Unlike many other states in the United States, Maine does not have a governing authority that looks after all of the public colleges and universities in the state. Instead, the management of its public institutions is wrapped into the Maine Department of Education. The government of Maine feels that this encourages an educational process that begins in the early educational years and takes its students completely through what the state refers to as grade 16, or college graduation. There are 30 different colleges and universities, both private and public, within Maine.
The oldest university in Maine is Bowdoin College, which operates today as an elite liberal arts school. Bowdoin College was established near the end of the 18th century, and is located in Brunswick, Maine. It is a small school with an enrollment of about 1,700 students, and was an all male school for much of its existence. It became a co-educational college in 1971. The college provides its students with more than 30 different degree programs to choose from, and is nationally ranked as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country.
The University of Maine boasts the largest enrollment in the state, and also carries the flag of being the only research institution in Maine. The main campus is located in Orono, Maine, and was founded in 1865. It is a land-grant institution, and today there are five other campuses in addition to the Orono campus that are a part of the University of Maine system. Other campus locations include Augusta, Farmington, Fort Kent, Machias and Presque Isle. The school has five undergraduate colleges, and specializes in business programs, educational programs, public policy programs and natural sciences programs. The university is well known for its clinical psychology doctoral degree program, as it is one of only a handful of universities in the United States that offers this degree.
There are many prominent alumni from the different universities in Maine. Bowdoin College can boast the honor of producing a United States President, as President Franklin Pierce graduated from there in 1824. Another Bowdoin College alumni of note is Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote the famous novel "The Scarlet Letter." The University of Maine prides itself on many notable alumni figures, including those with more modern accomplishments. Steven King, the famed 21st century author, graduated from the University of Maine. Also, many reality TV stars came from this university as well, including Ashley Herbert, a cast member on The Bachelorette.