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August 10, 2018

SMCC dedicates research pier to Grondin family

Courtesy / Southern Maine Community College
Courtesy / Southern Maine Community College
Bette Grondin, right, wife of the late Philip H. Grondin Sr., with their children (from left) Michelle Raber, Frank Grondin, Phil Grondin Jr. and Larry Grondin, by the new plaque naming SMCC’s pier the Grondin Memorial Pier.

A research pier at the Southern Maine Community College campus in South Portland at its Aug. 9 dedication was named the Grondin Memorial Pier in honor of Philip H. Grondin Sr. and his family for their longtime contributions to the school and the Maine Community College System.

The pier, which opened in 2006, replaced one that had been built in the mid-1800s and simply known as the SMCC pier. In the early 2000, it had fallen into disrepair and was no longer functioning as a learning platform for SMCC's marine science academic program.

The structure now known as the Grondin Memorial Pier was built between 2004 and 2006 under the leadership of Philip H. Grondin Sr., the co-founder of Grondin Construction. He enlisted the help of friends and supporters who were instrumental in razing the old pier and raising money towards and building a modern replacement.

"We owe our heartfelt gratitude to Phil Grondin and the Grondin family for all they've meant to SMCC and the Maine Community College System," said SMCC President Joe Cassidy in a news release. "The family's selfless support and contributions have gone a long way toward benefiting the Collect and helping countless students."

Phil Grondin's wife, Bette Grondin, said it was an honor to have the family name on the pier.

"Phil always went out of his way to do what he could to help, whether it was raising money for scholarships or helping rebuild the pier," she said. "He always felt that kids who want to go to college should be able to go, that people who go to college go places."

The pier is used by SMCC's marine science program, which keeps a vessel there for students to conduct ocean research. It's also open to the public and used by other organizations and agencies for research purposes.

Besides leading the pier replacement project, Grondin founded the Sturdivant Island Tuna Tournament in 1998, helping turn it to the premier tuna-fishing contest in northern New England while raising more than $1 million for Maine's community colleges and other causes.

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