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William Sebastian Cohen, Commencement Speaker
Former Senator Bill Cohen was COA's first Commencement Speaker at the college's second graduation, honoring our one graduate that year. Born in Bangor, Bill Cohen graduated from Bowdoin College, was inducted into the New England All-Star Hall of Fame as a basketball star, and studied law at Boston University. He was elected Maine's second district representative in 1972, becoming one of the first Republicans to break with his party and vote to impeach President Richard Nixon. In 1978 he was elected to the United States Senate, serving 18 years. Upon his retirement, President Bill Clinton asked him to serve as his Secretary of Defense. Bill Cohen is also the author of several books, including mysteries, poetry and political analysis.
John Parrish March '76, Commencement Speaker
A member of COA's first class, John March spoke at his own graduation. He had been an attorney with Maine Coast Heritage Trust and is now self-employed as a lawyer, living in Seal Cove, on Mt. Desert Island.
Samuel A. Eliot, Commencement Speaker
Sam Eliot came on as assistant to Ed Kaelber before COA began. He later served as administrative vice president, development director, and literature faculty member. From 1985 to 1997 he was a trustee of the college. Sam holds a BA and a MAT from Harvard.
Elmer Beal, Jr., Commencement Speaker
Elmer Beal is an anthropologist who served in the Peace Corps. When COA was founded shared space with the college, working for Maine Coast Heritage Trust. He has been a faculty member since 197*, as well as a folk singer and owner of the highly regarded "gourmet seafood" restaurant The Burning Tree with his wife, Allison Martin '88.
Richard S. Davis (-1982) Commencement Speaker
COA's first philosopher was one of the most loved, trusted, and respected member of the COA community, a superb teacher, a wise and compassionate counselor and advisor, a gifted storyteller with a keen sense of humor, and a man of extraordinary generosity and integrity. He and his wife Norah built the first passive solar home on Mount Desert Island. The author of Whitehead's Moral Philosophy, published by Washington University in 1971, Dick received his BA from Yale in 1962 and his PhD from Washington University in 1971. He died at a contra dance on September 13, 1982, having taught at COA for nine years.
Barbara Trafton, Commencement Speaker
Barbara (McKnight) Trafton served in the Maine State House and State Senate for two terms and has been a member of the following committees: Joint Committee, Energy Health and Institutional Services in the House; Joint Committees in the Senate: Judiciary and Public Utilities. A Maine native, she graduated from Wellesley College, earned a MEd from the University of Southern Maine and a MBA from Northeastern University. She served as the Maine Democratic National Committeewoman, was spokesperson for Maine Turnpike widening in 1991, and is current board chair of the Nature Conservancy of Maine. She has been deeply involved in Maine politics for decades, hosting many candidate events and serving as one of four campaign co-chairs in George Mitchell's 1982 U.S. Senate campaign.
Leo Marx, Commencement Speaker
Leo Marx is the Kenan Professor of American Cultural History, emeritus, at MIT. His work examines the relationship between technology and culture in 19th and 20th century America. He received his BA and PhD from Harvard University and taught at the University of Minnesota and Amherst College before coming to MIT. He has been a Fulbright lecturer in Europe, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Rockefeller Fellow as well as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of several books, including The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America.
Edward Kaelber, Commencement Speaker
Prior to becoming COA's founding president, Ed Kaelber was an associate dean at Harvard University. In this capacity, he organized a secondary school in Nigeria. Before that, he owned and operated a lumber business in upstate New York. Intrigued with the idea of starting a small college that would be free to develop a fresh approach to education and operate out of a spirit of collegiality and common purpose, Ed and his wife Pat came to Bar Harbor in 1970 and began working with a handful of dedicated people to create COA as an innovative, interdisciplinary, experiential college.
Bill Carpenter, Commencement Speaker
Founding COA faculty member Bill Carpenter is the author of three books of poetry, The Hours of Morning, (1981), Rain (1985), Speaking Fire at Stones (1992), and two novels, A Keeper of Sheep (1996) and The Wooden Nickel (2002). He holds a BA from Dartmouth and a PhD from the University of Minnesota. Before joining the COA faculty for its first summer session in 1970, he taught humanities and literature at the University of Chicago. Bill received the Associated Writing Program's Contemporary Poetry Award, the Samuel French Morse Prize, and a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
Helen K. Nearing (1904-1995), Commencement Speaker
Helen Nearing and her husband, Scott Nearing, wrote about the self-sufficient life and established the Good Life Center in Harborside, Maine. She was the co-author or author of multiple books, including Living the Good Life (1954), which was credited with being a major impetus to the 1960s back-to-the-land movement. Continuing the Good Life came out in 1979. They believed in a day divided into three blocks of equal hours: bread labor, or work directed toward meeting requirements of food, shelter, clothing, needed tools, and such; civic or community work; and professional pursuits or recreation. They farmed their property in Harborside, which remains open as the Good Life Center.
Richard S. Davis (-1982), Honorary BA in Human Ecology
See 1979 when Dick Davis was the Commencement Speaker.
Jackson Gilman '78, Commencement Speaker
Jackson Gilman, a member of COA's inaugural class, now calls himself the "Stand-Up Chameleon," as he offers storytelling, mime, acting, songs and more in programs for children and adults. He has been a featured performer at the National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee, and has performed at festivals and schools throughout the country.
Leslie C. Brewer, Honorary BA in Human Ecology
Co-founder of COA, Les was the first chairman of our board of trustees, in 1968. By 1969, he became treasurer, a role he performed until 2011, Les' stalwart management, support and focus on COA have helped to make the college what it is. He is proprietor of MDI Data Systems, Business Computing of Bar Harbor, former treasurer of the board of the Mt. Desert Island Hospital, and a former member of the local school board.
Rev. A. C. McGiffert, Jr. (1892-1993), Honorary BA in Human Ecology
Founding trustee Cush McGiffert, as he was known at COA, is credited with adding the "human" to ecology to create COA's unique major in human ecology. A Congregationalist minister, Cush McGiffert served as president of the Chicago Theological Seminary from 1946 to 1958, having been president of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California from 1939 to 1945. At Berkeley he organized ecumenical training of pastors and lay leaders for postwar rehabilitation in Europe and China and helped form the Committee on American Principles and Fair Play to assist interned Japanese-Americans. In Chicago he was the local chairman of the American Civil Liberties Union. He was also a professor, pastor and author of religious articles and books.
Maxine Green, Commencement Speaker
Maxine Green is an American educational philosopher, author, social activist, and teacher who values experiential learning, especially bringing arts to all levels of education. As a longtime professor at Columbia University's Teachers College (which created the Maxine Greene Chair for Distinguished Contributions to Education in 2004), she influenced thousands of educators to see art as a way of making sense of the world. Since 1976 she has been Lincoln Center Institute philosopher-in-residence. She holds a PhD and MA from New York University and a BA from Barnard College. In 2003, she founded the Maxine Greene Foundation for Social Imagination, the Arts, and Education; in 2005, she inspired the creation for the High School of Arts, Imagination and Inquiry.
John C. Dreier (1907-1994), Honorary BA in Human Ecology
Trustee and conservationist John Caspar Dreier served at COA from 1973 until he died in 1994, following a career as a United States diplomat and professor of Latin American studies at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University He was appointed by President Harry S. Truman to be the US representative to the Organization of American States in 1950, serving for ten years. In 1962 he published two books, The Organization of American Statesand the Hemisphere Crisis and The Alliance for Progress—Policies & Perspectives. John Dreier used skills he acquired as a diplomat to help the college recover during the difficult times following the 1983 fire. He also was key to the establishment of the college's ECO-ECO (Economics and Ecology) Policy Forum. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he graduated from Harvard University in 1928.
Joanne Woodward, Commencement Speaker
Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward spoke at her daughter Nell Newman's graduation. Actress, television, and theatrical producer, and widow of Paul Newman, she received an Academy Award for her role in The Three Faces of Eve (1957).
Donald Meiklejohn (1910-1991), Honorary BA in Human Ecology
A Harvard graduate, political scientist Donald Meiklejohn, taught at the political philosophy at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1963, then joined the Syracuse University faculty. Upon retiring in 1975, he came to teach at COA. The author of many articles and the book Freedom and the Public, he also co-authored a public-affairs curriculum for New York State secondary schools.
Thomas Crum, Commencement Speaker
Author Thomas Crum is known for his work in conflict resolution, peak performance, and stress management. A teacher of Aikido, he has parlayed his understanding of using energy rather than force to resolve conflicts into his work as a speaker and writer. Among his clients are Sony Pictures, Sony Entertainment, Intel, various universities and the US government. Among his books are The Magic of Conflict: Turning a Life of Work into a Work of Art (1998) and Three Deep Breaths: Finding Power and Purpose in a Stressed-Out World (2009).
Thomas S. Hall, Honorary BA in Human Ecology
Trustee Thomas Steel Hall taught at Washington University from 1945 until 1978 where he held the title of University Professor of Zoology from 1961-1971 and University Professor of Biology from 1971 until his retirement in 1977. He also served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1949 to 1961. In addition to his university activities, Tom Hall was commissioner of the St. Louis Zoo, a trustee of the Missouri Botanical Garden and the St. Louis Public Library, and president of the Little Symphony Society. He served on COA's board from 1978 to 1991, and was president of COA's board of trustees.
Wendell Berry, Commencement Speaker
Wendell Berry is a writer, farmer, and cultural and economic critic. He is best known for his writing, especially essays about farming and life. Among his books are the novel Hannah Coulter and The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry. He is also an elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and a recipient of The National Humanities Medal.
Alida M. Camp (1909-1998), Honorary BA in Human Ecology
Philanthropist Alida Donnell Milliken Camp served on COA's board of trustees from 1975 to 1999. She was a founding member of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Maine chapter of the MS Society. A 1930 graduate of Smith College, she attended the Brearley School in New York and Milton Academy. She was also a Colby College trustee, founder of the Blue Hill Troupe and an avid sailor and racer.
Donald B. Straus (1916-2007), Honorary Degree Recipient
Don Straus was an influential teacher and innovator in education, conflict resolution, and population control. He served as president of the American Arbitration Association, and as a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, and as chairman of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Don joined COA's board of trustees in 1974 and served until 2007. He was also an avid sailor and fearless small plane pilot. He held both a BA and an MBA from Harvard University. At COA, Don taught several classes including, "World Population from a Human Ecological Perspective," "The Future of Democracy and Economics," and "Community Planning and Decision Making."
Robert Coles, Commencement Speaker and Honorary BA in Human Ecology
Noted educator Robert Coles graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College, intending to become a teacher. Upon interviewing the poet and physician William Carlos Williams for his honors thesis he decided to go into medicine and then psychiatry. As chief of neuropsychiatric services at Keesler Air Force base in Biloxi, Mississippi, Robert Coles witnessed many scenes of racial conflict, which catapulted him into a life of writing. He has authored more than eighty books concerned with human moral and spiritual reasoning, mainly in children but also in adults. As Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Humanities at Harvard Medical School, he teaches in various schools across the university; he is also the James Agee Professor of Social Ethics at the School of Education. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he received a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Humanities Medal.
Neva Goodwin, Honorary BA in Human Ecology
Neva Goodwin is co-director of the Global Development & Environment Institute at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, active in a variety of attempts to systematize and institutionalize an economic theory that will have more relevance to contemporary real world concerns than the dominant economic paradigm. She is also involved with efforts to motivate business to recognize social and ecological health as significant corporate goals. She is editor of more than a dozen books, and the lead author of two introductory textbooks, Microeconomics in Context and Macroeconomics in Context. She is a current Trustee at Rockefeller University, serves as the vice chairman and a trustee at Rockefeller Brothers Fund and is a director of Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development. A trustee from 1981 to 1991, she holds a master's in public administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and a PhD in economics from Boston.
Charles R. Tyson, Honorary BA in Human Ecology
Trustee Charles R. Tyson was an executive in the steel and insurance industries, retiring in 1979 as chairman of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., a firm he previously had served as president. From 1944 until 1953, he was president of John A. Roebling's Sons Co., a firm founded by his great-great-grandfather that was instrumental in the design and construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. Charles Tyson was the son of artist Carroll Tyson Jr., and studied at Princeton University but left in 1935 because at the time, Princeton didn't allow married students. With two short breaks he served as COA trustee from 1974 to 1992.
Madeleine M. Kunin, Commencement Speaker; Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Madeleine Kunin is a Swiss-American diplomat and politician who served as the governor of Vermont for three terms from 1985 until 1991. Under President Bill Clinton she served as US deputy secretary of education and then as US ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. She was Vermont's first and, to date, only female governor and the first Jewish woman to be elected governor of a US state. She is currently the James Marsh Professor-at-Large at the University of Vermont. Prior to seeking elective office, she worked as a journalist for The Burlington Free Press among other positions. She was also involved in community activities, particularly in the area of women's rights, children, and literature. Madeleine Kunin is the author of Pearls, Politics, and Power: How Women Can Win and Lead and Living a Political Life.
William H. Drury, Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Bill Drury, legendary faculty member in biology, was a dedicated conservationist, accomplished artist, and uncommon teacher. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, served in the Navy during World War II, then returned to Harvard for a PhD in botany and geology. Bill taught at Harvard, integrating geology, botany, animal behavior, and evolutionary biology, before coming to COA in 1976. While a lecturer at Harvard he became director of the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Hathaway School of Conservation Education, and also served on the President's Science Advisory Committee under Kennedy and Nixon. While at COA, he worked with students researching the flora and seabirds of Maine islands and promoting the restoration of seabird colonies through gull control.
Medea Benjamin, Commencement Speaker
Born Susan Benjamin, Medea Benjamin renamed herself during her first year at Tufts University. She is a political activist, best known for co-founding Code Pink and, along with her husband, activist and author Kevin Danaher, the fair trade advocacy group Global Exchange. In 2000, Medea was a Green Party candidate for the US Senate. She received master's degrees in public health from Columbia University and in economics from The New School, and is the author of numerous books.
Robert Blum (1899-1999), Honorary BA in Human Ecology
Trustee Robert Edward Blum was vice president and secretary of Abraham & Straus, the Brooklyn department store founded by his grandfather, Abraham Abraham. He also served as a director and vice president of Federated Department Stores. He had an early role in the development of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, was elected honorary trustee of the American Museum of Natural History, and served as a trustee of the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Robert Blum was also connected to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Children's Museum, New York Zoological Society, Art Commission of the City of New York, Bahamas National Trust, Maine Community Foundation, New York Community Trust, New York State Board of Social Welfare and the National Institute of Social Services. COA's Ethel H. Blum Gallery is named for his wife, the artist Ethel Halsey Blum, who died in 1991.
Millard Dority, Honorary BA in Human Ecology
COA's longest-serving employee, Millard also holds one of the longest titles on campus, Director of Campus Planning, Buildings, and Public Safety. Millard came to the college in 1970, at age 17, to work for two weeks help prepare what had been the old Oblate Seminary for a new influx of students. He ended up working day and night for months to get it ready and safe, and now works day and night to keep it ready and safe!
Louis Rabineau (1924-2011), Commencement Speaker
College of the Atlantic's third president, Louis Rabineau became president during COA's most trying years, after the 1983 fire had demolished what had been COA's main building, COA's second president had left and enrollment had plummeted. By gathering the right people and providing the right thought and action, he led our resurrection. Lou received a BA and MA from the State University in Albany, then went on to serve as a code breaker in the US Army in World War II, undergoing wartime training in languages at Yale. Rabineau came to COA having been the chancellor of the Connecticut Commission for Higher Education, having served on the New England Board of Higher Education and the editorial board of the Harvard Educational Review.
Elizabeth Thorndike (1908-1992), Posthumous Honorary BA in Human Ecology
Elizabeth, or Betty Thorndike served as COA trustee for thirteen years, beginning in 1969. Born in Frankfort, Germany, she moved to the US when she was three. She served as a medical social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital before marrying Amory Thorndike and moving to Bar Harbor. She was so energetic a volunteer for social causes and emergencies that one physician called her the hospitals entire social service department. Betty was a trustee of the Jackson Laboratory, Maine Seacoast Mission, and the Abbe Museum; she served on the Bar Harbor Appeals Board, was the first woman elected to the Bar Harbor Town Council. Working with the Wild Gardens of Acadia, she helped transform a three-quarter-acre jumble of brush, brambles, and scarred red maples into 11 habitats displaying plants native to Mount Desert Island.
Liane N. Peach, Honorary BA in Human Ecology
Ann Peach had three young children in August, 1969, when she read a Bar Harbor Times article about the idea of starting a college on the island. She'd worked with founding trustee Les Brewer before, and immediately offered her services. She intended only to volunteer a bit, but when Ed Kaelber came on as the college's first president, he convinced her to stay on as COA's first staff member. Four presidents and twenty-five years later, in 1994, Ann Peach retired from her final position, running the business office.
Father James Gower, Commencement Speaker; Honorary BA in Human Ecology
Father Jim Gower was a co-founder of COA with Les Brewer; and served as a trustee for most of the board's existence, currently as life trustee. A retired parish priest, and devoted advocate of peace, when he received an award recently from the Maine Seacoast Mission, Executive Director Gary DeLong called him "everyone's pastor, Catholic or not, and a fully alive and compassionate human being." Raised in Bar Harbor, Father Jim graduated from the University of Notre Dame, entered the seminary and was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1953. Among his parishes were those in Eastport, Waterville and Bucksport, as a University of Maine chaplain, and as pastor of St. Ignatius and St. Peter's on Mt. Desert Island.
H. Patricia Hynes, Commencement Speaker
Patricia Hynes is a retired professor of environmental health from Boston University School of Public Health and current chair of the board of the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice. She has written and edited seven books, among them The Recurring Silent Spring. She writes and speaks on issues of war and militarism with an emphasis on women, environment, and public health.
Senator George J. Mitchell, Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
George John Mitchell, Jr., is the former US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace under the Obama administration and former US senator who served as the Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995. He was chair of The Walt Disney Company and of the international law firm DLA Piper. He was the main investigator in the two Mitchell Reports on the Arab–Israeli conflict and the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. Born in Waterville, Maine, he attended Bowdoin College, served in the US Army and received a law degree from Georgetown University. In 1974 Mitchell won the Democratic nomination for governor of Maine, defeating Joseph Brennan. He lost in the general election to independent candidate James B. Longley, but was appointed US Attorney for Maine by President Jimmy Carter in 1977 and then served as a federal judge until he was appointed to the senate when Edmund Muskie resigned to become Secretary of State.
Edward Meade, Jr., PhD (1931-1994), Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Edward J. Meade, Jr., PhD, helped to initiate educational opportunities and to improve the quality of education in the US throughout his a distinguished career as a chief program officer at the Ford Foundation. He was an advocate of numerous innovative national educational projects and served as a senior consultant for many organizations, including Reading-is-Fundamental and the National Committee for Citizens in Education. He also served as an advisor to six United States commissioners of education and to three secretaries of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He served on COA's board of trustees from 1987 to 1994.
Elijah Anderson, PhD, Commencement Speaker
Elijah Anderson is the William K. Lanman, Jr. Professor of Sociology at Yale University and one of the nation's leading urban ethnographers. His publications include Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City (1999) and the classic sociological work, A Place on the Corner (1978).
Edward McCormick Blair (1915-2010), Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Ed Blair, former COA board chair and life trustee, was the senior director of William Blair & Company of Chicago. He was a life trustee also of the University of Chicago, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center and George M. Pullman Educational Foundation. An avid collector of Paul Gaugin and John Marin, he donated his work to the Art Institute of Chicago - after displaying it at COA's Ethel H. Blum Galleries. Ed Blair held a BA from Yale and an MBA from Harvard. During World War II he served in Pacific defusing mines and guiding submarines. He spent his summers in Maine, heading out daily, and punctually, on the MV Lovely Lucy to view whales, dolphins and osprey.
Walter Litten (1915-2004), Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Walter Litten, a researcher and marketer at Eastman Kodak, was a mushroom specialist who taught mycology at COA and served as a volunteer naturalist at Acadia National Park. He became one of the nation's most expert amateur mycologists, discovering two new species, one right at COA (named Hebeloma littenil in his honor) and was editor of McIlvania, the journal of the Mycological Society of America and a volunteer with the Poison Control Center identifying mushrooms brought to him by the state police. Walter graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Rochester with a degree in optical engineering. He worked at Bausch and Lomb as a lens designer, and then at Eastman Kodak in research and writing, while remaining an active reporter, eventually for Time-Life.
Read a transcript from an NPR broadcast about this commencement.
Ashley F. Bryan, Commencement Speaker; Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Ashley Bryan is an author and artist noted for his children's books, taking subjects most often from the African-American experience. In 1962, he was the first African American to publish a children's book as an author and illustrator. A graduate of Cooper Union Art School, Ashley studied philosophy at Columbia University to understand war after serving in World War II. He later received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Europe. Ashley taught art at for many years at Dartmouth College, then retired to Cranberry Island off Mt. Desert Island. In addition to continuing to his children's books, he paints, creates puppet sculptures, makes stained glass windows from beach glass, and collects toys. Among other awards, he has won nine Coretta Scott King awards for his illustrations and writing.
Edmund Sixtus Muskie (1914-1996), Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Ed Muskie was an American politician from Rumford, Maine who served as Maine's governor from 1955 to 1959, before being elected to the US Senate. He served there from 1959 until Jimmy Carter asked him to be Secretary of State in 1980. In 1972 Ed Muskie had been a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. He held a BA from Bates and a law degree from Cornell University, and then served in the US Navy during World War II. In 1987, as an elder statesman, Ed Muskie was appointed a member of the President's Special Review Board known as the "Tower Commission" to investigate President Ronald Reagan's administration's role in the Iran-Contra scandal.
Barbara Bramble, Commencement Speaker
Barbara Bramble is senior program adviser for international affairs, at the National Wildlife Federation, working through US laws and regulations, and international agreements, to reduce the threat of global climate change. She is also the chair of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels, the global initiative to certify biofuels that meet voluntary standards for social and environmental safeguards. Barbara is the original founder and director of NWF's international affairs department, and was a key organizer of the International NGO Forum at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the Rio+5 Conference in 1997. Before joining NWF, she served as legal advisor to the Council on Environmental Quality. As a private practice environmental lawyer she helped stop a massive gas pipeline from crossing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Her JD is from George Washington University, and BA is from George Mason University.
Jill Goldthwait, Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Director of the office of government relations at the Jackson Laboratory, Jill Goldthwait served as the Hancock County senator for eight years, until she was term limited from continuing. She first got into politics on Bar Harbor's town council, where she served for nine years, then ran for the senate seat from Hancock County. An independent, Jill was able to caucus with both parties. Raised in New Jersey, she has a nursing degree and served in the Peace Corps on South Pacific island of Tonga.
William Drayton, Commencement Speaker
William "Bill" Drayton is the founder of and chair of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding and fostering social entrepreneurs worldwide. In 2005, US News & World Report named him as one of America's twenty-five "Best Leaders;" in 2008, the Utne Reader listed him as one of "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing the World;" and in 2011, he won Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias awards for international cooperation. He is said to be responsible for the rise of the phrase "social entrepreneur." Bill Drayton also chairs the Community Greens and Get America Working! organizations. He attended high school at Andover, received a BA from Harvard, an MA from Balliol College, Oxford, a JD from Yale Law School, and served as assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Carter where he launched emissions trading among other reforms.
Ian McHarg (1920-2001), Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Landscape architect Ian L. McHarg was a renowned writer on regional planning using natural systems. His focus on an ecological sensibility recognizing the interwoven worlds of the human and the natural is one of the bases of human ecology. Ian McHarg was the founder of the department of landscape architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. His landmark 1969 book Design with Nature pioneered the concept of ecological planning. It continues to be a celebrated volume on landscape architecture and land-use planning, establishing the basic concepts that were to develop in Geographic Information Systems, critiquing modern development, and asking landscape designers to become familiar with the soil, climate, and hydrology of an area. He is also the author of an autobiography, A Quest for Life (1996), among other works. He received a Harvard Lifetime Achievement Award and the 1990 National Medal of Arts, among other awards.
Terry Tempest Williams, Commencement Speaker; Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Terry Tempest Williams is a writer who speaks and speaks out eloquently on behalf of an ethical stance toward life. A naturalist and fierce advocate for freedom of speech, she shows how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice. She has served time in jail for civil disobedience, testified before Congress on women's health, been a guest at the White House, camped in remote wilderness regions of Utah and Alaska and worked as "a barefoot artist" in Rwanda. She is the author of numerous books including Refuge - An Unnatural History of Family and Place, An Unspoken Hunger - Stories from the Field, Leap, Red - Passion and Patience in the Desert, and Mosaic: Finding Beauty in a Broken World. Among other honors, Terry received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in creative nonfiction.
U. Utah Phillips (1935-2008), Commencement Speaker
Bruce Duncan "Utah" Phillips was a labor organizer, folk singer, storyteller, and poet who rode the rails and self-identified as an anarchist. He often promoted the Industrial Workers of the World - the wobblies - in music, word and action. His parents, both labor organizers, greatly influenced U. Utah's life. In 1956 he went into the Army for three years; witnessing the devastation of post-war Korea also influenced his thinking. After the army, he established a mission house of hospitality named for activist Joe Hill in Salt Lake City, Utah then became a fixture in folk singing circles. In 1968 he ran for the US Senate on Utah's Peace and Freedom Party and in 1976 for US president on the Do-Nothing Party. His songs have been recorded by Emmylou Harris and Tom Waits, among others, and he recorded albums with Rosalie Sorrels and Ani DeFranco.
James Russell Wiggins (1903-2000), Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
James Russell Wiggins spent 22 years at the Washington Post before retiring to Maine and becoming editor of the Ellsworth American which he bought in 1966, and sold in 1991, continuing to write a weekly column and poem for years. "Routine is the salvation for old age," he said. He joined his hometown paper, the Rock County Star, after high school; buying the paper at 22. After serving in the Army Air Corps Intelligence Division during World War II, and working a year as assistant to New York Times publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger, he went to the Washington Post, rising to executive editor, and executive vice president. He was the last Washington Post editor to oversee the newspaper's news and editorial departments. "He cared about quality, and he had righteous indignation," said Katharine Graham, former publisher of the Post. For a few months in 1968, he served as ambassador to the United Nations under President Lyndon Johnson.
James Gustave Speth, Commencement Speaker; Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Environmentalist James Speth is co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, where he was senior attorney from 1970 to 1977, and the World Resources Institute, where he was president from 1982-1993. He graduated summa cum laude from Yale University, attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and received a JD from Yale Law School, where he was a member of the Yale Law Journal. He then served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black, and later as President Carter's principal environmental advisor. From 1993 to 1999, he administered the United Nations Development Programme, later working with under Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. He has taught law at Georgetown University, and currently teaches at Vermont Law School. Previously he was dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies for a decade. He has received numerous awards for including the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Environmental Law Institute.
Clyde E. Shorey, Jr., Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Clyde Shorey, known as Ev to friends, was chair of COA's board of trustees. A lawyer, he was also director and treasurer of People for the American Way, former director and president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown; former vice president for public affairs and board member of the March of Dimes, former president and board member, Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers; former board member of the National Health Council and deputy general counsel for AID from 1963 to 1966. He holds a BA from Yale University and a law degree from Columbia University.
Amy Goodman ('79), Commencement Speaker
Amy Goodman, a COA visiting student in the 1980s, is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on over 900 television and radio stations in North America. Time Magazine named Democracy Now! its "Pick of the Podcasts," along with NBC's Meet the Press. A graduate of Radcliffe College, she says she learned critical thinking at COA. Amy is the author of four New York Times bestsellers, including Breaking the Sound Barrier, and Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times (2008) (co-authored with brother David Goodman). She has received numerous awards from the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the Alternative Nobel Prize to awards from the Associated Press and United Press International.
Chaia Heller, Commencement Speaker
Chaia Heller is an ecofeminist and social ecologist known for such essays as "Eco-cide in Women's Bodies" and "McDonalds, MTV, and Monsanto: Resisting Biotechnology in the Age of Informational Capital," and for her book, Ecology of Everyday Life. She holds an MA in psychology from Antioch New England and a PhD in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts. She has served as a clinical social worker, and is currently on the faculty of the Institute for Social Ecology. She is also researching a book on the politics of agricultural biotechnology in France.
Frederick R. Steiner, Commencement Speaker; Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Environmentalist and planner Frederick Steiner is the dean of the School of Architecture and Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Architecture at The University of Texas at. He has been director of the School of Planning and Landscape Architecture at Arizona State University's College of Architecture and Environmental Design, and taught planning, landscape architecture and environmental science at Washington State University, the University of Colorado-Denver and the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous books, among them Human Ecology: Following Nature's Lead (2002). He was a Fulbright-Hays scholar in 1980, and is a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and an Academic Fellow of the Urban Land Institute. He received his PhD and MA degrees in city and regional planning and a master's in regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master's of community planning and a BS in design from the University of Cincinnati.
Shelby and Gale Davis, MPhils in Human Ecology
Philanthropists Shelby M.C. and Gale Davis launched the Davis United World College Scholarships program, funding students from around the globe who have attended any of the United World Colleges to attend college in the US, at first to one of five pilot schools, including COA, and later to some 90 schools across the nation. Shelby Davis is also the founder of investment management firm Davis Advisers. He began his career at The Bank of New York where he rose to head of its research department and was named the youngest vice president since Alexander Hamilton. He is a graduate of Princeton University and currently serves as a trustee of the university. Gale Lansing Davis is a graduate of Briarcliff College and a former portfolio manager.
William Coperthwaite, Commencement Speaker
William Coperthwaite believes it is possible to create a way of life that is intentionally shaped so as to realize a world of justice, beauty and hope. A teacher, builder, designer and writer, he has traveled the world in search of skills to forward this dream, returning to his homestead in downeast Maine to live a life of true simplicity. He is the author of A Handmade Life (2002) and founder of the Yurt Foundation, promoting sensible and economical self-reliance through workshops, lectures and publications. He holds an EdD from Harvard University's School of Education.
W. Kent Olson, Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Kent Olson is the former president and CEO of Friends of Acadia, the nonprofit organization that helps conserve land in and around Acadia National Park. At Friends of Acadia, he initiated many innovative programs for raising money and increasing park conservation, surpassing three million dollars in cumulative grants to the park and communities, endowing trails, conserving and restoring the park's motor-free carriage roads, and obtaining the one million-dollar grant from L.L. Bean that launched the Island Explorer propane bus system. Prior to coming to Friends of Acadia, he served as director of special projects for the Conservation Fund of Arlington, Virginia. He was also president of American Rivers and executive director of the Nature Conservancy of Connecticut.
Bernd Heinrich, Commencement Speaker; Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Internationally acclaimed author and naturalist, Bernd Heinrich is professor emeritus of zoology at the University of Vermont, where he taught for twenty-two years. He has written some 150 scientific papers or chapters in scholarly books which have substantially advanced the fields of physiological and behavioral ecology. He received his BA and MS in zoology from the University of Maine, Orono, and his PhD in zoology from the University of California at Los Angeles, where he also pursued postdoctoral study. He was a Guggenheim Fellow and Harvard Fellow, and was named University of Vermont Scholar in the biological sciences and Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Fellow of the Federal Republic of Germany. Bernd is also the author of popular nature books, among them Mind of the Raven (1998), and Racing the Antelope (2001).
Jeffrey D. Sachs, Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Jeffrey Sachs is director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, where he is the Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and professor of health policy and management. He is also director of the United Nations Millennium Project and was special adviser to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals. In 2004 and 2005, Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He is the author of numerous books and articles, most recently The Price of Civilization (2011). He has been an advisor to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the UN Development Program, among others. He holds a BA, MA and PhD from Harvard University, where he taught for more than twenty years.
Chellie Pingree '79, Commencement Speaker; Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Chellie Pingree is Maine's first district representative to the US Congress where she serves on the House Rules and the House Armed Services committees. Prior to that she was president and CEO of Common Cause from March 2003 to February 2007. Chellie served for eight years in the Maine Senate, with the last four years as majority leader. She authored legislation to create the landmark Maine Rx program, which lowered the cost of prescription drug prices for seniors. Pingree served on COA's board of trustees from 1997 to 2001. While a student at COA, she already had the farm on North Haven that led to her knitting business to help employee neighbors on the island. Chellie has said that it was at COA that she learned how essential it is to connect people, resources and government.
JoAnne Carpenter, Commencement Speaker
Artist JoAnne Carpenter taught art and art history at COA from 1973 until her retirement in 2008. She is now the first faculty emerita of the college. She holds a master's degree in art history from the University of Minnesota and a master's of fine arts from the University of Pennsylvania. She is credited with "establishing the living centrality of art to the human ecology curriculum," embodying "the essential human ecology doctrine that theory and knowledge had to be realized in the world," according to fellow faculty member Bill Carpenter.
Henry "Hank" Schmelzer, Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
COA trustee Henry "Hank" Schmelzer was the president and chief executive officer of the Maine Community Foundation, which was started by College of the Atlantic's founding president, Ed Kaelber, in 1983, after retiring from COA. He is now president of the Maine Public Broadcasting board. Prior to entering the philanthropic field, Schmelzer spent more than twenty years in law and in the financial services industry in Boston. He practiced corporate and securities law, becoming vice president and counsel for the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company. In the late 1980s, Schmelzer moved into business management, becoming president and CEO of New England Securities, becoming president, CEO and trustee of New England Funds, before retiring in 1998. Hank was also a captain in the US Army in military intelligence and served in Vietnam. He graduated from the University of Maine and George Washington University Law School.
Elizabeth Allen Straus (1916-2010), Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Master gardener Elizabeth "Beth" Straus was raised by the bay in San Francisco and on Belvedere Island. The aesthetics of water, garden and Japan never left her. She was one of the only female math majors at Stanford University, then switched to the classics, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1938. She married former COA trustee Don Straus in 1940. Beth was a founding member of both the Junior Council and the International Council at the then-fledgling Museum of Modern Art, and a trustee of the New York Botanical Garden for more than fifty years. She excelled at making connections especially across boundaries. After moving to Somesville, Maine, Beth served on the board of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust and became chair of the Island Foundation, instigating publication of The Bulletins of Reef Point Gardens, refining the Japanese vision of the Asticou Azalea Garden. Her own Maine garden was widely published.
Steven K. Katona, Commencement Speaker; Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Steve Katona was one of COA's four founding faculty members. He taught from 1972 until 1993, when he became the college's fourth president, serving until 2006. In 1972, Katona also founded Allied Whale, COA's marine mammal research group. Since retiring, Steve has been an adjunct senior scientist with the New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts, consulting on the impact of climate change on the marine environment. With Greg Stone '83, and an international team of marine scientists, he is creating the Ocean Health Index. He also works with COA advisor Willy Osborn, Steve is working to develop projects advancing the use of renewable energy. Steve holds a BA and PhD from Harvard. Steve is co-author of the first field guide to whales, dolphins and seals of the Gulf of Maine and Eastern Canada and with students, discovered that humpback and fin whales have markings that are individually distinctive, enabling the study individual whale behavior.
Thomas Chappell, Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Tom Chappell, founder of Tom's of Maine with his wife, Kate, is a social entrepreneur known for producing innovative, natural personal care products in a caring and creative work environment. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 1997 Caring Institute's award for "One of the Most Caring People in America." Tom's of Maine was named among the top companies in the U.S. for working mothers by Working Mother magazine and one of "30 Great Companies for Dads" in Child magazine. Tom has a BA in English from Trinity College, and a master's in theology from Harvard Divinity School. He is the author of several books, including The Soul of a Business: Managing for Profit and the Common Good (1993) and Managing Upside Down: Seven Intentions for Values-Centered Leadership (1999).
John Kelly, Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
COA trustee emeritus and former board chair, John Kelly is a founding partner with Kelly, Remmel & Zimmerman of Portland, Maine. He received his undergraduate degree from Colby College and his law degree from Georgetown University, becoming a Congressional legislative and administrative assistant on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC before beginning his civil law practice in Portland. An active legal leader, he was elected president of the Maine Trial Lawyers Association, the Maine State Bar Association and the Maine Bar Foundation. He received one of the first Howard H. Dana, Jr. awards, Maine's most prestigious pro bono award presented annually by the Maine Bar Foundation. While at COA, John Kelly helped to found the Eco-Eco Policy Forum bringing together environmentalists, businesspeople, regulatory administrators and political leaders. This project led to statewide recognition of the issues of sprawl, the idea of smart growth and greenways and the effects of global climate change.
Lucy Bell Sellers, Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Lucy Bell Sellers established COA's theater program in 1986, teaching her Theater Workshop each fall until 2008. She likes to say that she began directing, "because nothing makes people feel as good as putting on a play together." Lucy Bell is a graduate of Radcliffe College, where she majored in history and literature and has graduate credits in drama therapy from New York University. Previous to her work at COA, she spent thirteen years directing plays at the Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has acted in community theater and created productions for seniors and the emotionally and mentally disabled. She has written several original plays, including Seeing the Stork, a one-woman show based on the life of Isak Dinesen which Sellers performed in Philadelphia, Washington, and on Mt. Desert Island.
Carl Pope, Commencement Speaker; Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Carl Pope served as executive director of the Sierra Club for seventeen years, remaining as chairman for a year until he stepped down in 2011 to focus on creating a collaborative effort in which business, labor, environmentalists and others revitalize America's manufacturing base. He remains senior strategic advisor to Sierra Club. During nearly forty years with Sierra Club he has served as associate conservation director, political director, and conservation director, frequently working to bring diverse groups into the conservation fold. He is also board chair of America Votes and a board member of American Rights at Work and the Blue-Green Alliance. Among his books are Sahib, an American Misadventure in India (1971), written after serving in the Peace Corps, and Hazardous Waste in America (1981). Carl is a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College.
Samuel Hamill, Jr., Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Life trustee and former chair of COA's board of trustees Sam Hamill studied under the late influential (and former commencement speaker) Ian McHarg as a graduate student in regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania. Sam Hamill has spent his professional career working to manage growth, conserve land and renew cities, applying a big-picture, regional planning approach to places like the Hudson River Valley and the State of New Jersey. He still serves as senior consultant to New Jersey Future, an independent research and advocacy group that advances solutions to issues of suburban sprawl, environmental conservation, social justice, and economic progress - one of four nonprofit organizations that he has founded, At COA, he initiated the Great Lakes of Africa Scholarship, offering full tuition to a student from Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, or Kenya.
Ambassador Bo Lidegaard, Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Bo Lidegaard has been active as a diplomat, climate specialist and historian. As permanent under-secretary of state, he served in a position similar to national security advisor; as chief advisor on climate change to the Danish prime minister, he led the Danish team preparing for the 2009 United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen. He had been a member of the Danish Foreign Service, posted to the Danish UN mission in Geneva and engaged in the negotiation of the 1992 UNFCCC. He was also a delegate to the 1992 Rio Conference and the 2002 Johannesburg Summit. His doctoral thesis was published in 1996, and came out in English as Defiant Diplomacy (2003). His most recent book, A Short History of Denmark in the 20th Century (2009), is aimed at English speakers. In 2011, he became editor in chief of the Danish daily newspaper Politiken.
Ambassador Janusz Reiter, Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Janusz Reiter is founder and president of the Center for International Relations of Warsaw, an independent think-tank on foreign and security policy in Poland. He served as Polish ambassador to the US from 2005 to 2007 until becoming his nation's special envoy for climate change. He also served as Polish ambassador to Germany from 1990 to 1995, and played a major role in reshaping the Polish-German relationship. A journalist, he has written many books, policy papers, and articles, had his own television program on Polish Public TV, and was a columnist for several newspapers, including the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Zeit, Die Weltwoche, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. He was awarded the Great Federal Cross with Star and Ribbon by the federal president of Germany.
Jane Alexander, Commencement Speaker; Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Actress Jane Alexander was appointed chair of the National Endowment for the Arts in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. She is widely credited for saving the NEA despite Congressman Newt Gingrich's efforts to end its federal support. As NEA chair she also toured the country to promote arts education and wrote about her experiences in Command Performance: an Actress in the Theater of Politics (2000). A noted actress, she received a Tony award for The Great White Hope, co-starring with James Earl Jones on Broadway, two Emmy awards, and four Oscar nominations. Her movies include The Great White Hope, All the President's Men, Kramer vs. Kramer, Testament, The Cider House Rules, and Fur. She has received numerous awards, including the Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts and the Living Legacy Award: Jehan Sadat Peace Prize. She has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.
Peggy Sharpe, Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Environmental advocate Peggy Sharpe began her work more than forty years ago, when she forced the federal government to prepare a full environmental impact statement on a development along Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay, helping to preserve it. Later she focused on promoting waste reduction and recycling, serving as chair of the Citizens Advisory Board of the Rhode Island Solid Waste Management Corporation for fifteen years. For a decade she served on The Nature Conservancy's national governing board and was one of the founding members of the Rhode Island chapter. She is an active board member of the Conservation Law Foundation and instrumental in the expansion of Brown University's Center for Environmental Studies. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence, Peggy Sharpe also holds a BS in Landscape Architecture from Rhode Island School of Design. In 2004, her efforts were recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Henry B. Sharpe, Jr., Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
COA life trustee Henry Sharpe is the retired CEO and board chair of Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Co., and a great believer in the role of business to improve society. Thanks to his leadership, and that of his wife Peggy, COA has a Sustainable Business Program, the Sharpe-McNally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business, and an endowed David F. Hales Sustainability Coordinator position. A graduate of Philips Exeter and Brown University, Sharpe is a retired trustee of both. As an undergraduate, he was co-editor of Brown's student newspaper and retains a lifelong interest in writing and reporting. He continued this interest as a director of the Providence Journal Company for many years. His poems, aphorisms and metaphors are legendary. He served in the Pacific as a junior officer in the amphibious force of the US Navy, landing at Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines and Okinawa.
Robert Krulwich, Commencement Speaker
Krulwich, who is the co-host of Radiolab and a correspondent for National Public Radio, has been called "the most inventive network reporter in television" by TV Guide. Krulwich's NPR blog, "Krulwich Wonders", features drawings, cartoons and videos that illustrate hard-to-see concepts in science. As co-host of Radiolab Krulwich explores new developments in science for people who are curious but not usually drawn to science shows. Radiolab won a Peabody Award in 2011.
William G. Foulke, Jr., Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Trustee and former board chair William Foulke, Jr., is a retired banker and avid supporter of education and the environment. He worked at Chase Manhattan Bank, NA for two decades, serving as a senior vice president before becoming manager of Bankers Trust Company in New York. Throughout his career, his work extended to Tokyo, London, and especially Latin America, where Foulke was a member of the council of advisors of the business trade organization Council of the Americas. Foulke served on many boards throughout his years, including that of the Mianus River Gorge Preserve and the Mt. Desert Festival of Chamber Music. A former officer in the US Navy, Foulke holds an AB in English literature from Princeton University, and an MBA from Columbia University.
Richard Levins, Honorary MPhil in Human Ecology
Richard Levins is a tropical farmer turned ecologist, biomathematician, philosopher of science, and longtime advocate of interdisciplinary. As a board member of OXFAM-America and its committee on Latin America and the Caribbean, and also through the New World Agriculture and Ecology Group, Levins’ theoretical interests have been applied to community development. The author of Dialectical Biologist with Richard Lewontin, and Evolution in Changing Environments, Levins holds studied plant breeding and mathematics at Cornell University and a PhD in zoology from Columbia University. He taught at the University of Puerto Rico and the University of Chicago before joining the Harvard School of Public Health. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Levins received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in health policy research, the Edinburgh Science Medal for contributions to science and the broader society, an honorary doctorate in environmental science from the University of Havana, among other awards.