By: Eddie L. Beard, Psychology Student
As one of the leaders against the merger between the University of Maine at Portland and Gorham State Teachers College, I saw in dismay that you think the merger happened in 1978. The actual merger occurred at the beginning of the 1971-1972 school year. And it was not between Portland University and Gorham Academy. It was between UMP and GSTC. The only thing that changed in 1978 was a name change to the University of Southern Maine.
We spent the previous year before the merger speaking at the University of Maine Board of Trustee meetings trying to stop the merger. Many faculty and students alike on both campuses did not want to see a teacher’s college integrated with a university but the merger went through despite our efforts.
As a student senator and as founder and editor-in-chief of the UMP Viking, UMPG Viking, and once we took over the entire student newspaper world on both campuses we became the UMPG Viking- Observer. The next year the Free Press was born. Online copies of most of the issues of the Viking are available on the Glickman Library website.
Tuition at Gorham when I matriculated at UMP in 1968 was fifty dollars a semester and at UMP it was two hundred dollars a semester. Luckily with the GI Bill I was able to afford to go to school here. Most of our meetings with the Trustees were over trying to prevent tuition hikes so future poor kids could afford to go to this University.
I am currently taking a couple of courses here to complete my Bachelor of Arts requirements after being absent for over half a century. I only write this because those who were involved in the real merger should not be lost to history.