SMCC names South Portland pier for benefactor Grondin

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Southern Maine Community College named its campus pier in honor of the late Philip H. Grondin Sr. and the Grondin family’s longtime contributions to SMCC and the Maine Community College System.

The Grondin Memorial Pier was dedicated Aug. 9 in a ceremony attended by more than 80 people, including members of the Grondin family, friends, college and system employees, and supporters, according to a press release from the college. 

The pier was built between 2004 and 2006 under the leadership of Grondin, co-founder of Grondin Construction. Friends and supporters were instrumental in razing the old pier and raising money and building a modern replacement, said the release. 

The original campus pier was built in the mid-1800s and was simply known as the SMCC pier. In the early 2000s, it fell into disrepair and was no longer functioning as a learning platform for SMCC’s Marine Science academic program.

Grondin approached SMCC officials and spearheaded the effort to replace the pier. Through his initiative and the support of others who provided their time and expertise, the old pier was torn down and replaced.

SMCC’s Marine Science program keeps a vessel at the pier for students to perform ocean research. It’s also open to the public and used by other organizations and agencies for research purposes.

Besides leading the pier replacement project, Grondin founded the Sturdivant Island Tuna Tournament in 1998. Through the years, he helped grow it into the premier tuna-fishing contest in northern New England while raising over $1 million for Maine’s community colleges and other worthy causes. 

Grondin’s wife, Bette Grondin, said in the release that her late husband was committed to SMCC and Maine’s community colleges. 

“It’s an honor to have the Grondin name on the pier,” she said. “Phil always went out of his way to do what he could to help, whether it was raising money for scholarships or helping rebuild the pier. He always felt that kids who want to go to college should be able to go, that people who go to college go places.”

Bette Grondin, right, wife of the late Philip H. Grondin Sr., with their children, from left, Michelle Raber, Frank Grondin, Phil Grondin Jr. and Larry Grondin, at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland.