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$1 Million Donation from Alumnus

Jay McNally '84 calls COA "most effective use" of his philanthropic funds
Friday, January 14, 2011 - campus-wide

Jay McNallyCalling College of the Atlantic a transformative experience, 1984 graduate Jay McNally has pledged one million dollars to his alma mater. This is the largest gift COA has received from an alumnus of the college, which first admitted students in 1972. McNally's gift is slated to enhance the college's endowment.

McNally credits COA for its powerful mentors who helped to shape, encourage, and challenge him. "College of the Atlantic had a profound impact on me," he said. "I was validated as a person, invited to grow intellectually, and surrounded by a community that was nurturing and supportive."

After graduating from COA, McNally created Ibis Consulting, an electronic data analytics company that was profiled by The New York Times for its role in investigating auditor Arthur Andersen, LLC's role in Enron Corporation's fraudulent acts. McNally views the broad perspective of human ecology as helping him to develop the innovative approaches to electronic data analysis that made Ibis Consulting such a successful firm.

"Fundamentally I think the world is a better place for having College of the Atlantic," said McNally, who has served as a trustee of the college since 2002, taking time off from the college's board to teach in the college's Sustainable Business Program. "A lot of my personal style was inherited from my experience here. It led to the way I managed people and interacted with them," added McNally, who is giving the gift with his wife, Jennifer, both Bar Harbor residents.

"As my wife and I began to craft our philanthropic plans it became clear that contributing to people who will go on to do good in the world is a high priority. We decided that giving to COA would be the most effective use of our dollars."

"We can't thank Jay enough for all that he has done and continues to do for the college - from this wonderful gift to his constant willingness to connect with students and assist staff and faculty," said Andy Griffiths, COA's interim president. "Jay's generosity is a powerful endorsement of the college's educational approach."

Having sold Ibis Consulting in 2006, McNally has been working to preserve farms, working forests, and other lands. He is managing director of Terra Capital Management and sits on the boards of College Unbound and Big Box Farms as well as the Mount Desert Island Committee of Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

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 environmental stewardship and experiential education, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning - human ecology - that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers who can lead all sectors of society to promote sustainable ecosystems while meeting compelling and growing human needs.

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