On Thursday, June 23, Saint Joseph’s College hosted some of Maine’s most influential and visionary individuals for Shaping Maine, an event that brought leaders from across the state together for an evening of comradery and conversation. The concept for Shaping Maine arose after Jim Dlugos, president of the College, was named by Maine magazine in 2015 as one of 50 Mainers boldly leading the state forward. Inspired and humbled by the acknowledgement, President Dlugos saw an opportunity to invite all 200 past and present entrepreneurs, artists, educators, and visionaries selected by Maine since 2013 for their annual “50 Mainers” list to attend a special event at the recently renovated stone barn located on the College’s farm.

As a college and the only higher education institution in the Lakes Region, Saint Joseph’s aims to build a community that spans education, business, the arts, and government. “One of the challenges we’ve found is that people often don’t have the time to get together and talk about what’s going on,” said President Dlugos in a speech addressing the crowd. “When you gather like this, you discover all kinds of opportunities and synergies to truly multiply the good that can be done in the state of Maine.”

Other speakers included Maine Publisher Kevin Thomas, who addressed the importance of celebrating not just Maine’s vacation spots, but also its vibrant workforce. “People work really hard to come [to Maine], and really hard to stay here,” said Thomas. “We wanted to pay attention to the energy that was created from that intentionality, the intention of choosing to live here, not just for a job, but for a life. That became the magic behind Maine and Maine Home + Design, and what lead us to all of you, our 50 Mainers. You are creating and leading this state and I’m honored that you’re on our pages.”

In total, nearly 250 people came out to celebrate the Maine spirit. Guests recognized in the recently debuted 2016 list included Goodwill CEO Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, Andrea Cianchette Maker, attorney and co-chair of FocusMaine, Moody’s Collision Center President Shawn Moody, Shana Aldrich Ready, founder of ROPES Maine, Mark Curdo, radio host and director of marketing at Shipyard Brewing Company, and restaurateurs Arlin Smith, Mike Wiley, and Andrew Taylor of Big Tree Hospitality.

Honorees from the previous three lists were also in attendance, as were members of Maine and Saint Joseph’s, including the College’s Board of Trustees. Portland Press Herald journalist Bill Nemitz, a former adjunct faculty member to the College and a 2015 honoree, paid tribute to the legacies of the late Peter DeTroy (class of 2013), Leon Gorman (class of 2015), Tim Hussey (class of 2015), and Larry Pugh (class of 2013).

“On our list, we have people who are third grade teachers, who stand up in front of their classroom every day to teach their students, we have business leaders who lead their employees, we have presidents of colleges, we have chefs who are really bringing so much to their community,” said Maine Managing Editor Kelly Chase, listing off examples of the diversity present in the gathered crowd. “We’re so glad that what you love doing is making our state a better place.”

The evening included live instrumentals from the Abitare Project, art from Maine artists, and food donated by local vendors and prepared by the College’s own catering service. Dessert concluded the night with offerings from present and past “50 Mainers”: Wicked Whoopies (Amy Bouchard, class of 2014), Bixby Bars (Kate McAleer, class of 2016), and a Gifford’s ice-cream bar (Lindsay Skilling, class of 2016).

For select pictures of the event, visit our Flickr album: http://bit.ly/28RyjC7. (More available upon request.)