News Items


Donn Receives the Michael P. O'Donnell Award for Excellence in Literacy - May 30, 2007


For Immediate Release

April 19, 2007

USM honors Donn Fendler,

author of Lost on a Mountain in Maine

and life-long advocate of children's literacy



On May 30, the University of Southern Maine (USM) Literacy Education program will honor Donn Fendler, whose 1939 story of survival of being lost for nine days on Mount Katahdin remains a family classic.

Fendler is a seasonal Maine resident. He times his annual return to and stay in Maine so he may visit Maine elementary schools to promote reading, inspire children to achieve great things, and share the story about his harrowing e xperience as a young boy lost in the Maine woods.

“Don is a tremendous role model for children,” said Professor Henry Amoroso, co-coordinator of USM's Literacy Education program. “In addition to surviving a terrible trial as a young boy,” Amoroso went on to say, “Fendler has dedicated his life to using his heroic celebrity to encourage youth to be active readers and authors of their own stories.”

“USM honors Mr. Fendler,” said Dean Betty Lou Whitford, “for his lifelong commitment to sharing his knowledge and experiences, and for encouraging young people to be readers.” She went on to say, “The world needs more role models that inspire children to love reading and writing.”

USM is bestowing upon Fendler the Michael P. O'Donnell Award for Excellence in Literacy.

O'Donnell is a USM Professor Emeritus and expert on developmental and content literacy. During his tenure at USM, O 'Donnell authored and coauthored several literacy textbooks including Becoming a Reader (Allyn and Bacon) and In the Know (New Readers Press). In addition to his scholarship, his most lasting contribution to the field was his creation and 34-year stewardship of USM's Summer Reading and Writing Workshop for literacy graduate students and Portland-area K-12 readers. So impressed by the Workshop, Mrs. Karen Baldacci visited last summer to read Blueberries For Sal to the K-12 participants.


MORE INFORMATION: C all Judie O'Malley of USM Public Affairs at 839-6402 or
Henry Amoroso 780-5198 and (O).






John Thurlow