The director of operations for a project management company in the nuclear industry, a retired U.S. Army sergeant and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author will speak at graduations at three central Maine institutes of higher learning next month.

Elizabeth Strout. University of Maine at Farmington.

Elizabeth Strout, winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in fiction for her book “Olive Kitteridge,” will speak at the University of Maine at Farmington’s graduation on Saturday, May 11, at 10:30 a.m., the university announced Monday.

“Elizabeth Strout’s extraordinary career has its roots in a deeply abiding sense of Maine’s unique spirit,” said Eric Brown, UMF interim president, in a news release.

“Her writing is authentic, unabashed in its rendering of the full range of human experience, from the troubled to the triumphant, and a wonderful example of the power of story in shaping life’s meaning.  We are thrilled to have her address our 2019 graduating class.”

Strout was born in Portland and raised in small towns in Maine and New Hampshire, according to the release.

She is also the author of “Anything Is Possible,” her most recent book and winner of The Story Prize; “The Burgess Boys,” named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post and NPR; “Abide with Me,” a national bestseller; and “Amy and Isabelle,” winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize.

UMF’s graduation will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 11, behind the Olsen Student Center and is open to the public.

Todd Smith. Thomas College.

At Thomas College, Todd Smith, president of TSSD Services, an Oakland-based project management company specializing in the nuclear industry, will be the commencement speaker.

Smith, who graduated from Thomas with a B.S. in Accounting in 1992 and an M.B.A. degree in 1999, has been a Thomas College Board of Trustee member since 2004, and became co-chair of the board in 2010.

According to the college, his leadership and philanthropy helped lead to program and scholarship expansion and facility expansion including the construction of the Harold Alfond Academic Center, the Kennebec Savings Turf Field Complex and the Henry and Ellen Hinman Residence Hall.

The ceremony will take place Saturday, May 11, at 1 p.m. in the Alfond Athletic Center at Thomas.

Retired United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills will deliver the commencement speech at Unity College.

Travis Mills.

In April 2012, Mills was critically injured on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan by an IED while on patrol, losing portions of both legs and both arms.

He is one of only five quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive his injuries.

He has since started the Travis Mills Foundation, and has a New York Times bestselling memoir, “Tough as They Come.”

The ceremony will be held Saturday, May 11, starting at 11 a.m. in Tozier Gymnasium.

Colby College’s commencement is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 26, on the Miller Library Lawn. A speaker has not yet been announced.


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