The former U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago,will deliver the commencement address during the University’s Commencement Ceremony this year.


University of Maine at Presque Isle President and Provost Ray Rice has announced that John L. Estrada, the former U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, will deliver the commencement address during the University’s 108th Commencement Ceremony, to be held on Saturday, May 13. During the event, an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree will be presented to Laurence A. Park, who is part of a long legacy of Park family members who have been integral in the life of the campus.

“We are honored to have John Estrada, a national leader who has served our country so well in military and diplomatic posts, and a dedicated proponent of civic responsibility, address our graduating class this year,” President Rice said. “We look forward to hearing the message he will share during our commencement exercises and hope it will inspire our graduates as they prepare for the next step in their journey. We are also very pleased to be honoring Larry Park for his contributions to the County, and to our campus in particular, by conferring upon him an honorary doctorate degree.”

Estrada immigrated to the U.S. in March 1970 and served 34 years of continuous active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps from September 1973 to October 2007, culminating in his last four years serving as the 15th Sergeant Major in the history of the Marine Corps, the highest enlisted rank. He is the recipient of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with three gold stars, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Estrada and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Cote Estrada, reside in Presque Isle with their twin daughters.

Laurence A. Park is a well-known farmer, conservationist, and local expert on the history of UMPI and Aroostook County. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he became a potato farmer, woodlot owner, and served as the Supervisor of the Central Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) for 30 years.

Park was the SWCD Conservation Farmer of the Year in 1973 and its Forest Landowner of the Year in 2003. He and his wife Edith received the Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year Award from the Maine Tree Farm Program in 2008. Their 100-acre woodlot has been a certified tree farm since 1982.


The University’s Commencement Exercises are scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, in Wieden Gymnasium. This year’s Commencement will be live streamed on the University’s website. Viewers can directly access the livestream starting at 12:30 p.m. on graduation day by visiting

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