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September 1, 2017

Cutler out, Campbell in as CEO of Maine Center initiative

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
George N. Campbell Jr., president and CEO of the University of Southern Maine Foundation, has been named interim CEO of the Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies. He replaces Eliot Cutler, who has resigned effective Thursday.
Photo / Tim Greenway
Eliot Cutler, shown at the University of Maine Law School's library, served two-and-a-half years as CEO of the Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies.

At a glance: Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies

Launched last fall after an 18-month planning process funded with a $2 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation, the Maine Center is an ambitious multi-phase $150 million plan to create a new graduate center for business, law and public policy in Portland.

As reported by Mainebiz when the initiative was launched last fall, the Maine Center will combine the MBA programs at the University of Maine and the University of Southern Maine into a single program within the new Graduate School of Business. It will also bring the University of Maine School of Law and the University of Southern Maine Muskie School of Public Service graduate programs and its Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy together as a unique consortium to maximize cross discipline opportunities for students.

The 75-page business plan calls for a phased capital campaign — which UMaine trustees gave preliminary approval to last fall — to raise money for a $150 million capital investment that included a new $93.6 million building and a $45 million endowment.

In July, the Harold Alfond Foundation announced a $7.5 million challenge grant to the UMaine System to support the Maine Center, in what was described as the largest private gift to a multi-campus effort in the University of Maine System's history. Grant payments toward the $7.5 million commitment announced today will be staged as program benchmarks are met, including the challenge of raising an additional $7.5 million from external sources.

About George Campbell

George Campbell has a long history of private, public and community service, including helping raise millions of dollars in private philanthropy for organizations such as Maine Development Foundation, Alpha One-Center for Independent Living, Maine Economic Growth Council and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

In the private sector, he has served as the president of Pierce Atwood Strategies, president of CBRE/The Boulos Co. and as president and owner of Governmental Services Inc. He also has served as vice president of Services for the consulting firm Louis Berger and as a partner at Lexden Capital New England.

In the public sector, he served as commissioner of the Department of Transportation in both Maine and New Hampshire, was the Maine state development director and served city or town manager of several communities in central and northern Maine.

George Campbell has been named interim CEO of the Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies, replacing Eliot Cutler who resigned effective Thursday.

Cutler served two-and-a-half years as CEO of the University of Maine System's ambitious plan to put several graduate programs under one roof in Portland.

Campbell, who has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, currently serves as president and CEO of the University of Southern Maine Foundation. He will retain that role as he assumes his duties as the Maine Center's interim CEO.

In an Aug. 31 letter announcing his resignation, Cutler said that he had completed what he set out to do when he took on the assignment of bringing the graduate law, business and public service programs together in ways that would "break down the walls and silos in graduate programs that already are vanishing from the real world of work."

"I am grateful to Chancellor [James] Page and the University System's board of trustees for their visionary support of this initiative and to the Harold Alfond Foundation for its extraordinary commitment to improving public higher education in Maine and providing more and better opportunities for Maine people," Cutler wrote. "Rebuilding the Maine economy, restoring opportunity for Maine people and moving Maine out of the regional economic cellar will be a long process spanning a generation or two. It will require commitment and creativity, patience and persistence and, most important, the willingness of public and private stakeholders to work together."

Permanent CEO to be named next year

In a letter sent out today to Maine Center stakeholders, Page thanked Cutler for "a job well done," crediting him with shepherding what he characterized as a "priority initiative" of ongoing multifaceted One University efforts through the initial stage of creating the business plan and securing essential funding to get it off the ground.

"We are now embarking on the second stage, which includes investing in academic programs to build capacity, increasing our market reach and creating innovative structures that respond more nimbly to student and employer needs," Page wrote.

Along with naming Campbell as interim CEO, Page indicated that the UMaine System plans to hire a permanent full-time CEO in 2018.

"I am honored to take the baton from Eliot Cutler and have this opportunity to serve and meet the expectation of success that has been established by Chancellor Page, the board of trustees, and our partners at the Harold Alfond Foundation for Maine Center Ventures," Campbell said in a written statement provided to Mainebiz. "We have a strong plan and committed partners across the campuses and in communities throughout Maine. With their help we will hit the ground running with the launch of initial executive education programs and a business incubator and accelerator in early 2018."

What's next for Maine Center?

A brief memo, provided to Mainebiz by Dan Demeritt, executive director of public affairs for the UMaine System, spells out Campbell's assignment as he assumes his new role leading the Maine Center:

"Working closely with the Office of the Chancellor and university colleagues, the interim CEO is charged with launching Maine Center Ventures.

"Immediate outcomes will include:

— Lead a broadly engaged Maine Center Ventures advisory team

— External and campus stakeholder engagement

— Develop a branding and marketing campaign for MCV

— Aid in the search for full-time Maine Center Venture CEO

— Launch initial executive education programs in early 2018

— Launch business incubator / accelerator program in early 2018."

Jim Erwin, chairman of the UMS board of trustees, issued the following statement about Campbell's appointment: "George Campbell's career and his reputation for service, fundraising, and outreach personify the objectives of Maine Center Ventures in the developing Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies. Both as a public servant and in private enterprise, George has successfully built partnerships that have resulted in tremendous new opportunity for our state. Eliot Cutler and his team have provided us with the aspirational plan we asked for. Now the board and Chancellor Page have charged George in this interim period with launching Maine Center Ventures and establishing initial relationships with the legal, professional, and public service communities that will make the Maine Center successful."

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