AUGUSTA, Maine — The University of Maine system says it has received a $7.5 million grant to support changes to its graduate professional studies programs.

The grant funds a new initiative to create the Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies which will tie law, business and public service programs.

The Harold Alfond Foundation says it’s the largest private gift to an initiative involving the system’s campuses. The foundation has awarded a total $9.25 million with the challenge of raising an additional $7.5 million from other sources.

The idea involves combining the MBA programs at the University of Maine and the University of Southern Maine.

The Maine Center will also feature a program focusing on externships, executive education and incubator programs.

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