The annual commencement ceremony at College of the Atlantic is one of fellowship and celebration.The annual commencement ceremony at College of the Atlantic is one of fellowship and celebration. Credit: ©2016 Brian Fitzgerald

BAR HARBOR — A total of 77 students from 25 states and 15 nations will graduate from College of the Atlantic on Saturday, June 3. The ceremony takes place under the big tent on the North Lawn at 2 p.m.

Poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib.Poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib.Poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib is this year’s keynote speaker. Willis-Abdurraqib has been published in Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. His first full-length collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was released in June 2016 by Button Poetry, and was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book prize. He is also a columnist at MTV News.

Botanists, musicians, educators, entrepreneurs, lawyers, writers, artists, designers, scientists, public policy analysts, physicians, and organic farmers are among the candidates for a bachelor of arts and a master of philosophy in COA’s one major, human ecology.

Providing student perspectives at the ceremony will be seniors Amber Wolf, Zak Kendall, and Porcia Manandhar. Senior Haleigh Paquette will provide welcoming remarks, along with COA President Darron Collins ’92. Senior Jasmine Bourgeois will introduce Willis-Abdurraqib.

“Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib’s work is tremendous. His masterful writing expresses an incredible degree of thoughtfulness and curiosity with the world,” Collins said. “Hanif is a performer, a music scholar, a social critic, and a purveyor and analyst of place. He’s also a amazing human being, and we’re excited to have him.”

The program will begin with a bagpipe processional by the Anah Highlanders. COA video, animation, and performance professor Nancy Andrews is the 2017 Grand Marshall.

Cathy Johnson ’74 is a member of College of the Atlantic's first graduating class. She will receive an honorary Master of Philosophy degree in human ecology at the 2017 commencement ceremony.Cathy Johnson ’74 is a member of College of the Atlantic's first graduating class. She will receive an honorary Master of Philosophy degree in human ecology at the 2017 commencement ceremony.Honorary degrees this year will go to Willis-Abdurraqib, Dr. Etta Kralovec, an Associate Professor of Teacher Education and Program Director of Graduate Teacher Education at the University of Arizona South, and Cathy Johnson ’74, a Senior Staff Attorney and Forests and Wildlife Project Director at Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Johnson is a member of COA’s first graduating class. She received her JD from the University of Maine School of Law in 1983 and was a trial lawyer before joining the NRCM staff in 1990. Over her 27-year career with the organization, she has led visible public campaigns as well as advanced, behind-the-scenes efforts to protect the great North Woods of Maine.

Kralovec taught educational studies, literature, and women’s studies at College of the Atlantic from 1988 through 1999, while also serving as the director of COA’s educational studies program. She holds a doctorate in philosophy from Teachers College, Columbia University, and her books include The End of Homework (Beacon Press, 2001), Schools That Do Too Much (Beacon Press, 2004), and Identity in Metamorphosis (Nova Science Pub Inc., 2009).

During College of the Atlantic's <a href="/our-community/annual-events/commencement/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">annual commencement ceremony</a>, each graduating student announces the name of and presents a Gerbera daisy to the next student to receive their degree.During College of the Atlantic's annual commencement ceremony, each graduating student announces the name of and presents a Gerbera daisy to the next student to receive their degree. Credit: ©2016 Brian Fitzgerald

As part of the college’s commitment to sustainability, COA celebrations always consider environmental impacts. All paper used at the commencement is recycled, all disposable tableware is composted, no bottled water is served, and as much food as possible is organic and locally sourced. Leftover food from the celebration is delivered to a local food pantry and shelter, and all food waste is composted.

Dr. Etta Kralovec is the former director of COA's educational studies program.Dr. Etta Kralovec is the former director of COA's educational studies program. Credit: University of Arizona SouthCollege of the Atlantic is the first college in the U.S. to focus on the relationship between humans and the environment. In 2016, both The Princeton Review and the Sierra Club named College of the Atlantic the #1 Green College in the United States. The intentionally small school of 350 students and 35 faculty members offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in human ecology – the study of how humans interact with our natural, social and technological environments. Each student develops their own course of study in human ecology, collaborating and innovating across multiple disciplines.