BAR HARBOR — A total of 77 students from 16 nations and 23 states are among those set to graduate from College of the Atlantic (COA) this Saturday as the coastal Maine institution holds its 2015 commencement.

The keynote speaker is internationally-renowned author and social activist Naomi Klein, whom The New Yorker called “the most visible and influential figure on the American left.” Her latest book, the New York Times bestselling This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, has been featured on The Colbert Report and Real Time with Bill Maher and has been profiled in Vogue and other publications.

Educators, entrepreneurs, biologists, artists and organic farmers are among the candidates for 75 Bachelor of Arts and two Master of Philosophy degrees in COA’s one major, Human Ecology. Awards received by students during their time at the school include a Fulbright Scholarship, several Garden Club of America Scholarships, and a Project for Peace award. COA’s founding president, Ed Kaelber, will serve as the 2015 grand marshall.

Receiving honorary degrees this year are Klein, Robert Kates, Ph.D, and Polly Guth. Kates is an American geographer and Professor Emeritus at Brown University. He helped establish the international Initiative for Science and Technology for Sustainability, was executive editor of Environment magazine for many years, and is still a Senior Associate at Harvard University. Now a resident of Trenton, Kates is Presidential Professor of Sustainability Science at the University of Maine, Orono.

Mrs. Guth, together with her late husband, John, established two charitable funds, the Woodcock Foundation and the Partridge Foundation. Both have generously supported visionary programs that address childhood obesity, Maine’s need for young farmers, and education and training curricula that help young people “get dirt under their fingernails.” Guth has worked closely with the New York Women’s Foundation, Planned Parenthood of New York City, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the College of the Atlantic, The Island Institute, and many other organizations.

Klein will be introduced by graduating senior and Davis United World College Scholar Adrian Fernandez Jauregui, while student perspectives will be shared by Nimishi Bastedo, Khristian Mendez, and Eliza Oldach. Shira Catlin will welcome the students along with President Darron Collins and Chair of the Board of Trustees, Will Thorndike.

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 sourced locally. Leftover food from the celebration is delivered to a local food pantry and shelter, and all food waste is composted.

The commencement ceremony begins at 2 p.m., on the north lawn of COA’s Eden Street campus. The event is open to the public.

College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential educations and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning – human ecology – that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world. For more information, visit coa.edu.


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