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Decades of leadership turned to friendship

Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Robert Q. Dana has known President Susan J. Hunter for over 30 years. When the two began their careers at UMaine, Dean Dana worked in substance abuse services while President Hunter was hired as an adjunct professor.

“My first impression of her was that she was funny and she was quizzical and very genuine. I liked her then, and I like her now. She’s very easy to approach,” Dana said.

“When she and I started really working together when she was associate provost for undergraduate education, and she really brought a sense of humanity and caring to that position,” Dana said. “She did a lot of collaboration with us in student affairs, helping to bridge the academic affairs and student affairs to make the whole student experience. And since she became associate provost, she was the provost, and then she went into the system. She’s always kept working, we’ve worked on accreditation policies, we’ve worked on strategic plans, and she’s just got a very positive sense about the future and UMaine students and about how good it should and can be. And then of course, when she became president, she encouraged me to continue to transform the student experience every day and she’s been a great supporter in that respect.”

What many will miss the most about President Hunter is her overall presence around campus. “She will leave behind a sense that the University of Maine is a real gem and that for students, it’s the most important place in the world. And that it’s a really valuable place for the state and the nation and really the world. She will leave a sense that it’s okay to be nice, and kind and open and I think she just gives a humanizing effect,” Dana said.

Dana and Hunter have worked together for decades. During that time, the two developed quite a very personal relationship with one another. “She and I have been working together for such a long time that we have sort of a very easy rapport, I would call it a friendship, so she knows what we’re trying to achieve with students, what are the upsides, downsides, and complexities,” Dana said. “So, you know, there becomes a certain easiness of communication that I’ll miss. I’ll miss her great sense of humor, her friendship, her compassion, and it’s always difficult with transitions because when you have people who love the place, it’s always difficult to see them step out. It’s really good to have somebody that loves the University of Maine. For somebody like myself who’s been here a long time and loves UMaine, it’s really great when you have a president that loves UMaine.”

“Fare thee well and happy trails and keep her eyes cast to the sun[, President Hunter.]”


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