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On a sunny day this week, officials from the University of Maine System cut the ribbon on the striking McGoldrick Center, the student gathering place on the University of Southern Maine campus.
Students have been populating the University Book Store, the Husky Brew Pub and Double L Fireside Lounge for over a month, but the center was officially opened Wednesday, Sept. 27.
The McGoldrick Center for Career & Student Success, as it is formally known, is part of a major makeover of the USM campus that includes the recent opening of the 580-bed Portland Commons. Both buildings play a key role in adding 24/7 life to what was once a commuter campus.
On Wednesday, officials hailed the 42,000-square-foot center for its innovative architecture and welcoming design. PC Construction, with offices in Portland and South Burlington, Vt., managed the project. For design, Portland-based SMRT Architecture & Engineering teamed up with Elkus Manfredi Architects, a Boston firm.
The center is named for Carolyn and Dick McGoldrick — a couple whose donations and fundraising efforts were a key part of getting the student center built.
Dick McGoldrick, a real estate developer, co-chaired USM’s 2004-08 "Transforming USM" campaign, which funded the creation of the Abromson and Wishcamper centers on the Portland campus. In 2017, the McGoldricks launched the USM Promise Scholarship Program and fundraising campaign, which yearly serves 100 first-generation USM students from Maine, who have been recommended by youth-development organizations statewide. In 2022, the McGoldricks made a $2 million philanthropic commitment toward student support programs at USM. In all, USM Wednesday they were instrumental in helping to raise $12.7 million for the Promise Scholarship Program.
A theme of the unveiling was the widespread support from Maine companies, which continued to make contributions even after the doors were open on the McGoldrick Center — underscoring the importance of education in workforce development.
Glenn Hutchinson, president and CEO of Bath Savings, talked about this when the bank donated $500,000 toward what was at the time a goal of raising $46 million for the "Great University Campaign." (USM said Wednesday it in fact surpassed the goal, raising more than $50 million.)
"As an alumnus of USM, a member of the Board of Visitors and a local employer, I know how deeply important this university is to the economic well-being of our region. The new [McGoldrick] Center will bring students and employers together to help build careers and strengthen the future of Maine," Hutchinson said when the bank made its contribution late last year.
At the time of its $50,000 donation in July, BerryDunn President and CEO Sarah Beliveau called the center "a win-win for our company and the entire workforce of Maine."
The overall cost of the McGoldrick Center was $26.6 million, of which $19 million came from state of Maine bonds. Another $7.6 million came from private philanthropy.
“The success of the Great University Campaign represents the deep commitment of our USM community –– the alumni, friends, faculty, staff, students and employer partners who are investing in the future of this important university,” said USM President Dr. Jacqueline Edmondson. “The campaign raised millions of dollars for scholarships, the arts, key academic programs, and athletics. Beautiful new spaces like the McGoldrick Center and the Center for the Arts, now under construction on our Portland campus, will provide state-of-the-art facilities for our students. These meaningful philanthropic contributions from our community position us well for our next chapter."
In addition to the record-breaking $50 million raised through the Great University Campaign, donors mustered $14.7 million for scholarships and student support programs, the successful endowment of USM’s distinctive Promise Scholarship Program. Some 4,470 donors contributed over three years, more than half contributing to USM for the first time.