March 19, 2018
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Karen Waldron to Hold COA’s Lisa Stewart Chair in Literature and Women’s Studies

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Karen Waldron, College of the Atlantic faculty member in literature and writing, is the inaugural holder of the Lisa Stewart Chair in Literature and Women’s Studies.

BAR HARBOR, ME—College of the Atlantic has named faculty member in literature and writing Karen Waldron as the inaugural holder of the Lisa Stewart Chair in Literature and Women’s Studies. Funds for the endowed chair were donated to the college in August by the Stewart family, longtime Mount Desert Island residents. The gift honors daughter Lisa Stewart, a remarkably accomplished woman dedicated to expanding women’s rights. A global citizen who spoke five languages, Stewart launched the successful Hong Kong investment firm Bowen Asia in 1994 at a time when there were few women leaders in that field.

Says Waldron, “All of us at COA are deeply grateful to the Stewarts for the establishment of the Lisa Stewart chair. It is a great honor to be named the inaugural holder—Lisa Stewart’s legacy of leading by example and commitment is an inspiration to all of us at the college.”

President Darron Collins, a 1992 alumnus of the college, audited one of Waldron’s literature classes when he first arrived on campus as president. “Her ability to coax genuine understanding from great novels—helping students make their own way through text and see the world through new lenses—is extraordinary,” he says.

Adds Academic Dean Ken Hill, “COA is thrilled to finally be able to recognize Karen Waldron’s numerous achievements, her wisdom, her dedication, and her care and concern for students, colleagues, and staff.”

Since coming to COA in 1995, Waldron has taught a wide range of courses in literature, women’s studies, human studies, and more. Her courses include African American Literature, City/Country: American Literary Landscapes, Cross-Cultural Fictional Narratives by Women, Feminist Thought, Literature, Science and Spirituality, Native American Literature, and Nature of Narrative.

Waldron has also held several administrative positions at COA, serving as associate dean for academic affairs from 1998 to 2003 before becoming associate dean for faculty, a position she held until 2008. From 2003 to 2006, Waldron also served as academic dean.

Waldron holds a PhD in English and American literature and an MA in Women’s Studies, both from Brandeis University. She also holds an MA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her BA, from Hampshire College, was in literature and philosophy. Prior to coming to COA, Waldron taught in Massachusetts as a visiting assistant professor at Brandeis University in English and American literature, and Women’s Studies; and as a lecturer in English at Boston College. Her scholarly publications span concepts from literary ecology to Jewish women, and authors from William Faulkner to Leslie Marmon Silko.

The Lisa Stewart Chair in Literature in Women’s Studies is the sixth chair endowed during COA’s $32 million Life Changing, World Changing Capital Campaign, raising funds to enhance the academic program and endow scholarships for students with real potential. The campaign, set to end in January 2013, has less than $3 million left to raise. For more information, visit

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