MACHIAS – For 28 years, from 1977 to 2005, Richard and Elsie Larson shared their business expertise with hundreds of students at the University of Maine at Machias.
Their sharing extended far beyond the classroom. During this time – and in the 16 years since associate professors of business administration retired – they have devoted a great deal of time, money and energy to their beloved school.
For example, each year since 2005, selected UMaine Machias students enrolled in a business-related program with a GPA of 3.2 have been awarded the Elsie A. and Richard C. Larson scholarship. Students with athletic and musical interests are preferred, reflecting Elsie Larson’s interest in music and Richard Larson’s love of athletics.
And the Larsons haven’t finished.
Years ago they made UMaine Machias the final beneficiary of their respective teacher insurance and pension accounts. While the funds can be used for any purpose, the Larsons said K-12 teacher training, business training, community health – including nursing training – and development of a student center on campus are particularly important to them.
And on September 27, the Larsons finalized a deed to transfer their home to the University of Maine Foundation. The couple will continue to pay property taxes and live in their house for as long as they want. When they decide to move, the Foundation will sell the house. And the net proceeds from this sale will be used for unlimited support for UMaine Machias.
Following Monday’s real estate shutdown, which had been in the works for a year, UMaine Machias hosted a donor appreciation reception in honor of Richard and Elsie Larson at the Merrill Library.
The Larsons say they have missed the students the most since retiring.
“We are proud of the success of former graduates, especially business students,” they say, noting that many have gone on to successful careers, including in banking, accounting, management, marketing, office management, leisure management, public administration, technology, teacher training and other related careers.
“We have benefited from the University of Maine at Machias. The road goes both ways. Everyone who works together for a common cause benefits the community.
Richard Larson’s background is in economics and he understands economies of scale. He is delighted that the University of Maine and UMaine Machias, which is a regional campus of UMaine, are collaborating to better benefit students and faculty from both campuses, as well as the two regions of the state.
“Elsie and Richard Larson are committed educators who have helped hundreds of students succeed and join the proud legacy of the University of Maine at Machias,” said UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. “They are also generous community builders who understand the value of public higher education.
“We are incredibly grateful to Elsie and Richard for their donations on behalf of our current and future students,” continued Ferrini-Mundy. “For years to come, their donations will support our service in the Down East region and the vital role our Machias campus plays in the University’s statewide mission of research and land grant. from Maine. ”
Jeff Mills, president and CEO of the University of Maine Foundation, says the Larsons have created a very important legacy for UMaine Machias. “We were very happy to facilitate the transfer of their beautiful property to the benefit of the regional campus of UMaine,” he says.
Richard Larson was president of the business division of UMM in 1984 when Jonathan Reisman joined UMaine Machias as an assistant professor.
“Rich and Elsie have always exemplified community service and commitment, especially through their commitment to music and athletics,” says Reisman, now associate professor of economics and public policy.
“When this young assistant professor bought an unfinished home in the wilderness on Cooper, Rich and Elsie were there in the midst of blackfly season to help us relocate. When my dad was at the Veterans House and later at Marshall’s Health Care, Rich and Elsie ran musical events and even brought him The Sunday New York Times when I couldn’t. Community service combined with ‘Minnesota nice.’ ”
The Larsons continue to be involved in the community where they have lived for almost 45 years. Elsie Larson plays organ and piano in area churches and during the debut at UMaine Machias. And after the donor reception in their honor on Monday, Richard Larson was scheduled to host the Town of Marshfield meeting.