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COA Granted $500K for Sustainability

Sharpes endow staff sustainability position
Friday, April 8, 2011 - campus-wide

David Hales at his celebrationAt a celebration to commemorate outgoing College of the Atlantic President David F. Hales on Friday, April 8, the college announced a $500,000 gift to endow the sustainability coordinator in the president's name. The position will now be called the David F. Hales Sustainability Coordinator.

The gift, from life trustee Henry Sharpe and his wife Peggy Sharpe, is the first endowed staff position at the college. It will be held by COA's current sustainability consultant, Craig ten Broeck.

Hearing about the endowment, Hales commented, "Peggy and Henry Sharpe are two of my lifetime heroes. I love and admire them more than I have words to fully express. To be associated with them in any way is a pleasure; to have this permanent and meaningful association with them is a great honor."

David Hales with students Bo Dennis and Alicia HynesAt the ceremonies, COA senior Alicia Hynes spoke about the warmth and friendship Hales shared with students, saying, "From games of [the student-created] snakeball on the front lawn to haunting the boards of the stage in Gates, David has been passionately involved in what students are up to," adding, "I hope that the warmth and cheer David has brought to this campus continues to grow over the years and is not forgotten. I hope that the enthusiasm, respect and happiness David has kindled in his time here continue to be cultivated by his successor."

Academic Dean Ken Hill, who has called Hales "a visionary for the college and a mentor for me personally," spoke about the guidance he received from Hales, his sense of fun, as well as the president's insistence that "family comes first."

COA Board Chairman William G. Foulke opened the celebration by recounting the successes of Hales' five-year tenure at COA: increased endowment, increased applications, greater student body retention, new faculty chairs and faculty members, and increased visibility for this small college on the coast of Maine. Foulke closed the proceedings by reading a statement acknowledging Hales' sustainability commitments: "His efforts to make College of the Atlantic the first college in the United States to be carbon-neutral have earned COA international attention." In acknowledging the Sharpes' gift, Foulke continued, "Their generosity speaks for us all in recognizing David for his commitment to responsible stewardship of the college's resources and progress on sustainability issues both on campus and in the curriculum."

Henry Sharpe joined COA's board in 1992 and is now a lifetime trustee. He is the retired CEO and board chairman of Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Co., and a retired trustee of Phillips Exeter Academy and of Brown University, where he still serves as a member of the board of fellows. Peggy Sharpe was one of the founding members of the Rhode Island chapter of the Nature Conservancy and is a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The sustainability coordinator at COA ensures that the college works with students, staff, and faculty to continually find the best approaches to making the campus and its community more sustainable.   

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. It has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to undergraduate education - human ecology - that is especially well suited to developing the types of leaders needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing human needs of our world.

Photos: David Hales with students Bo Dennis and Alicia Hynes
David Hales addressing assembled members of the college community on Friday, April 8, 2011.

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