Andy Griffiths, Unit 501, was honored last Friday for his administrative leadership at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, ME. COA has a unique mission within the realm of higher education: College of the Atlantic enriches the liberal arts tradition through a distinctive educational philosophy — human ecology. A human ecological perspective integrates knowledge from all academic disciplines and from personal experience to investigate — and ultimately improve — the relationships between human beings and our social and natural communities.
Last week’s celebration in Andy’s honor was at the conclusion of his service as an interim president of the college. He will return to his post as Administrative Dean, a position that he has held for the last seven years. Prior to joining COA, Andy served Chief Financial Officer at WGBH in Boston for twenty five years.
Here are excerpts from a COA Press Release.
ANDY GRIFFITHS, 6TH PRESIDENT CELEBRATED
Called ‘one of most important COA presidents’
College of the Atlantic honored its sixth president, Andy Griffiths, in a series of celebrations this month. Griffiths, COA’s administrative dean, led the college for over half a year between the retirement of David Hales and the arrival of COA’s seventh president, alumnus Darron Collins, who began July 15.
At COA, the college community gathered to thank Griffiths for his leadership during this transitional time. Dean of Development Lynn Boulger noted that a member of the board of trustees called Griffiths one of the most important presidents in COA’s history. “The interim period between one president, and not having a formal president could have been tumultuous,” she said. Instead, Boulger noted, the college has raised more money under Griffiths’ leadership than it has in any other six-month period during her time at COA. “It’s a huge vote of support,” she added.
One of those supporters was trustee Jay McNally, a 1984 graduate. “I think retrospectively we’ll look at this time as one of the high points of the college,” he said. At a separate celebration, Bill Foulke, who chairs the trustee board, mentioned Griffiths’ judgment, curiosity, intelligence, and capacity for analysis. “He uses graciousness as a great strength,” said Foulke, adding that Griffiths illustrates the maxim, “There is no limit to the amount you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
“Andy is so much more to this college than interim president. He is a friend, a mentor, and an educator,” added third-year student Cayla Moore at the community gathering. She recalled that in the discussions prior to choosing a new president the importance of an open door was stressed. “Andy has much more than an open door – he has an open mind.”
Moore also mentioned a conversation she had recently with Griffiths. Leading COA, he said to her, “‘isn’t running a business, or running an institution. It’s running a family.'” Added Moore, “I think that’s how we feel about him, as a family member.” Acknowledgements were also given to Griffiths’ wife, Susan Dowling.
Griffiths, who will remain at the college in his role as administrative dean, closed the short ceremony by recalling how he came to COA seven years ago after serving as CFO of WGBH in Boston for nearly twenty-five years. Having completed a complicated real estate transaction at the public broadcasting company, Griffiths felt that it was time to move on, though he wasn’t quite ready to retire. He told a friend who runs an executive search firm. “If you run across a nonprofit where I might be useful, where I would learn something, that would be idealistic-” As smiles of recognition crossed the hallway, Griffiths continued, “Like everybody here, I feel that I can contribute something, and I’m still learning a great deal.”