Land donation expands horizons

Photo courtesy of Greg Gatlin

Photo courtesy of Greg Gatlin

Suffolk University has recently received a generous gift which will expand its horizons: the donation of spacious riverfront property on the Penobscot River in Passadumkeag, Maine.
The property, which spans more than 1,000 feet of the Penobscot River and consists of 86 acres of farmland and forest, will serve as an area for scientific research and other academic and professional activities, according to a statement from Suffolk.
Included with the property is a $3.5 million inland riverfront facility containing residential buildings and spaces for academic study that was developed in 2004, said the statement.
The gift, which provides a pristine location for wildlife exploration and other environmental and biological research, will supplement the scientific study taking place at the University’s other Maine location, the Friedman Field Station in Washington County, which has served the University for over 30 years .
“The very fact that we have this new property makes it even easier to make use of the R.S. Friedman Field Station,” said Dr. Walter Johnson, chairman of the physics department and physics professor.
According to Johnson, who believes the R.S. Friedman Field Station has been a terrific asset to the Physics Department, the new property will be advantageous because of its more convenient location.  While the R.S. Friedman Field Station is 335 miles away, one would only need to travel up route 95 to visit the new property, and the ocean site is along the way.
According to the statement, the location is perfect for wind, solar, water, and geothermal energy research.
Dr. Johnson hopes that an observatory will be put on the property for both astrophysicists and all who wish to visit.
“When we add this property to our already thriving coastal science facility in Maine, we are now in a position to offer our community the best of both worlds,” said Kenneth Greenberg, dean of the University’s college of arts and sciences, in the statement released by the University. “Everything that a great urban institution can provide supplemented by a rich rural environment for special programs in the sciences, the humanities, the social sciences and the arts.”
However, given the property’s size, it will provide countless other opportunities extending beyond scientific research, said the University.  The space could also prove to be a resource for retreats, workshops, seminars, and summer programs in a variety of other areas of study, including the fine arts, humanities, law, business, communication, and writing.
“It’s a really beautiful property,” said Dr. Carl L. Merill III, associate professor of biology and director of the R.S. Friedman Field Station. It would be a wonderful resource for us to take advantage of.”
“As an urban institution serving students of promise, we must afford our learning community opportunities to expand their horizons in the broadest range of educational, research and creative settings,” said Suffolk’s Acting President and Provost, Barry Brown, in a statement. “We are very grateful for this gift and the confidence that it demonstrates in our future.”
Suffolk University has not yet identified the donor.