'Remarkable' gift creates Southern Maine Community College scholarship fund

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SOUTH PORTLAND — A former University of Southern Maine reference librarian’s generosity will make it easier for students to attend classes at Southern Maine Community College.

SMCC spokesman Clarke Canfield announced Tuesday that Franklin Talbot, a Portland resident who died last June 30, bequeathed more than $250,000 to the nonprofit SMCC Foundation.

The money will establish the Franklin Talbot Scholarship Fund, Canfield said in a news release. The gift is among the largest ever received at the college.

Michael Bourque, chairman of the foundation board of directors, called the donation a “remarkable gift” to future students.

“A gift of this magnitude can provide scholarships for several students in perpetuity,” Bourque, senior vice president for external affairs at Maine Employers’ Mutual Insurance Co. in Portland, said in the press release. “It’s a wonderful legacy to leave to our community. “

Talbot was not known to have any immediate family in Maine when he died at age 89, but Canfield said the college was among “many worthy causes related to education, music and organizations devoted to helping youth” to benefit from his generosity.

The SMCC Foundation, comprised of local business and community leaders, will administer the fund with the intent of awarding at least one annual scholarship to a Maine student, based on financial need.

“The generosity of Mr. Talbot will allow students to pursue their dreams and achieve success,” SMCC President Ronald Cantor said. “These funds will lessen the financial impact on students in need and reduce the amount of money they have to borrow.”

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.