A total of 105 students, hailing from 18 countries and 22 states, will be welcomed to the College of the Atlantic community during a convocation ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 9. Scores of students, staff, faculty and alumni will swim from the Bar Island sandbar back to the COA dock following the ceremony, continuing a much-loved annual tradition.

Several days of orientation activities, including a sea kayaking trip, group bike ride and an outdoor movie, kick off Sunday.

International community

COA’s newest group of students comprises a strong international background, with students hailing from countries such as Hong Kong, Israel, Pakistan and Croatia. These students provide an incredible variety of perspectives, and help keep the community integrated to the world-at-large, said dean of admission Heather Albert-Knopp.  

“At COA we’re dealing with the issues facing the world, and these students bring perspectives from all around the world,” she said. “You really can’t study the world without having all of those global perspectives on different issues present on campus. It makes for a really rich community.”

Expeditionary funding

COA president Dr. Darron Collins ’92 said he was very excited for the new term. Collins plans to speak Wednesday about COA’s new expeditionary fund program, which provides $1,800 to each student to use for off-campus research, conferences, and course-related travel.

“This year’s incoming 105 students are extremely adventurous learners, just like the COA student pioneers of the previous 43 cohorts,” Collins said.  “We’ve created the expeditionary fund to recognize and fuel that sense of physical and intellectual adventure.”

Keynote speaker

This year’s keynote speaker is Amy Hoffmaster ’06. Hoffmaster, who holds a master’s degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, is the deputy director of program design at Citizen Schools. Her organization is re-imagining the middle school experience for low-income students, ensuring that each child has the academic support, hands-on learning experiences and mentorship required to combat pervasive opportunity gaps.

Of the 105 new students at COA this fall, 20 are transfers and 85 are first year. A total of 22 states are represented by the group, with many students hailing from Maine and New England and others from as far away as California. The average grade point average of the incoming students is 3.6.