University of Maine at Fort Kent

Coordinates: 47°15′0″N 68°35′15″W / 47.25000°N 68.58750°W / 47.25000; -68.58750
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University of Maine at Fort Kent
Université du Maine à Fort Kent
UMFK Seal.png
Former name
Madawaska Training School (1878-1955)
Fort Kent Normal School (1955-1961)
Fort Kent State Teachers College (1961-1966)
Fort Kent State College (1966-1971)
TypePublic college
Established1878; 145 years ago (1878)
Parent institution
University of Maine System
PresidentDeborah Hedeen[1]
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States

47°15′0″N 68°35′15″W / 47.25000°N 68.58750°W / 47.25000; -68.58750
CampusRural, 54 acres (22 ha)
Colors  Green
Sporting affiliations
MascotBengal tiger Edit this at Wikidata
University of Maine at Fort Kent

The University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMaine Fort Kent or UMFK; French: Université du Maine à Fort Kent) is a public college in Fort Kent, Maine. It is the northernmost campus of the University of Maine System. It is an academic center for Acadian and French American culture and heritage, and French-speaking Mainers from throughout the state. It currently has an enrollment of 1,557 students.[2] The Saint John Valley region is a center of French American culture, and the majority of adults in the region are bilingual in French and English.[3]

The college offers academic programs leading to associate and bachelor's degrees.[4] It is classified among "Baccalaureate Colleges - General".[2]


On February 21, 1878, Governor Selden Connor signed an act establishing a teachers' school in the northern border region of the state (then known as the Madawaska territory) in an effort to Americanize the French settlers of the area.[5] This became known as the Madawaska Training School. The institution held its first classes on September 30, 1878.[2]

In 1955 the name was changed to "Fort Kent Normal School" to more accurately reflect its location. The name would change three more times, beginning in 1961 to become "Fort Kent State Teachers College" and then "Fort Kent State College". The institution adopted its current name in 1970.[5]

Fiddlers Jamboree[edit]

UMFK hosts an annual Fiddlers Jamboree where fiddlers, guitarists, banjo pickers, drummers and accordion players from both Canada and the United States perform.[6][7]


The college offers several academic programs including 4 Associate of Science degrees, 1 Bachelor of Arts, and 14 Bachelor of Science degrees. The highest enrollments are in Nursing, Business Management, and Behavioral Sciences.[4]

Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes[edit]

The Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes are located at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. The Archives secured state funding in 1989 and officially opened the following year. They are entrusted with providing representation to a culture that is distinct from Franco-American communities in other areas of Maine. In 2004, during the tenure of Lisa Ornstein, the founding director, the Archives moved to larger premises on the UMFK campus. This is the only research center dedicated specifically to the Acadian story in the U.S. Northeast.[8][9]

The Archives document the language, culture, and history of the borderland communities of the Upper St. John Valley as well as a larger, transnational Acadian story. Collections include an array of English- and French-language manuscript materials kept in a climate-controlled space: rare newspapers like the Journal du Madawaska, nineteenth-century maps, scrapbooks, the ledgers and corporate documents of local businesses, songbooks, diaries, and more than 20,000 photographs. The oldest item is a seventeenth-century commission awarded to Charles de Saint-Etienne de la Tour for the colonization of Acadia by Louis XIV. The Archives are also a genealogical research center.[10]

The Archives work with local historical societies to digitize and disseminate resources. The center also hosts thematic exhibits in its gallery and organizes cultural events, including book launches, educational activities for K-12 students, oral interviews, and an annual lecture series.


The Maine–Fort Kent (UMFK) athletic teams are called the Bengals. The college is a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA), primarily competing as an Independent since the 2011–12 academic year.[11] The Bengals previously participated in the Sunrise Athletic Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) from 2002–03 to 2010–11.[12]

UMFK competes in seven intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include basketball, soccer and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, soccer, track & field and volleyball. UMFK also has a number of intramural teams.[13]


The varsity men's soccer team won the USCAA National Championship in 2010 and 2015. It was runner up at the 2013 and 2014 tournaments. The varsity "Lady Bengals " women's soccer team won the USCAA National Championship in 2010 and 2011, and then every year from 2013 to 2017, and again in 2019. The UMFK women's soccer team also finished as the runner-up in the 2012 USCAA National Championship Tournament. Professional soccer players Matt Dunn (who plays for New York City FC) and Kimika Forbes (goalie for the Trinidad & Tobago women's national team) are UMFK alumni.


In 2002, UMFK signed an agreement with the United States Biathlon Association allowing the USBA to nominate up to five biathletes for a UMFK scholarship program which allows them to attend the university at the Maine in-state tuition rate and gives them access to the university's training facilities. The agreement was also aimed at training possible Olympic contestants at the university.[14]

UMFK also assists with the organization of Biathlon events hosted at the nearby 10th Mountain Ski Center such as the 2005,[15] and upcoming 2009 IBU Biathlon World Cup, March 12–15, 2009, the only U.S. venue on the IBU’s 2008/09 schedule. The 2009 event is expected to host nearly 300 world-class athletes and coaches, draw hundreds of spectators to the Saint John Valley, and capture a worldwide television audience for the three-day competition.[16]

Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Race[edit]

UMFK promotes new learning experiences, such as when members of the UMFK men’s soccer team from Jamaica, Trinidad, and South Africa volunteered at the start of the Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Race in March 2009. For many of the players, it was the first time they had ever seen snow, a sled dog, or a competitive distance race.[17]

Notable people[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dr. Deborah Hedeen Named President / Provost of the University of Maine at Fort Kent". (Press release). March 24, 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Quick Facts." University of Maine at Fort Kent. Retrieved on November 18, 2011.
  3. ^ "French" University of Maine at Fort Kent.
  4. ^ a b "Academic Programs." University of Maine at Fort Kent. Retrieved on November 18, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "History of the University." University of Maine at Fort Kent.
  6. ^ Bayly, Julia. “Hundreds flock to fiddle jamboree”, Bangor Daily News. February 22, 2009. Accessed 2009-03-07.
  7. ^ "Acadian Archives". UMFK. Retrieved March 7, 2009.
  8. ^ Ornstein, Lisa (2004). "Les Archives acadiennes à l'Université du Maine à Fort-Kent". Rabaska. 2: 325-327.
  9. ^ Ornstein, Lisa; Thériault, Gisèle (2006). "Archives acadiennes à l'Université du Maine à Fort-Kent". Rabaska. 4: 246-249.
  10. ^ "Acadian Archives: About Us". University of Maine at Fort Kent. Retrieved 12 May 2023.
  11. ^ Mahoney, Larry (June 17, 2011). "UMFK, UMPI, UMM leave NAIA for new association". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  12. ^ "Sunrise Conference - Members". 11 April 2010. Archived from the original on 11 April 2010. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Athletics." University of Maine at Fort Kent.
  14. ^ "UMFK and U.S. Biathlon Association sign letter of understanding that will benefit student athletes" (press release) (December 11, 2002). University of Maine at Fort Kent.
  15. ^ "Upcoming 'Festival at Fort Kent' and U.S. Olympic biathlon team trials topic of UMFK community breakfast." Press release, (November 15, 2005), UMFK. Accessed 2009-03-06.
  16. ^ "UMFK Professor, Foundation Director, to lead trip to Italy for World Cup biathlon event." Press release, (January 11, 2008), UMFK. Accessed 2009-03-07.
  17. ^ Bayly, Julia. “Can-Am sled dog race creates new fans among volunteers: UMFK athletes from tropical climes lend a hand.” Bangor Daily News. March 1, 2009. Accessed 2009-03-07.

External links[edit]