The Franco Center in Lewiston has selected Mitchell Clyde Thomas of Durham to be its new Executive Director. Thomas will join the Center’s staff as the third director in its 14-year history. He replaces Louis Morin, who suffered a severe stroke in March. Board Chairman and Interim Executive Director Raymond Lagueux made the announcement last week on behalf of the Board of Directors.
Thomas is currently on the staff of Chapman House in Auburn and previously served 14 years as Communications Director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine. He is also an adjunct professor in the Humanities and Social Sciences Departments of Central Maine Community College and the choir director and organist of Calvary United Methodist Church in Lewiston. His prior experience includes working for March of Dimes, Mt. Blue Publishing (as editor of The Livermore Falls Advertiser), and the University of Maine at Farmington, where he served as Alumni Director.
A vocalist, pianist and composer, Thomas may be best known as a volunteer actor, director and public relations officer at Lewiston-Auburn’s Community Little Theatre, an organization with which he has been involved for 30 years. He also served for more than 25 years as a board member and volunteer historic interpreter at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore. A native of Jay, Thomas holds an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Maine at Farmington and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Maine.
“We are very pleased to welcome Mitch to lead our Franco Center team as we continue to do the great work of providing quality entertainment, educational and cultural events, and a world class multi-purpose venue for people throughout the region,” said Lagueux, who has been at the Center’s helm for the past several months. “He will be joining our excellent staff who, along with the board of directors, will continue the task of raising funds for the restoration of the original building and hosting a diverse offering of events.”
The Franco Center mission is to preserve Franco-American heritage, to celebrate the performing arts and to welcome the cultures of our neighbors. It was founded in 2000 as the Franco-American Heritage Center at St. Mary’s. It is a non-profit organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Center is housed in the former St. Mary’s Church at 46 Cedar Street in Lewiston, by the canal and landmark Simard-Payne Park in an area known as The Riverfront and the worker neighborhood known as Le Petit Canada.
To learn more about the Franco Center, see www.francocenter.org.