College of the Atlantic founding president Ed KaelberCollege of the Atlantic founding president Ed KaelberMr. Kaelber became the college’s first president in 1970 and led the institution for 12 years. According to its website, the college was founded in 1969 with a mission to use human ecology as a guiding, interdisciplinary approach to education.

Darron Collins, a 1992 alumnus and president of the college, said Friday in a phone interview that Mr. Kaelber’s ideas and initiatives laid the foundation for the college as it exists today.

“To create an educational institution that didn’t have departments was a stroke of genius,” Collins said. “We are a forward-looking institution and the path Ed laid for us informs what we do now and what we will do decades from now. We are an institution that can still touch the origins, and Ed was part of that origin. We will miss him dearly.”

Mr. Kaelber lived in Bar Harbor for more than four decades. He remained an active part of the college community long after retiring as president in 1982. Collins, who took the helm of the institution in 2011, said he turned to Mr. Kaelber for guidance many times over the years. Collins said his ideas were timeless.

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