November 23, 2017
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COA commencement on June 7

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BAR HARBOR, Maine — College of the Atlantic will holds its 2014 commencement ceremonies at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 7, on the North Lawn of the college campus. Seventy-six students from 15 nations and 20 states comprise the graduating class.

Economists, biologists, botanists, musicians, educators, entrepreneurs, writers, artists, designers, scientists, public policy analysts, and organic farmers are among the candidates for a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Philosophy in COA’s one major, Human Ecology.

 The keynote address will be given by Mary Harney ’96 who was born and raised in Cork, Ireland. She moved to London when she was seventeen and worked for twenty years for the London Fire Brigade as an emergency dispatcher. At age 43, she enrolled at College of the Atlantic and received her Bachelor of Arts in Human Ecology. She then worked as an outreach educator and then Executive Director for DownEast AIDS Network. In November, 2013 at age 64, Mary received her Master of Arts in Irish Studies from the National University Ireland Galway.  She now teaches adult education in Ellsworth, Maine. 

Wade Davis, an internationally-renowned anthropologist, ethnobotanist, author and photographer will receive an honorary degree. He is currently an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. An award-winning and prolific writer, Davis has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.”

Ms. Harney will be introduced by graduating senior, Nathan Thanki (Belfast, North Ireland). Student perspectives will be given by Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler (Pennsylvania) Polly McAdam (Maine), Kyle Shank (Pennsylvania), and Aly Pierik (Canada).

All COA graduates complete extensive senior projects of their own choosing. This year, these include biological and botanical research,  curricula development, entrepreneurial start-up companies, ethnographies, performing arts productions, at least one novel, music composition, landscape designs, climate, political and sociological analyses, sustainable energy designs, and more.  More than forty-six percent of seniors participated in international academic experiences during their tenure at COA.  

Known for its sustainability, COA celebrations always consider the environment. All paper used at the college, including commencement, is recycled, all disposable tableware is composted, no bottled water is served, and as much food as possible is local and organic. Leftover food from the celebration is delivered to a local food pantry and shelter; all food wastes are composted.

College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology—that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world. For more, visit