to create The Collab: Esports Arena within the Brooks Student Center on the Gorham campus.[52]


Parking Revenue Recovery Services

In 2023-2024, USM instituted a new parking policy and hired controversial Colorado-based vendor Parking Revenue Recovery Services to administer it. Students reported that the system was prone to errors, it issued tickets to cars doing drop offs, and the company was difficult to communicate with. Some students had parking ticket bills totaling thousands of dollars.[53] Parking tickets issued for $55 for each violation. Both students and community members have complained about the system that is difficult to use.[54]

Dining service

In 2019, students complained about the dining services. Sodexo operates University of Southern Maine's dining halls. It was reported that the "students who prefer a plant-based diet were ditching the meal plan, eating elsewhere or foregoing meals." In response, the university renovated the Gorham dining hall.[55] The complaints continued. In the spring of 2022, students reported dissatisfaction with the food served by the dining hall, complaining of undercooked meat, overcooked pasta, and a lack of vegetarian options.[56]

2014 financial problems

At the beginning of 2014, administrators at USM announced that the university had found itself in dire financial straits, and would be announcing program closures and faculty layoffs, including long-term just cause faculty and tenured faculty.[57] President Theodora Kalikow and Provost Michael Stevenson announced that four departments would be closed: the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department, the GeoSciences Department, the Arts and Humanities program at Lewiston-Auburn College, and the graduate program American and New England Studies (the Recreation and Leisure Studies closure was later rescinded[58]). A week later, twelve individual faculty members in various departments were informed that they would be laid off effective May 31. As a result of protests led by USM students,[59] the layoffs were rescinded by Kalikow.[60] Later that year, Chancellor Page asked Kalikow for her resignation as USM president.[61][62][63]

This process was restarted in October 2014, when Interim President David T. Flanagan (former CEO of a power company) and Provost Joseph McDonnell announced that the three programs targeted for elimination in March would indeed be eliminated, and two more: French and Applied Medical Sciences.[64] In addition, USM faculty were notified that twenty-five departments would have to shed fifty full-time faculty members, whether through retirement or layoffs.[65] In the end, 36 faculty members retired, but since some of them were not in targeted departments, 25 faculty members were fired.

Local business leaders claimed the cuts would impair Maine's economy[66][67] and many faculty, students, staff, and community members disputed administration claims about financial insolvency.[68][69][70] Critics claimed that the layoffs were arbitrary and capricious,[71] an attempt to eliminate outspoken faculty critical of administration policies and actions, and in violation of the Faculty Senate governance document and the faculty union's Collective Bargaining Agreement.[72][73] All of the faculty layoffs were immediately challenged through grievances filed by the union against the University of Maine System.[72] Following an investigation, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) voted in 2015 to censure the university.[74][75]

Notable alumni

Name Class Notability Reference
Spencer Albee ex-1997 American musician [76]
Poppy Arford 1981 Maine state legislator [77]
Richard A. Bennett 2000 Chairman of the Maine Republican Party [78]
Tracy Bennett ?? Puzzle editor [79]
Michael F. Brennan ?? Maine state legislator
Joseph Bruno (Maine politician) 1989 Minority Leader of the Maine House of Representatives, 2000–2004 [80]
Alan Casavant 2004 Mayor of Biddeford, Maine, 2012–present [81]
Vinton Cassidy ?? Maine State Senator, 1992–1998
Glenn Chadbourne ?? American Artist [82]
Kate Chappell 1983 Founder of Tom's of Maine [83]
Kathleen Chase 1991 Maine State Representative from the 147th district [84]
John Cleveland (politician) 1982 State Senator from Maine's 15th District [85]
Robert Crowley (Survivor contestant) ?? Winner of the American television show Survivor: Gabon [86]
John Currier 1975 28th Vice Commandant of the United States Coast Guard [87]
Gerald Davis (politician) ?? Maine State Senator from the 11th District, 2008–2010 [88]
William Diamond 1972 Maine Secretary of State, 1989–1997 [89]
Mark Dion (politician) ?? Maine State Representative, 2010–present
Don Dodge ?? Developer advocate for Google
Benjamin F. Dudley 1999 Maine House of Representatives, 1998–2006 [90]
Eleanor Espling 1994 Maine House of Representatives, 2010–present [91]
Ellen F. Golden 1994 Director, Women's Business Center, Coastal Enterprises, Inc., Wiscasset, Maine [citation needed]
Randall Greenwood Maine House of Representatives [92]
Rachel Griffin-Accurso, better known as Ms. Rachel ?? YouTuber, social media personality, songwriter, and educator [93]
Anne Haskell ?? Maine state legislator
Simon M. Hamlin ?? U.S. Congressman
Hannah Holmes 1988 Journalist [94]
Wilbur R. Ingalls, Jr. ?? Architect
Rebecca Jauch 2003 Maine state legislator [95]
Kevan Jones ?? British Member of Parliament
Brian Langley ?? Maine state legislator
Lois Lowry 1972 Novelist
David A. Marshall ?? Artist and Portland city councilor
Jean Ginn Marvin ?? Maine State Legislator
Joshua Morris ?? Maine state legislator [96]
Chellie Pingree ?? U.S. Congresswoman
Diane Russell ?? Maine state legislator
Tony Shalhoub 1977 Actor
Raymond C. Stevens 1986 Research Scientist
Kevin St.Jarre 2010 Writer
Holly Stover ?? Maine state representative [97]
Nancy Sullivan (politician) ?? Maine State Legislator
Cleon Turner 1945 Massachusetts State Legislator
John Bruce Wallace ?? Philosopher and artist
Bonnie Titcomb Lewis ?? State legislator


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Further reading