Robin Wall Kimmerer, Ph.D.Robin Wall Kimmerer, Ph.D. Credit: Dale KakkakA total of 72 students from 20 states and 12 nations will graduate from College of the Atlantic on Saturday, June 6, beginning at 12 p.m. The ceremony will be live on

Future performers, educators, entrepreneurs, conservationists, writers, artists, scientists, and health and wellness practitioners are among the candidates for a bachelor of arts and a master of philosophy in COA’s one major, human ecology. Well-wishes for the graduating class can be shared here.

Kimmerer, this year’s keynote speaker and honorary degree recipient, is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and the founding director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.

COA Rachel Carson Chair in Human Ecology Richard Borden, Ph.D., who is retiring from teaching this spring after 31 years at the college, will provide a faculty address.

“More than any other institution I’ve been a part of, at COA we thrive on and celebrate one another’s triumphs and successes, and there is so much to be celebrated with the Class of 2020,” COA President Darron Collins ’92 said. “Although we will not be able to join with one another in person this year, we will do everything we can to make the day special and let our seniors know just how proud of them we are.”

Kimmerer will be introduced by senior Xaviera Stevens, of Denton, TX. Providing student perspectives will be seniors Rayna Joyce, of Ithaca, NY, and UWC Davis Scholars Priyamvada Chaudhary, of New Delhi, India and the UKand Sara Löwgren of Eksjö, Sweden. Collins will lead off the ceremony, which also includes COA Board of Trustees Chair Phil Moriarty.

College of the Atlantic Rachel Carson Chair in Human Ecology Richard Borden, Ph.DCollege of the Atlantic Rachel Carson Chair in Human Ecology Richard Borden, Ph.DThe commencement ceremony takes place online at and begins at 12 p.m. EDT. The event is open to the public.

Kimmerer is the the co-founder and past president of the Traditional Ecological Knowledge section of the Ecological Society of America and serves as a senior fellow for the Center for Nature and Humans. Her 2003 book, Gathering Moss, which incorporates both traditional indigenous knowledge and scientific perspectives, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for Natural History Writing. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants (2013) was awarded the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award.

Borden is one of COA’s longest-serving faculty members, having joined the faculty in 1979 and having served as COA’s academic dean for twenty years. His courses include psychology, community planning, and the history and philosophy of human ecology. Heserved as a United States Information Agency academic specialist in the area of human ecology and as an interdisciplinary program consultant in China, Russia and elsewhere in Europe and in North and South America and is past president and former executive director of the Society for Human Ecology. His books include Ecology and Experience: Reflections from a Human Ecological Perspective(2014), which received the Gerald L. Young Book Award.

College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 by Mount Desert Island residents on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is to enabling students to actively shape its future. The college’s transdisciplinary, non-departmental curriculum emphasizes individualized study, independent research, and real-world application of knowledge. Every COA student graduates with either a BA or MPhil in human ecology—the study of the relationships between humans and our natural, social, and built environments—but each student’s path to the degree is unique.