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GoUBears t1_j99tzi0 wrote

So long as UMO isn’t targeted for significant disinvestment (like a chain of events that ends in USM Gorham as the state’s flagship), I give Bangor a shot at a thriving future. They just have to properly utilize their proximity and aim to retain graduates in a way that they haven’t since…the 1950s? A shrinking pool of low-budget, long-distance shoppers isn’t even close to a recipe for maintaining the status quo if the university withers.

While not a perfect comparison, I’d point to Macomb, Illinois, as a cautionary tale that’s currently unfolding. It has a smaller regional population base than Bangor, but it’s almost as isolated. It’s at the center of the Quad Cities, Peoria, and Springfield, each about 90 minutes away, and there’s only one slightly larger town in over three hours to its west. The state’s decision to shrink WIU’s budget was the equivalent of stating that they shouldn’t even be a blip on the map, and has already cost the area a third of its non-student population in the span of about six years. Needless to say, they’re still in free fall, with no end in sight, particularly if the free fall triggers a further reduction in WIU’s budget, which would likely be focused on their graduate schools, which have remained relatively unscathed so far.


lucidlilacdream t1_j9a4b82 wrote

The current state of UMO and all of the umaine schools is stagnant to declining. So, I just don’t see how it’s surrounding town can possibly benefit unless there is actual intentional growth of the university. In fact, we moved here from out of state and I have a high school aged kid. He has no interest in the Maine schools. Very few of his friends have interest in the maine schools. They lack resources compared to other state universities, that’s the problem. Why would they go there? Especially if they are mid to high achievers that will get scholarships to other state schools with more resources and thriving towns with more people their age?

Given the aging population here, Umaine and Maine should be investing in a medical school. You want people to stay in Bangor and fulfill the workforce needs? Get a good medical program going. It’s already an R1, but doing very little to build on that status. Heck, I had a friend who was told not to apply to their physics grad program by a physics professor that works there because of how bad the resources are, and they really want to stay in Maine for grad school.

Maybe it was better pre COVID though.


crowislanddive t1_j9ahed4 wrote

I agree, mostly but the Advanced Manufacturing program and the Materials lab are truly incredible.


GoUBears t1_j9a69ze wrote

Under-investment in public universities is rampant in New England thanks to the Ivies, NESCAC, and other quality private institutions. However, Maine has the short end of that stick, with three small schools totaling ~6k, 85% from out of state. Hopefully that will prompt an administration to prioritize enhancing UMO and USM sooner than later.


hike_me t1_j9gwqfz wrote

In the 70s or 80s there was a statewide referendum to borrow bond money to build a UMaine medical school in Bangor.

It failed.