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Donald E. Nicoll
Representative Barbara Mikulski has said that “leadership is creating a state of mind in others.” Through his quiet and persistent leadership in many different forums, Don Nicoll has opened the minds of Maine’s state and court officials and legal services staff to the many ways in which technology can served the cause of justice. The wiring of our public schools and libraries, the proliferation of web-based legal education tools, including interactive family law pleadings (some of which are recognized as national models), and proposals to the Legal Services Corporation to designate Maine as our country’s ‘model technology state,’ can all be traced to Don’s leadership with the Maine telecommunications Partnership Planning Project, the Dirigo Project and a variety of more informal collaborations.
A graduate of Colby College with a Master’s in History from Pennsylvania State University, Don Nicoll began his career as a journalist. After serving as staff to the Maine Democratic Party, Don moved to Washington as a top assistant first to Congressman (subsequently Judge) Frank M. Coffin and then to Senator Edmund S. Muskie. After serving as Director and CEO of the Joint Operations Committee of the Land Grant Universities of New England, Don served as coordinator and the Vice President for planning and public affairs at Maine Medical Center. His volunteer activities have impacted on government services, health services, higher education, international relations, and telecommunications. He received the USM Distinguished Service Award in 1998, which reads in part:
Don Nicoll’s life has been characterized by a continuing but often obtrusive engagement in our civic life. In both his professional career and through his extensive volunteer activities, Don has made a difference in ways that have had profound effects on our Maine community.
For helping make real his vision of universal access to the justice system via the Internet at public schools, libraries, and courthouses around the state of Maine, and for encouraging others to explore new ways to channel technology’s potential to serve the public good, Don Nicoll is the 2000 recipient of the Edmund S. Muskie Access to Justice Award.