Constance Carlson was a woman of firsts. She was the first woman to be honored as an outstanding professor at the University of Maine. She was the first woman to serve as president of a UM college. She was the first woman dean of Bangor Community College.
Now, the memory of Carlson, who died last year at age 81, is making it possible for others to be firsts. Earlier this year, Esther Nettles Rauch, an educator, was named the first Constance H. Carlson Distinguished Lecturer in Humanities at Husson College, where Carlson was a member of the board of trustees. And today, Tabitha King, the writer, will be awarded the first Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize, given by the Maine Humanities Council, of which Carlson was a founding member.
A council committee chose Tabitha King as the first recipient of the prize because of her work with literacy in the state. King, a former Maine Humanities Council board member appointed by Gov. Angus King, aided in extending the council's literacy work to more communities in Maine. She and her husband, Stephen, led the capital campaign for renovations to the Bangor Public Library last year, and she has served on boards for Maine Public Broadcasting and the University of Maine Press. Tabitha King has also written seven novels.
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