University of Maine at Fort Kent
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Fellow Inductees
photo of James Elias
James at a Glance
Year of Graduation: 1974
Degree: Associate of Arts degree and Bachelor of Science in Social Science (1976)
Hometown: Madison, Maine
Year Inducted: 2017

James Elias is a Madison, Maine native who enrolled at UMFK in 1972. He earned an Associate of Arts degree in 1974 and a Bachelor of Science in Social Science in 1976.

James served a captain for the Bengal men’s basketball team and was a NAIA District 5 All-Conference selection. Included among Elias' awards were Most Improved Player his freshman year and Most Valuable Player sophomore, junior, and senior years. He was a 1,000-point scorer.

Elias was chosen Northeast College Conference 1st Team All-Conference selection and All-Maine 2nd team. He also set a University record at the time of most rebounds in a single game at 39.

After graduation, James was elected to the Maine State House of Representatives from 1976 to 1980 and served as Speaker Pro Tempore. He even made time to be involved in summer coaching at Thomas College and Colby College. James also coached basketball at various levels in his home town of Madison. In 1977, he was named Outstanding Young Man of America.

After his political career, he began work at UMFK as its athletic director from 1980-1984. During that time, he served as the Bengal men’s head basketball coach, residential life director, and physical education instructor. James provided vital leadership to the University and the administration during a particularly difficult time during its history. At UMFK, students referred him as “Gentleman Jim.”

James has owned and operated Elias Monuments in Madison since he left the University back in 1984 and actually had established the business in 1978.

His hobbies are most outdoor activities, reading, and travel.

James resides in Madison with his wife, Kelley. The couple have a son who is an alumnus of UMFK, Thomas J. Elias (27), and a daughter, Bronte C. Elias (20), a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire.