College of the Atlantic gets $1 million gift

Posted Jan. 14, 2011, at 3:45 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:52 a.m.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — A 1984 graduate of the school and a current trustee has given College of the Atlantic its largest-ever gift from a former student.

Jay McNally has pledged to give $1 million to the college’s endowment, COA officials announced Friday.

McNally is the founder of Ibis Consulting, an electronic data analytics company that assisted in the investigation of Arthur Andersen LLC’s role in the Enron fraud case, COA officials indicated Friday in a prepared statement about the $1 million gift. McNally sold Ibis Consulting in 2006.

“College of the Atlantic had a profound impact on me,” McNally indicated in the statement. “A lot of my personal style was inherited from my experience here. It led to the way I managed people and interacted with them.”

McNally added that he and his wife believe donating the money to COA would be a good way to make sure their philanthropy benefits “people who will go on to do good in the world.”

Andy Griffiths, COA’s interim president, said McNally’s gift is a powerful endorsement of the college’s approach to education.

“We can’t thank Jay enough for all that he has done and continues to do for the college,” Griffiths said.

McNally, who lives in Bar Harbor, has served on the COA’s board of trustees since 2002 and has helped teach the school’s Sustainable Business Program, which he also helped to create.

It is the second large gift the school has received in as many months. In December, an anonymous donor gave COA $2 million to also put toward its endowment.

The school also has received significant gifts of land in the past year, including 117 acres of farmland from David Rockefeller Sr. and, more recently, 101 acres of forestland from Tom Cox, who like McNally is a COA trustee.

Founded in 1969, COA is known internationally for its environmental stewardship and emphasis on experiential education, according to school officials. It now has 360 students, 12 of whom are graduate students, who all are pursuing degrees in human ecology.

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