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May 3, 2022

University of Maine at Farmington, Colby College hire senior leaders

Two Maine schools of higher education on Tuesday announced new leaders: an interim president for the University of Maine at Farmington, and a new chief financial officer for Colby College in Waterville.

Joseph McDonnell will serve as interim president of the University of Maine at Farmington for a two-year term that begins July 1, according to a news release. McDonnell currently is a professor of policy, planning and management in the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, where he previously served as dean of the College of Management and Human Services, and later as USM provost.

In February, UMF’s current president, Edward Serna, said he would leave the school at the end of this June to become president at his alma mater, Winthrop University in South Carolina.

A national search for a permanent president will be conducted.

UMF has well-respected programs in early childhood and teacher education, human services, business and outdoor recreation, but the school has seen its enrollment fall more than 25% over the last 10 years, increasingly challenging its finances.

McDonnell’s key priorities as interim president will be improving student recruitment and retention, pursuing collaborative academic and community partnerships and producing balanced budgets, the release said.

Meanwhile, at Colby, Nicole Trufant will join as vice president and chief financial officer on July 15. She will become the first woman to hold the position and will succeed Doug Terp, who is retiring after 34 years.

Trufant has served as University of New England’s chief financial and administrative officer since 2007, managing and overseeing the university’s finances and accounting during a period of unprecedented growth in enrollment and campus expansion.

A Biddeford native, she has served in several other senior leadership positions at UNE, including as vice president of finance and administration and vice president for fiscal affairs. A certified public accountant, Trufant graduated from the University of Southern Maine, received a master's in management from New England College and a certificate in executive management from Harvard University’s graduate school of education.

“Throughout her career, Nicole has demonstrated her ability to approach growth and change with creativity, to think strategically about complex financial issues, and to develop solutions that are both innovative and prudent,” said Colby President David Greene.

“Colby has a longstanding tradition of exceptional financial management, and Nicole is the right person to ensure our continued financial strength while we pursue ambitious plans for the future of the College.”

Colby is in the midst of multiple strategic initiatives. including new and enhanced academic programs, major capital investments and ongoing efforts to expand financial aid and student access. The school is closing in on a $750 million fundraising goal, the college endowment has surpassed $1 billion, and rating agency Standard & Poor’s recently improved Colby’s bond rating.

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