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COA’s 42nd Year Makes History

The entire inaugural COA community in the fall of 1972. Photo courtesy of College of the Atlantic Archives.
The entire inaugural COA community in the fall of 1972. Photo courtesy of College of the Atlantic Archives.
Posted Sept. 30, 2013, at 10:46 a.m.

BAR HARBOR, ME – College of the Atlantic began its 42nd year with convocation, a swim, and a cookout on Wednesday, September 11. 132 new students were welcomed to the college, among them 104 first-year students, 26 transfers, and 2 new graduate students. COA’s incoming group hails from 17 countries and 29 states.

This is COA’s largest incoming class – and the largest total enrollment – in its history. In the years since COA’s creation in 1969, approximately 2,000 total students have graduated. It may be a small number, but the impact has been considerable. Some notable alumni achievements include:

- Bill Ginn ’74 oversees the conservation program of the Nature Conservancy’s programs in all 50 states and 32 countries

- Chellie Pingree ’79 is a US Congresswoman for Maine’s 1st District

- Greg Stone’82, Chief Scientist for Conservation International, created the 82,000-acre Phoenix Islands Protected Area

- Jay McNally ’84 founded Ibis Consulting, which pioneered electronic discovery

- Heather Martin ‘93 is Executive Director of the Maine Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation Commission

- Jessica Glynn ’06 is the Supervising Staff Attorney for Safe Horizon, the largest human trafficking watchdog group in the world

- Lauren Nutter ’10 works on environmental conflict resolution at the Udall Foundation

- PJ Smith ’11 is at Biogen helping to find a cure for MS

- Nick Harris ‘12 is co-founder of Gourmet Butanol, an organization dedicated to helping businesses convert their waste into butanol, a direct replacement for gasoline

- Sophomore Surya Karki helped start the Maya Universe Academy, a school that brings free education to children throughout the Nepalese countryside

COA has received national recognition on numerous lists in the past few months. The college ranks #42 out of 100 in The Washington Monthly’s 2013 Liberal Arts College Rankings, which are based on an institution’s contribution to the public good. COA is one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education, according to The Princeton Review, which praises the college for its dynamic and accessible faculty, political activism, green lifestyle, student happiness, and how “voices and actions count.”

Sierra Club once again named COA to its “Cool Schools” list due to the college’s environmental achievements and goals. COA remains among the “greenest” campuses in the nation according to Green Living magazine, and ranks #9 on The College Database’s 50 Colleges Committed to Saving the Planet. And most recently, COA was named a top college in the nation by U.S. News & World Report (COA is one of only four colleges in Maine to be in the top 100).

“We’ve got so much going for us,” said COA President Darron Collins at convocation. “The omens for this college are excellent…Human ecology is what we study, it’s how we study, and it’s why we study. We study the complexities that bind humanity together with the environment; we study by doing, by building, by making with an approach that balances a hands-on education with a minds-on education; and we study because we want to play an active role in making the future somehow better than the past.”

About College of the Atlantic

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 www.coa.edu.

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