ORONO, Maine -- On Saturday, May 10, the University of Maine
will hold its commencement where 85 Black Bear student-athletes
will receive their degrees. Below are student-athlete thoughts as
they reflect on their time at the University of Maine.
“Through my life I will be referred to as many different titles, but the title of a Black Bear student-athlete is one I will hold close to my heart forever. It has been an honor and privilege to wear a Black Bear uniform for four years because of the passion and tradition that runs deep within the Black Bear community. The relationships and memories I have developed over the last four years are not that of just a hockey team or athletic department, but rather that of a family. A family I will always take great pride in being apart of.” -- Brice O’Connor, Men’s Ice Hockey
“Putting on the Maine Black Bear jersey for the last four years has been one of the greatest honors. The support I have received from the community, the faculty, my coaches, teammates and parents has helped me grow tremendously. The memories I have made wearing the double blue along side my teammates are ones that I hold very close to my heart and will remember for the rest of my life. Being a student-athlete has put me in a great position to succeed moving forward due to the lessons that I have learned. The past four years as a Black Bear have taught me to never back down from a challenge and to fight until the very end.” -- Maggie Malone, Women’s Soccer.
“I chose to become dedicated to a few of the many things the University of Maine has to offer --the main one being athletics. My cross country and track & field teammates have grown into a family that will not be separated, no matter where we choose to spend our lives. We will always remember each other and our moments of struggles and glory. We will look back on this transformation with fond memories and know that wherever we go, love and support will not be far away.” -- Kelton Cullenberg, Men’s Cross Country and Track and Field.
“The past four years here at the University of Maine have been undoubtedly the best four years of my life. Because of this amazing opportunity I’ve had to come and play baseball here, I will be heading home not only with a degree, but with memories and friendships that I will cherish for a lifetime. I am both lucky and honored to be a part of the Black Bear community, a community that I now know is like no other. Even when I hang up the cleats, I will forever be a Maine Black Bear, and I’ll always be proud of that and wear it on my sleeve.” -- Troy Black, Baseball
“Coming to the university of Maine was a dream. Not only was it the toughest four years of my life, but it was also the most influential period of time in my life so far. Being here allowed me to compete at the level I always wanted to play and also let me meet people that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Thank you to everyone who gave me the opportunity of a lifetime, to live out my life long dream of playing college basketball for the University of Maine.” -- Ashleigh Roberts, Women’s Basketball
"Over my time here at the University of Maine I've realized a
few things that will help me out in the long run. First you get out
of something what you put into it. Second, perseverance, dedication
and sacrifice are the keys to success. And lastly the bonds that
you make over the many years can turn someone that you didn't know
into a member of your family...your Black Bear family. I am blessed
to have had the opportunity to be a UMaine Black Bear." -- Tyler
“My last five years here at the University of Maine have been some of the best years of my life. It has been such an honor to represent the school, putting on the Maine jersey, and calling myself a Black Bear. I have grown up so much and have learned many life lessons being a student-athlete here at UMaine. The memories I take away with me will forever stay with me. My teammates, coaches and all the support staff have made this experience unforgettable. Once a Black Bear, always a Black Bear. BLEED BLUE.” -- Brianne Kilgour, Women’s Ice Hockey
“Looking back on my time here at Maine brings back a multitude of emotion. My first report date as a freshman was something I will never forget. I was so nervous yet excited beyond all belief. Putting on the uniform for the first time was an unforgettable experience. Through the good and the bad, as time went on I cherished each moment more and more. The first start that I earned brought along with it a tremendous sense of pride. Being a member of this team and being able to represent my home state while seeing all my hard work pay off meant more than I could express. I learned a great deal about myself throughout my four years here, and I also made some life-long friends along the way. The best memories I have of college were created while wearing that field hockey jersey, and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to compete at the Division I level.” -- Kaitlynn Stymiest, Field Hockey
“This group of senior teammates who I can also call my lifelong best friends are some of the most hard working, focused and persevering group of athletes on this campus. Its inspiring and an honor to be right there with them and witness some of great achievements made that when we were freshman seemed untouchable. We are graduating a lot of talented individuals and their work ethic and positive attitude will leave this program with potential and also make these seniors successful in whatever they do after graduation.” - Jessica McCarthy, Women’s Track and Field
“Being a member of the swim team for the past four years at the University of Maine has given me great pride in representing my hometown, competing at a collegiate Division I level as well as giving me the opportunity to develop lifelong friendships. Forever a Black Bear.” -- Lauren Dwyer, Women’s Swimming and Diving
"My time at UMaine was a great experience. Playing football with my Black Bear brothers and having successful seasons will never be forgotten. Being able to earn two Bachelor Degrees is more than I can ask for. I'm grateful for my time at UMaine and being a part of Black Bear Nation." -- Jamal Clay, Football
"Being a student here at UMaine has been an amazing experience that has only been bettered by the honor of wearing the Black Bear logo with pride and competing as an athlete. The commitment to excellence that has been demonstrated by all of the staff and student athletes is inspiring and has provided me the drive and motivation necessary to achieve high goals and standards. It is expected that each one of us hold ourselves and our peers responsible for upholding these standards, and this what makes UMaine great! The family that I have found in the Back Bear community is one I will never forget! Bleed Blue!" -- Kayla Kaluzny, Women's Ice Hockey
“Looking back on the last four years that I’ve spent here, I cannot help but realize how much I have grown as an individual. My time here has not only given life to my dreams of playing Division I softball, but has also granted me with an array of esteemed academic opportunities along with lifelong friendships. However, the most valuable lesson I have learned from my time here is that your dreams and aspirations are too important to give up on. As I prepare to begin the next phase of my life, I cannot help but feel blessed for everything that I have learned and I know that no matter where life leads me, the University of Maine will always be a part of me.” -- Dagmar Ralphs, Softball