April 08, 2020

College of the Atlantic receives $1 million gift from benefactor> Newlin family donation will endow chair in botany

BAR HARBOR — College of the Atlantic annnounced Thursday it has received $1 million — one of its largest single gifts to date — to enhance its botany program, much of which has focused on the rare and endangered plants of coastal Maine.

The family of the late Elizabeth Battles Newlin, a longtime Northeast Harbor summer resident and COA benefactor, made the gift that will endow a chair in botany — the college’s first endowed professorship — to be named after her.

Dr. Craig Greene has been appointed to fill the Newlin chair for the next five years. He has taught botany at COA since 1980 and is a leading authority on reed grasses and the flora of Mount Desert Island. In addition, Greene has conducted several plant inventories in Acadia National Park. He is among the botanists who advise the Maine State Planning Office and has served as a consultant for the State of Maine Critical Areas Program.

As Newlin chair, Greene will present a lecture for the public each year; encourage students to do research in botany and related fields; and develop courses combining botany and other areas of the college’s human ecology curriculum.

The $1 million gift is one of many contributions the Newlin family has made to COA.

“Mrs. Newlin provided the funds to create the Newlin Gardens named for her late husband, E. Mortimer Newlin, and she supported scholarships for academically excellent and financially needy students,” COA President Steve Katona said Thursday.

William V.P. Newlin, a COA trustee, and his sister, Lucy Bell Sellers, who directs the college’s theater workshop, were pleased the chair in botany carries their mother’s name.

“At home or abroad, mother was always learning from landscapes,” Sellers said. “Wherever she lived, she was always making and tending gardens.”

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