5.11.2019

Dr. Dad

Today my dad received the award of a lifetime--an honorary doctoral degree. He officially now holds an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree. I couldn't be more proud. It was a wonderful graduation ceremony, reception, and then a special family dinner.

Entrance--anticipation!

His new stole and diploma!

2 seconds of his time for a selfie!

Here's a summary:
Mr. P. Daniel Ladner was born in Presque Isle in 1937, the son of Fay and Viola Ladner, and graduated from Mapleton High School in 1955 as valedictorian and president of his graduating class. He went on to study band directing at Boston University, but, after a semester, transferred to Aroostook State Teachers College (now UMPI) and graduated as president of his class in 1959 with a degree in education. He served as a fifth grade teacher in Presque Isle for 10 years and as an English and public speaking teacher at Presque Isle High School for 15 years after that. During his time at the high school, he directed the high school chorus and drama club and helped found the Shipmates Playhouse. He later worked as the Director of the UMPI Upward Bound program for five years, and for 10 years as the director of the Caribou Performing Arts Center, where he produced numerous Broadway musicals while also teaching drama and speech for Caribou High School.

Throughout his career and since his retirement in 1999, Ladner has been highly involved in his community. Between 1973 and 1994, he served as a driving force with UMPI’s Pioneer Playhouse, performing, directing, and supporting the local theater group in presenting more than 80 productions on the Wieden Auditorium stage. He starred in countless plays on campus, including the Centennial Homecoming dinner theater production in 2003, and directed the first musical in which now-famous, Tony-nominated actor John Cariani starred. He is a founding member and the first president of the Presque Isle Community Players, established in 1989. Ladner has also served as a judge for many state drama festivals at the regional and state levels, as host of County Tele Quiz—a high school quiz show that aired on WAGM in the 1970s and 1980s, and as a judge in the United Way of Aroostook’s Northern Star competition.

Along the way, he has received numerous accolades. He was named a lifetime member of the New England Drama Council in 1987, the Citizen of the Year by the City of Presque Isle in 1988, the recipient of the Spirit of Caribou award in 1997, the recipient of the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the Maine Arts Sponsors Association, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Presque Isle Chamber of Commerce in 2004. He has twice received UMPI’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Maine Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association named him Choral Director of the Year.

He continues to serve as the director of the Caribou Choral Society, a position he has held since 1977, and as the organist and choir director at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Grant Memorial United Methodist Church, both in Presque Isle. He also has been an active member of the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. In addition, he has been a member of the Caribou Rotary Club since 2000, and has twice been named a Paul Harris Fellow, one of the most prestigious honors given by the international organization.

3 comments:

  1. Congratulations for your father!

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  2. That is fantastic! Congratulations to your father for the honor.

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  3. Yea! (And how nice for Mother's Day that Viola is mentioned.)

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