Endowed Faculty Chairs

College of the Atlantic strives to continuously improve the standards by which we measure academic excellence. Endowing faculty chairs is one way we accomplish this goal.

Establishing faculty chairs allows COA to compensate a faculty member through an endowed funding stream, thus ensuring the long-term importance of a resource area such as arts and design, environmental sciences or human studies. Donors can work with COA to create an endowed chair in honor of in memory of a family or loved one.

We have two levels for establishing an endowed chair:
1. Endow a chair in an established discipline — $1,250,000
2. Endow a chair in a new discipline* — $2,500,000

*Academic priorities for new disciplines are set by the college.

Current Fundraising Priorities

The Allan Stone Chair in the Visual Arts
Goal: $2,500,000, left to raise: $750,000
Art has a special value at College of the Atlantic. The College studies the relationships among humans and the environment, the interactions of the natural world, the social and cultural worlds, and the world of creation and imagination. At College of the Atlantic, Art is not a special course of study oriented to a few and imposed on many; it is a fundamental element of our educational philosophy and our lives. The creation of the Allan Stone Chair underscores our belief that the creative is essential to understanding, and endless source of insight and joy.

The Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Chair in Earth Systems and GeoSciences
Goal: $2,500,000, left to raise: $1,000,000
There has never been a more important time to understand the dynamics of earth science and global systems. Not a day goes by without media coverage or new research illustrating the ways physical and chemical processes are shaping our environment, how the physical environment is affecting life, and how humans affect the physical environment.

COA wants to add this new discipline to offer students field-based courses and labs in geology and earth sciences. COA is particularly interested in helping our students understand climate science, earth systems and the environment, environmental chemistry, and energy and natural resources. Other areas of critical interest for the challenges of this century will include a background in soil science, bio-geosciences, paleo-biology, meteorology, hydrology, and oceanography.

This new position is essential to keep our curriculum relevant and help students acquire the knowledge and skills which will be of increasing importance in the decades ahead.

Named Faculty Chair Funds

Richard J. Borden Chair in the Humanities
Richard Borden joined the COA faculty in 1983, served as academic dean for over two decades, and was instrumental in developing the breadth of humanities offerings at COA as well as establishing the international Society for Human Ecology. John Visvader, longtime faculty member in philosophy, is the inaugural holder of the Richard J. Borden Chair in the Humanities. A strong unifying voice for interdisciplinary, intellectually rich, and socially significant thought and deeds, Visvader hosts COA’s weekly Human Ecology Forum, offering a range of discourse in science, international politics, the humanities, and the arts.

Rachel Carson Chair in Human Ecology
Rachel Carson revolutionized ecological thought and inspired the environmental movement. Her five books combined lyric prose, solid scientific research, and reverence for life and the natural world. In 1962 Carson’s book Silent Spring brought to public attention for the first time the harmful environmental consequences of widespread pesticide use, and she withstood public attack to call for new public policies to protect human health and the environment. Biologist, ecologist, writer, and public citizen, Rachel Carson inspired new directions in environmental thinking — thinking that forms the cornerstone of a College of the Atlantic education. This chair was established in 1998 and the current holder is Dr. Rich Borden.

William H. Drury, Jr. Chair in Evolution, Ecology and Natural History
Professor William Holland Drury, Jr. was one of a handful of distinguished professors of natural history who left Harvard University in the late 1970s to teach at the newly forming College of the Atlantic. The William H. Drury Chair was established in 2002 with contributions from many people, including Bill Drury’s family, friends and former students. The Drury Chair was intended to support the work of a teacher and researcher who would continue the legacy of Bill Drury’s work on conserving and managing natural populations and communities on Maine’s islands and coast. The current chair holder is Dr. John Anderson.

Charles Eliot Chair in Ecological Planning, Policy & Design
This Chair was endowed in honor the landscape architect and environmentalist, Charles Eliot, who was the first to analyze landscapes as layers of cultural, economic, and ecological systems, to devise scientific methods for recording them, and to implement political measures for conserving them. The establishment of the Chair signifies the College’s commitment to collaborative and interdisciplinary scholarship in all realms of environmental policy, planning and design, incorporating the arts, sciences and humanities. The current holder of the Eliot Chair is Dr. Isabel Mancinelli.

Steven K. Katona Chair in Marine Studies
The Steven K. Katona Chair advances research and monitoring work in the field of marine studies. The Katona Chair was established in 2006 upon Steve Katona’s retirement as College of the Atlantic’s fourth president. The chair honors his 34-year commitment to the College as a scientist, faculty member, founder of Allied Whale, and COA president. The Katona Chair is awarded to a faculty member who has made valuable contributions to her or his discipline in the field of marine studies and who is dedicated to the spirit of College of the Atlantic. The current chair holder is Dr. Sean Todd.

Elizabeth Battles Newlin Chair in Botany
Established in 1997, through the generosity of the family of Elizabeth Battles Newlin, a longtime summer resident on Mt. Desert, as a tribute to her love for growing things and in celebration of the college’s 25th Anniversary. The Newlin Chair was the College’s first endowed professorship. The current chair holder is Dr. Suzanne Morse.

The Partridge Chair in Food and Sustainable Agriculture Systems
This chair was established through The Partridge Foundation. The inaugural holder is Dr. Molly Anderson.

The David Rockefeller Family Chair in Ecosystem Management and Protection
This endowed faculty chair is made possible by a gift from David Rockefeller. The inaugural holder is Kenneth Scott Cline, JD.

Sharpe-McNally Chair in Green and Socially Responsible Business
The Sharpe-McNally Chair in Green and Socially Responsible Business is named for three people whose commitment and dedication of the college has been transformative: Henry and Peggy Sharpe and Jay McNally. Henry is a Life Trustee of the College and owner of Brown & Sharpe, the world’s largest metrology group. Peggy has provided volunteer leadership for environmental organizations including The Nature Conservancy and the Conservation Law Foundation. Jay McNally, a COA graduate, founded Ibis Consulting, Inc, a pioneering firm in the electronic discovery industry. The chair was established to help future business leaders leverage the power of environmentally- and socially-focused strategies to bring about positive change in the world, while also gaining competitive advantage. The current chair holder is Jay Friedlander.

Lisa Stewart Chair in Literature and Women’s Studies
The Lisa Stewart Chair in Literature and Women’s Studies was given in memory of the William P. Stewart’s daughter who was a friend of the College. Inaugural chair holder, Dr. Karen Waldron, holds a PhD in English and American literature and an MA in Women’s Studies, both from Brandeis University. She also holds an MA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her BA, from Hampshire College, was in literature and philosophy. Prior to coming to COA, Waldron taught in Massachusetts as a visiting assistant professor at Brandeis University in English and American literature, and Women’s Studies, and as a lecturer in English at Boston College. Her scholarly publications span concepts from literary ecology to Jewish women, and authors from William Faulkner to Leslie Marmon Silko. Since coming to COA in 1995, Waldron has taught a wide range of courses in literature, women’s studies, human studies, and more. Her courses include African American Literature, City/Country: American Literary Landscapes, Cross-Cultural Fictional Narratives by Women, Feminist Thought, Literature, Science and Spirituality, Native American Literature, and Nature of Narrative. Waldron has also held several administrative positions at COA, serving as associate dean for academic affairs from 1998 to 2003 before becoming associate dean for faculty, a position she held until 2008. From 2003 to 2006, Waldron also served as academic dean.

The Allan Stone Chair in the Visual Arts
The establishment of the Allan Stone Chair in the Visual Arts underscores our belief that the creative arts are essential to understanding the relationships between humans and their environments, as well an endless source of insight and joy. The chair is established in memory of Allan Stone by his family. An attorney by education and trade, Allan became active in the art world — first, by dispensing free legal advice to artists. He abandoned his law career to open the Allan Stone Gallery in New York which was known for exhibiting emerging artists. He was an expert on the Abstract Expressionists Willem de Kooning and Arshile Gorky among others. The current chair holder is Dr. Catherine Clinger.

James Russell Wiggins Chair in Government and Polity
This endowed chair honors the memory of James Russell Wiggins, whose career included a distinguished 20-year tenure as managing editor of The Washington Post. After his retirement from the Post, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, followed by his final three decades as the owner and editor of The Ellsworth American. Russ Wiggins was an early Trustee of the College. The James Russell Wiggins Chair in Governance and Polity was established to advance the study of the history, philosophy and practical application of democratic forms. An associated fund is named for Philip Geyelin. The current holder of the chair is Dr. Jamie McKown.

Endowing Current Faculty

COA's goal is to endow two-thirds of our current faculty. We will work with a donor or donors to create an endowed professorship that reflects their interests and passions.


Opportunities exist in these areas:

  • Chemistry                        

  • Maths and Physics

  • Economics

  • Anthropology

  • International Studies

  • Peace and Justice Studies

  • Film

  • Horticulture

  • Biology

  • Music

  • Graphic Arts and Design

  • Creative Writing