On Monday, Jan. 21, the University of Maine lost yet another valuable member of its faculty. After a long struggle with his health, Burton Norval Hatlen – known by most of his students as Burt – died at the age of 71.
Born in 1936, Hatlen grew up in California. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1958, he received a doctorate in English from UC Davis.
Hatlen came to UMaine in 1965 and was a faculty member here for more than 40 years.
He was instrumental in developing UMaine’s National Poetry Foundation and served as its director for 15 years.
Many students may remember Hatlen from the Honors program where he taught several sections, gave lectures and oversaw “A Cultural Odyssey,” a course that encouraged students to experience the artistic community in Orono.
Hatlen enjoyed opening students’ eyes to new forms of art. “There’s a lot of resistance and a lot of skepticism and a certain amount of stereotyping,” Hatlen said of introducing others to creative expression.
Having a long and illustrious career at UMaine, Hatlen has a left a void in the faculty that may never be filled.
A celebration of Hatlen’s life and his accomplishments will take place later this spring on the UMaine campus.
If anyone would like to make a donation in Hatlen’s name, they may send them to The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Scholarship Fund, University of Maine Foundation, 2 Alumni Place, Orono, Maine, 04469.
For any UMaine staff seeking counseling, they may go to the Employee Assistance Program on campus. The Counseling Service provides support for all students and staff.
Hatlen is survived by his wife, Virginia Hatlen and daughters Julia Hatlen and Inger Daniels as well as first wife and mother of Julia and Inger, Barbara Karlson.