BIDDEFORD — The University of New England will receive a donation of more than $1 million to grow business and innovation programs.

UNE is receiving $1.3 million from the P.D. Merrill Charitable Trust. The university says the gift will help create the P.D. Merrill Endowed Chair of Business, and it will conduct a nationwide search for someone to head up its business department.

The Biddeford university says the money will also aid its Makerspace, which is a laboratory for building that’s utilized by students from different academic disciplines. University of New England President James Herbert says the gift will “allow us to establish our business department as a regional leader.”

P.D. Merrill Charitable Trust trustee Anthony Tenneson says educational institutions like the university were “family” to P.D. Merrill, who was chair of Merrill Industries.

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