College of the Atlantic President Darron Collins '92 College of the Atlantic President Darron Collins ’92Presidential transitions are a natural and expected process for institutions of higher education, Collins said, and this is the right time for the college to embrace new leadership. He feels very positive, he said, about the direction that COA is headed.

“I can’t imagine a more challenging, more rewarding way to have spent the last decade-plus than as president of this incredible college, and I am grateful beyond words to have had this opportunity,” Collins said. “I’d like to thank our students, staff, faculty, family, alumni, supporters, and friends for working with me during this time to make COA an essential institution dedicated to the vibrancy of Mount Desert Island, the health of our planet, and a better path for our collective humanity. I am confident that COA has a very bright future ahead.”

The college, Collins said, has celebrated some major accomplishments during his 12+ years as president, including the completion of two successful capital campaigns, the most recent of which raised $55 million dollars, and the construction of three new buildings, including the innovative Davis Center for Human Ecology. The school has also doubled the amount of student housing available, been named the leading green college by Princeton Review from 2016-2023, brought artist Andy Goldsworthy and his Road Line to campus, and created the COA Summer Institute, now in its seventh year, Collins said.

“As proud as I am of all these accomplishments, none of them could have been achieved without the support and hard work of so many people both near and far,” Collins said. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much.”

The COA Board of Trustees will form a Presidential Search Committee, composed of faculty, students, staff, and trustees, to begin a search for a new president this year, Board chair Beth Gardiner said.

“Darron’s tenure here at COA has been a triumph in so many ways,” Gardiner said. “On behalf of the entire Board of Trustees, I want to express our deep gratitude for Darron’s service and to wish him the very best on his next adventure, wherever that may be.”

Collins is the first alumni president of College of the Atlantic, having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human ecology in 1992. He holds a master’s degree in Latin American studies and a PhD in anthropology from Tulane University. Collins previously worked for the World Wide Fund for Nature for ten years, ending as the managing director of creative assets. He became president of COA in 2011.