The University of Maine at Augusta has earned the 2021-2022 Military Friendly® School designation by VIQTORY recognizing its exceptional service to veterans, military service members and their families.

“UMA is honored to receive this designation,” said UMA President Rebecca Wyke, according to a news release from the university. “Our faculty and staff are dedicated to providing a welcoming community for our military service members and veterans.”

UMA Graduation Challenge Coin — pre-pandemic photo. Photo courtesy of UMA

“We are very excited to receive this designation … recognizing UMA’s commitment to support our military service members and veterans, and their families,” said Amy Line, UMA director of Military and Veterans’ Services. “This has been a challenging year for everyone as we have responded to the pandemic. However, we have maintained the lines of communication and contacts with service members and their families through the use of virtual meetings and in-person contacts within the COVID-19 protocols.”

Institutions earning the Military Friendly® School designation are evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey completed by the school. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence (degree advancement or transfer) and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

More than 1,200 schools participated in the 2021-2022 survey with 747 earning the designation.

Earlier this year, UMA was also ranked by US News and World Report as Best Online Bachelor’s Degree for Veterans.

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New Dimensions Federal Credit Union welcomes new digital branch manager

WATERVILLE — Teresa Gagne, who began in the credit union industry as a teller more than 30 years ago, has been named the new digital branch manager at New Dimensions Federal Credit Union. She has worked her way up and has landed in the lending department, where her indirect lending expertise has been second to none over the past 25 years, according to a news release from the credit union.

Teresa Gagne Contributed photo

Gagne’s extensive experience will be valuable as she settles into her position. Her focal point will start in executing new processes and procedures that will create efficiencies departmentwide.

“I am really excited to be part of the New Dimensions family and to join a growing team of wonderful people. I have been in the credit union industry with a lot of focus and attention on dealerships. … I am also very excited to be able to assist the current indirect team so they can achieve success within their career paths,” said Gagne, according to the release.

Ryan Poulin, CEO, said, “We are excited to have Terri join our team. Her years of indirect loan experience will bring our loan department to new levels not only in-house but in the dealerships that work with us every day. Terri has hit the ground running since she started, and I look forward to getting her started with our current indirect lending processes and workflows. We welcome her and look forward to working with her in the years to come.”

Rachel Grignon joins Fontaine Family team

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Fontaine Family – The Real Estate Leader has announced the addition of Rachel Grignon to the team at its Auburn location.

Rachel Grignon Contributed photo

Grignon grew up in Wilton and attended Mount Blue High School in Farmington. She then continued her education at University of Maine, completing her studies with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Grignon resides in Sidney with her husband and dog named Bentley . They recently bought their first house together in April.

Grignon comes to Fontaine with her real estate sales agent license.

Waterville company recognized by Forbes

WATERVILLE — Golden Pond’s founder and managing director, Brian Bernatchez was recently named to Forbes’ Best-In-State Wealth Advisors list for the second consecutive year. According to Forbes, the annual list spotlights the nation’s top-performing advisors, evaluated based on a methodology developed by SHOOK Research and nominated by their affiliated firm. Advisors are also evaluated based on personal interviews, industry experience, revenue trends, a review of compliance records and a focus on those that encompass best practices in service to their clients.

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“On behalf of LPL Financial, we congratulate Golden Pond for being recognized on this year’s Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors list. This past year has demonstrated that strong financial advice cannot be underestimated, and that personalized financial advice is critical in helping clients work toward achieving their short- and long-term financial goals,” said Angela Xavier, LPL executive vice president, Independent Advisor Services, according to the release. Golden Pond Wealth Management is based in Waterville. They provide retirement planning and comprehensive wealth management to individuals and families, and investment and endowment management to nonprofit institutions.

Bernatchez is an independent advisor affiliated with LPL financial.

Two local animal shelters receive donations from Bangor Savings Bank

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of its Christmas kittens commercial, Bangor Savings Bank has donated $12,000 to 12 animal shelters and rescue organizations across Maine and New Hampshire. This past holiday season, the Bangor-based bank invited the public to nominate local humane societies and animal shelters for a chance to receive a donation and selected the recipients based on more than 2,000 online votes, according to a news release from the bank.

Among the 12 deserving nonprofits that received a $1,000 donation from Bangor Savings Bank is the Humane Society of Waterville Area, which shelters animals, educates the community about pet ownership and advocates for the humane treatment of all animals. With a current placement rate of 97.1%, HSWA has been a safe haven for animals in need since 1970. In addition to the Waterville area humane society, Franklin County Animal Shelter in Farmington also was a local recipient.

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All recipients of the funds had an opportunity to join the bank for a video chat to learn more about the good work they are doing across Maine and New Hampshire. Visit www.youtube.com to enjoy these conversations.

“Giving back to our local animal shelters is a wonderful way to celebrate our kitten stars, Waylon and Willie, and the commercial’s 40th anniversary,” said Bob Montgomery-Rice, president and CEO of the bank. “Our Christmas kitten commercial is a favorite holiday tradition for those who grew up in this region, so it was heartwarming to give our communities the opportunity of determining which shelters received donations.”

Additional recipients included Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, Bangor Humane Society, HART of Maine in Cumberland, Mainely Mutts in Kittery, PAWS Animal Adoption Center in Camden, Pope Memorial Humane Society in Thomaston, Responsible Pet Care in South Paris, Sato Heart Rescue in Milford, New Hampshire; The Animal Orphanage in Old Town, and Waiting Whiskers in Sherman.

For more business news, visit CentralMaine.com.