Beyond Education

March 2014 News

Solar Energy for the Homeowner

WATERVILLE, March 2014 –Representatives from ReVision Energy, Maine’s leading solar energy installer, and Thomas College are happy to welcome the public to a solar workshop at the college on Saturday, March 22nd from 10am to 12pm.

The focus of this free workshop, to be held in the Spann Student Commons Summit Room, will be Solar Energy for the Homeowner. “Guests will have the opportunity to learn about grid-tied solar electric (photovoltaic) systems, solar hot water systems, heat pump technology for supplemental space heating and water heating, current historically low solar panel prices, financial incentives and loan programs, lowering utility bills, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and current solar technology in Maine,” Jennifer Albee, ReVision Energy contact.

The conversation, led by ReVision Energy branch manager John Luft, will also discuss the power purchase agreements (PPA’s) for institutions and non-profits, including the current PPA established between ReVision Energy and Thomas College. This agreement lead to the largest grid-tied solar system in Maine, which features nearly 700 solar electric panels. The $700,000 project was made possible through a special program with ReVision Energy that brought the project’s cost for Thomas College down to about $175,000. The 170-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array on the Alfond Athletic Center provides 11 percent of the college’s energy needs and not only pay for itself in 15 years but is projected to save Thomas more than $500,000 over its expected 35-plus year life span. “When we pay less for energy, students pay less for an education,” said Christopher Rhoda, vice president of information services at Thomas and oversees energy conservation on campus.

Thomas College President Laurie Lachance stated that the solar project is part of the college’s long term Strategic Energy Plan; “That plan seeks to provide Thomas College with diverse renewable energy sources that will lower long-term energy expenses and, keep tuition costs down.” Rhoda stated that, “Thomas uses a lot of oil, propane and electricity and always is looking at ways to reduce costs.” Diversifying energy sources is a way the college can reduce costs, as when the price of one sources goes up an alternative resource can be tapped.

"This is a great example of a non-profit partnership with a for-profit small business in Maine to lower costs, provide jobs, and help stimulate the local economy," said Rhoda. Guest of the event will have the opportunity to view the Athletic Center Solar PV, learn about the personal benefits to making the switch to solar power and talk to neighbors who have already made the switch.

For additional information, contact Jennifer Buker at or 207.859.1319.

Scholarship Recognition Day 

WATERVILLE, March 2014 – On Saturday, March 15, Thomas College will celebrate its prospective students’ hard work on Scholarship Recognition Day. President Laurie Lachance and the Thomas community invite prospective students who have received a merit award and their families to attend the event held in the Harold Alfond Athletic Center on campus staring at 9:00 a.m.

Nearly $1 million will be awarded to deserving students who demonstrated academic success and leadership in their application materials. The Admissions staff expects to see more than 500 people attend the on-campus event, including 137 prospective students. At 9:30 a.m., President Laurie Lachance will welcome the recipients of the merit award. At this time, a drawing for five additional, $1,000 scholarships will take place to get the event started.

Thomas College Provost Dr. Thomas Edwards will present “The Thomas Experience” at 9:45 a.m., in which he will profile individual Thomas students; will link their achievement with the Thomas College mission statement; and, will provide examples of student success, leadership, and service so prospective students and their families can see what those concepts look like in action. After Dr. Edwards’ presentation, the award ceremony is set to begin at 10:30 a.m.

Student introductions will include their name, hometown, and their high school activities and achievements. Dr. Edwards will shake each student’s hand while awarding individual scholarships in his full academic regalia. The ceremony will give students a glance into the future, as the event is designed to replicate where they will be standing four years from now at graduation.

Following the awards ceremony and the Scholar’s Luncheon, students and their families will be encouraged to explore the campus and meet with faculty, admissions counselors, coaches, financial aid staff, and to take a tour of the campus.

“Thomas recognizes student success both inside and outside the classroom. The Merit Scholarship Day is a great opportunity to highlight the talents and accomplishments incoming students bring with them to Thomas. We focus on the academic, professional, and personal success of our students. Scholarship Recognition Day is a great way to recognize the achievements of our new students and to encourage them to continue to be engaged at Thomas,” said Dr. Edwards. Thomas College is proud to honor merit scholarship winners and their families, and will be even more proud to see them graduate in 2018.

For additional information, contact Jennifer Buker at or 207.859.1319.

Connecting Students to the Workforce

Craig Larrabee
President and CEO of
Jobs for Maine's Graduates

WATERVILLE, March 2014 – The next Business Breakfast, presented by Thomas College and the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, will host Craig Larrabee, President and CEO of Jobs for Maine’s Graduates. Mr. Larrabee will speak to how collaborations between Maine’s public schools, Maine’s businesses and Jobs for Maine’s Graduates can better prepare students for 21st century jobs that are in demand here at home. The breakfast will be held on Thursday, March 13, from 7:15 – 9:00 a.m. in the Spann Student Commons Summit Room on Thomas College’s campus at 180 West River Road in Waterville.

Mr. Larrabee received his degree in secondary education at the University of Maine at Farmington. He has been with Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG) for 21 years, serving in positions of progressive responsibility. In 1993, Mr. Larrabee joined JMG as a job specialist, working first with students at Woodland High School and then at Belfast Area High School. Shortly after, he became the Regional Manager of JMG sites in the North and North Central Regions of Maine. Later, in 1999, Mr. Larrabee had been promoted to Director of Operations, having oversight over the entire field staff. In July of 2002, Mr. Larrabee was promoted to Executive Vice President until 2005 when he was again promoted; this time to JMG Board of Directors as President and CEO. In addition to his work at JMG, Mr. Larrabee is a member of the State Workforce Investment Board.

The Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce holds monthly informative presentations on a variety of educational business topics at Thomas College’s Spann Student Commons. The cost of the Business Breakfast is $15 for those members who register before the event and is $17 at the door. The general admission is $20 for the public. A hot breakfast is included with the reservation. To register, go online to or call 207.873.3315.

The sponsors for the Business Breakfast are AT&T; People’s United Bank; Higgins & Bolduc Insurance; Nicholson, Michaud & Company; O’Donnell, Lee, McCowan & Phillips, LLC; FairPoint Communications; and, the Morning Sentinel, a division of Maine Today Media, Inc.

For additional information, contact Jennifer Buker at or 207.859.1319.

Career Fair 2014

WATERVILLE, January 2014 – This year the Thomas College Career Fair will be held on Wednesday, March 12th from 10 am to 2 pm on campus in the Alfond Athletic Center Field House. During this event students will have the chance to meet with a diverse group of employers who are looking to hire Thomas College students from various majors. Potential job offerings range from summer, part-time, and full-time employment to internship opportunities. In addition, Graduate School representatives will be attending for those looking to pursue further education. With an expected 70 organizations attending the 2014 Career Fair, there is something for everyone “-from the first year student looking to practice networking skills, to the Accelerated MBA student looking for their first career position,” Diane Anderson, Assistant Director of Career Services at Thomas College

The Career fair is one of the most important annual events at Thomas College. Students and employers are able to establish a relationship in a truly unique atmosphere. In addition to the unique environment, many organizations attending this event have ties to Thomas College. Assistance Plus attendee, Joe Costello, stated, “Our CFO is an alumni of Thomas and we have employed other students and graduates of Thomas before. We see Thomas as a great resource to the community providing us with opportunities to visit campus to educate students and faculty about our services.” Other employers who have attended the fair for a number of years say that it’s the best career fair they attend each year because of the organization and attendees. Since the fair stated it has seen tremendous growth in the number of organizations attending compared to just five years ago.

The Career Fair is “a great way for company representatives to explain the benefits and culture of their organization, as well as specific expectations related to positions,” stated Diane Anderson. With this being said, many organizations will be returning for the fifth year in a row. Theses employers included Androscoggin Bank; Assistance Plus; Athenahealth, Inc.; Baker, Newman, Noyes; Bangor Police Department; Hollywood Casino & Raceway; Maine State Police; MAS Home Care of Maine; Portland Police Department; Providence Service Corp.; South Portland Police Department; and, Verizon Wireless.

Students can find helpful Career Fair tips and sample questions for employers on the Thomas College Website. These tips are meant to help student prepare for the event in advance and include help recommendations such as how to address an employer, “with a firm handshake and positive attitude,” and encourage students to be prepared to “share basic information about [themselves] and [their] career interests with a brief “30-second sound bite.” The sample questions are designed to effectively demonstrate that a student is interested in both the organization and the industry while keeping students focused on the important questions.

The Career Fair has a lot to offer all those who attend. Students may gain a better understanding of their career choices and be able to hit the ground running after graduation. “Employers benefit by being able to meet candidate’s face-to-face and collect resumes, while also promoting their organization’s current openings, future needs, and internship program if they have one,” says Diane Anderson. Thomas College is proud to hold this event because it provides yet another avenue for our students to make contacts and potentially establish a job during school or after graduation. We look forward to seeing you all there!

For additional information, contact Jennifer Buker at or 207.859.1319.

For more about this year's Career Fair please visit Career Services.

Thomas College. Beyond Education.