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The Chamberlain Society

Joshua L. Chamberlain (1828-1914), the 32nd governor of Maine, was born in Brewer, Maine, on Sept. 8, 1828. Graduating from Bowdoin College in 1852, he had a successful career in education, teaching rhetoric and modern languages at Bowdoin College. Chamberlain came from a great line of warriors. His great-grandfathers served in the revolution, one of his grandfathers served in the War of 1812, and his own father served in the Aroostook Indian War. After receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor himself for his heroism during the Civil War, Chamberlain served as Major General of the state militia. In Sept. 1866, Chamberlain was elected Governor of Maine by the largest majority in the state’s history up to that time and would eventually be elected to four consecutive one-year terms. As governor of Maine, he helped establish what is now the University of Maine and paid close attention to the state's declining economy, attempting to draw in outside investments. He also addressed the problem of young Mainers leaving the state for better employment elsewhere. Referring to that, he said, “We have been too long content with the doubtful compliment that 'Maine is a good state to go from.' She must be made a good state to come to, and stay in.” After being elected for four terms, Chamberlain returned once again to Bowdoin College, where he was offered the position of College President in 1871. Chamberlain died in Portland in 1914 from complications of a wound he had sustained during the Civil War.

Joshua Chamberlain knew the value of education back in his time. That has not changed. Now, more than 150 years later, attaining education beyond high school is even more critical for all of us in Aroostook County. We want to influence change because research shows that first-generation college students are more likely than their counterparts to be less academically prepared for college; to possess less knowledge about how to apply to college and for financial assistance; and to have more difficulty adjusting to college once enrolled. They are more at risk for not completing a degree program because they are more likely to delay enrollment after high school, enroll part time, or work full time while enrolled.

Economically disadvantaged high school students are less likely to attend college and therefore less liable to find employment, and more likely to receive lower wages if they become employed. While lower educational attainment is associated with higher crime rates, increasing education levels translates into higher property values and greater local sales, as well as higher property, sales and business tax revenues. Studies show that a person with a college degree earns over $1 million more in his or her lifetime than a person with a high school diploma.

The Chamberlain Society recognizes individual and corporate philanthropic leaders and individuals throughout Maine who have given financial support to help our young people, our "treasures" in Aroostook, to lead a healthy, productive life right here in the county.

Join the Chamberlain Society

Your corporate involvement with the Aroostook Aspirations Initiative will provide needed financial help to our students. Become a PARTNER in our SUCCESS PLAN to stem outward migration and improve the county’s economy. Please click here to see membership categories and more!

Your individual involvement with the Aroostook Aspirations Initiative will provide our scholars with not only a scholarship, but also an experience in our Aroostook Aspirations weekend, summer internships and entrepreneurial training, as well as a steady hand in guidance and mentoring. Please click here to see membership categories and more!