Donald N. Zillman, former College of Maine at Presque Isle president and namesake of the College of Maine Artwork Museum in Bangor, died Thursday in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in response to Presque Isle campus officers.
He was 79 years outdated.
Zillman had an extended historical past of contributions to the College of Maine System, additionally serving the campuses in Orono and Fort Kent, and his group.
In Presque Isle, he and his spouse, Linda, established a analysis professorship in 2013 and gave the primary cash to start out the Zillman Household Greenhouse for the agricultural science program. However what native leaders bear in mind most is how a lot he cared about folks.
“He was the embodiment of a servant chief. I’ve by no means had this many individuals attain out on the lack of any person,” mentioned Ray Rice, College of Maine at Presque Isle president. “All of them say they’ve by no means identified anyone that was as beneficiant as Don Zillman was.”
Zillman led the campus from 2006 to 2012, coming in at a difficult time, Rice mentioned.
Rice was then president of the school union, and there have been tough dynamics between instructors and directors, he mentioned. Zillman had a chilled method of creating everybody really feel snug and on equal footing, and spent a variety of time in one-on-one conversations with folks, pledging his assist to make sure the steadiness and progress of the college.
He helped herald instructing employees who have been eager about analysis, but in addition about working with college students. His management led to a renaissance of scholarship and analysis, Rice mentioned.
Although he’s in awe of all of the scholarly work and writing Zillman did, it’s the day-to-day moments Rice will miss most.
“I bear in mind him strolling Matisse, the primary German shorthair [dog] they’d,” Rice mentioned. “I’d be using my bike tremendous early within the morning, and he’d be strolling his canine tremendous early. He was simply all the time any person that was round on campus.”
Zillman revealed 80 books and articles, was a Rotarian for many years and served on boards for the Maine Faculty of Science and Arithmetic, Leaders Encouraging Aroostook Growth and United Method of Aroostook.
An avid runner, he accomplished greater than 1,000 street races, in response to Presque Isle campus officers.
Zillman was dean of the College of Maine Faculty of Legislation from 1991 to 1998, interim provost and tutorial vice chairman on the College of Maine from 1999 to 2000, and interim president of the College of Maine at Fort Kent from 2001 to 2002.
He was Edward S. Godfrey Professor of Legislation at Maine Legislation from 1990 till his retirement in 2019, campus officers mentioned in a press release.
He and his spouse gave $1.3 million in 2020 to broaden the College of Maine Museum of Artwork in Bangor, and the power was named the Zillman Artwork Museum of their honor. In 2022, the Zillmans delivered the Presque Isle college’s graduation tackle and obtained honorary levels.
Simply after Zillman left Presque Isle, he and his spouse created the Donald and Linda Zillman Household Professorship to be awarded each two years to assist a Presque Isle school member with analysis and profession improvement.
Chunzeng Wang, professor of earth and environmental research, was the primary recipient in 2013. He discovered the lack of his colleague and benefactor tough to imagine.
“He influenced me a lot, and I’m certain different school members and members of the group,” Wang mentioned. “He actually cared a lot.”
Zillman was a scholar and revealed quite a few books and articles, and needed the school and college students to be concerned in scholarship, as nicely, Wang mentioned.
Wang began his geological mapping work with a worldwide positioning system machine and a printer. Although the finances didn’t embrace cash for the GPS, Zillman directed the college to purchase it, Wang mentioned.
The GIS lab opened in 2009, and Wang nonetheless remembers Zillman’s extensive smile on that day.
Shortly earlier than he died, Zillman and his spouse gave $32,000 to the GIS lab.
“In his final e-mail to me, he mentioned he was completely satisfied he might assist school to assist UMPI be extra seen to the remainder of the world,” Wang mentioned. “If school do nicely, so does the college, and if the college does nicely, it’s good for the group.”
Each Wang and Rice counseled Zillman’s group involvement, a lot of which occurred by his work with Rotary.
Sharon Campbell, previous president of the Presque Isle Rotary Membership, led the group when Zillman joined.
“At Rotary, we all the time attempt to encourage folks to return in and embrace the idea of Rotary: Is it true, is it truthful to all involved, does it construct goodwill and higher friendships and does it profit all,” she mentioned. “He got here to us dwelling these pillars. It wasn’t Rotary; it was Don.”
Zillman had an infectious smile and projected real look after folks, which is what Rotary strives for, Campbell mentioned. He was an individual to whom folks instantly gravitated, and he discovered pleasure in easy issues in addition to the extraordinary.
Although he was an distinctive author and speaker, Campbell mentioned she has by no means laughed out loud a lot as in certainly one of Zillman’s Rotary speeches. His humorousness and skill to inform a narrative actually got here by, she mentioned.
Even after he left Presque Isle, Zillman stored in contact with Rotary and other people within the space, she mentioned.
“It appeared like he left somewhat piece of himself right here in Maine and simply remained related,” Campbell mentioned. “I’m very unhappy to be taught that he’s gone. He was simply a type of folks that you just have been grateful you knew on this Earth.