Dear MECA&D Community,

As we begin the new academic year together here at Maine College of Art & Design, I invite you to join me in extending a warm welcome to all of our incoming students and a great big “welcome back” to our returning students. This year, MECA&D’s undergraduate and graduate students come from 40 states and 5 countries outside of the U.S., students of color comprise almost a quarter of the incoming class, and 7% of new students identify as non-binary, gender-fluid, or "other." We are proud to welcome more and more students from diverse backgrounds and regions of the world.

Although the semester officially began this week, we have had a very active summer preparing for our students’ arrival and for the start of classes. Our efforts culminated last week with the launch of our new name (check out the media coverage in the Portland Press Herald and News Center Maine’s 207), followed by the arrival of our first-year and transfer students for our four-day orientation. With the return of our sophomores, juniors, and seniors and the start of our fall graduate programs this week, the campus is once again full of the energy and creativity that make Maine College of Art & Design such a unique and exciting community.

As I reflect on the previous academic year, I am so grateful to everyone in our community for coming together to create a safe and healthy arts oasis here last year. The commitment of all of our students, faculty, and staff to the College’s health and safety protocols enabled us to successfully offer in-person classes and activities with no COVID-19 outbreaks on campus. We are doing everything in our power to replicate the success of last year while moving towards more “normal” campus operations. We will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC and Maine health officials around COVID-19 and are prepared to respond with any updates to our policies and procedures needed to prioritize the safety and health of all MECA&D students, faculty, and staff.

To our students: This is a time to pause, enjoy the success that brought you here, and think about what is ahead of you. At MECA&D we are dedicated to giving you all the tools, space, and guidance you need to discipline your imagination. I encourage you to take advantage of the time you have together here, to get to know your classmates and residence hall neighbors, and to learn from one another. Most importantly, try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Many in our community may be still experiencing challenges created by this pandemic. We don’t know what family, financial, or medical stresses may be impacting members of our community outside of the classroom. Being kind and generous will be appreciated by all.

On behalf of the faculty and staff here at the College, I wish everyone in our MECA&D community a wonderful start to the fall semester. We look forward to continuing to share updates on all of the innovative work our students will be doing throughout the academic year.


All the best,

Laura Freid