A Voice From The Past Rings Out

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - May 10, 2006
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News Item: Someone using a cell phone number tracked back to former University of Hawaii president Evan Dobelle called the University of Maine, impersonating a reporter from “The Chronicle of Higher Education” and inquired about compensation for the departing chancellor of the Maine university system.

“Hi, is this the University of Maine?”

“Yes, administrative office.” “I’m a reporter. I was wondering what you pay.”

“Pay for what?”

“Well, like president or maybe chancellor. You know, something with, like, a seven or eight year contract with at least $500,000 a year, a really big expense account and, oh, yes, something that includes at least $7 per morning for doughnuts for staff meetings.”

“Sir, I’m not sure I understand. Are you asking for a newspaper article or do you want to apply for the job?”

“Apply for the job? (laugh is heard.) Surely you jest. I’m just a reporter making $300,000 a year and wondering if I’m underpaid. Do you pay for golf lessons for the son of the UM president or chancellor?”

“I don’t think that’s ever come up, sir. Would you like to speak to the head of our compensation committee?”

“Oh, no, no, no. I’m just an inquiring reporter. Not a candidate for the job. Oh, no. Heh, heh. I was just wondering if the UM pays better than the University of Hawaii does and gives better severance terms.”

“I can’t answer that, sir. Can I transfer you to either our selection committee or our board of regents?”

“Well, given those druthers, I’ll take the selection committee. The last one I encountered in Hawaii had a bunch of easy pickings ... I mean the UH has a bunch of nice, nice people and I was wondering about yours.”

“The selection committee is out of town, sir, doing on-site investigations of each candidate for UM president. Can I connect you with the Board of Regents?”

“Board of Regents? Sure. Any women bank executives on it I can con ... I mean talk to about the position ... I mean their UM position?”

“Hold on, sir, I’ll transfer you to the Bank of Maine.”

“Hello, Bank of Maine.” “I’m a reporter on education issues. Can I speak to your UM regent-executive?”

(PAUSE) “Lilly Acadia speaking.”

“It’s me.”

“Oh m’god, Evan?”

“Well, yes, but actually I’m George from Education Weekly magazine if anyone asks.”

“But why?”

“Lillian, can you imagine a life as a nobody with the New England Education Society while that business creep Dave McClain runs the University of Hawaii? I mean, I was meant to run Hawaii, and I don’t mean just the university.”

“Oh, Evan ... I mean, George, what would you do here at the University of Maine?”

“Lillian, I’ve always wanted to live in Orono along the banks of the Stillwater River, wherever that is. I envision changing Orono into a great college town, dumping old structures, changing the traffic lights, and raising at least $150 million my first year for a new medical school.”

“We have a medical school, Evan.”

“Yes, but you don’t have one atop Mount Kadahdin at 5,270 feet. I got one built where one never belonged, at sea level at Kakaako, which should have been totally a park.”

“Evan, you’re a miracle.” “That’s true. That’s true. And handsome.”

“So, you’re applying to Maine?”

“Maine needs me. Hawaii needed me but never quite understood how much it needed me. Mazie would have known. I’ll send you a one-page summary of my plan to redo the state of Maine and its university.”

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