College of the Atlantic launches every academic year with a community swim from nearby Bar Island, in Acadia National Park, to the COA pier.College of the Atlantic launches every academic year with a community swim from nearby Bar Island, in Acadia National Park, to the COA pier.

COA’s nearly 100-strong class of 2022, joined by faculty, staff, and returning students, enjoyed speeches from Michael Diaz-Griffiths ’09, Associate Executive Director of New York’s Winter Show art fair, and COA President Dr. Darron Collins ’92 at the ceremony, which was held in the Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Community Center.

“We have another incredible group of bright, creative, curious students starting at COA this year, and I could not be more excited to have them here,” Collins said.

Michael Diaz-Griffiths '09 speaks at COA's yearly convocation ceremony about translating his education into co-directing The Winter Show, a leading art and antiques fair which helps provide opportunities for education and economic development in New York City.Michael Diaz-Griffiths '09 speaks at COA's yearly convocation ceremony about translating his education into co-directing The Winter Show, a leading art and antiques fair which helps provide opportunities for education and economic development in New York City.Collins used his speech to welcome students to COA’s self-directed curriculum, to show a video of a recent COA trip to Canada’s Grand Manan Island, and to introduce three new working groups that will inform COA’s efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion among students and faculty.

“If we are going to improve the relationship between human beings and the environment, we have to do it together, all together, pluralistically, and with great understanding of power and how power shapes human motivations and decisions,” Collins said in his speech. “We will become a better and a stronger institution through this work.”

Diaz-Griffiths discussed his formative years in COA’s interdisciplinary human-ecology program, and the path his life has taken in the near-decade since graduation. He advised students to study a range of topics as they developed their academic paths and to follow their intellectual passions.

“By the end of my time at COA, I knew that if I chased my curiosity wherever it lead, asked detailed questions, paid close attention to others, and searched for the specific interest in everything…interdisciplinary magic would unfailingly yield itself,” he said.  “If you resist the idea of single self, you will end up with far more than a title—you will have a capacious life.”

College of the Atlantic President Dr. Darron Collins '92 highlights the creation of three new working groups to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the COA community at COA's 2018 Convocation ceremony.College of the Atlantic President Dr. Darron Collins '92 highlights the creation of three new working groups to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the COA community at COA's 2018 Convocation ceremony.

Convocation took place within the framework of COA’s first All College Meeting (ACM) of the fall term. Ky Osguthorpe ’19 moderated the proceedings.

College of the Atlantic is premised on the belief that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is to enabling students to actively shape the future. COA is a leader in experiential learning and environmental stewardship, and was named the #1 Green College in the U.S. by The Princeton Review and the Sierra Club in 2016 and 2017. Every COA student designs their own major in human ecology—which integrates knowledge from across academic disciplines and seeks to understand and improve the relationships between humans and their natural, built, and social environments—and sets their own path toward a degree.