UNITY — Unity College President Stephen Mulkey got a phone call last week from a lawyer asking him if he was sitting down.

The attorney went on to tell him that a Mainer who believes in Unity College’s mission of sustainability was donating $10 million to the college on Quaker Hill.

The gift is unprecedented in the college’s 45-year history and, according to Robert J. Constantine, Unity’s vice president for college advancement, will more than triple its existing endowment.

Constantine said the gift will create $500,000 in additional annual operating revenue.

Endowment gifts are investments in the college’s future, said Dr. Mulkey, who announced the gift Aug. 23, as part of his first State of the College address at the Unity Centre for the Performing Arts.

“The donor’s intent to provide unrestricted support comes with great responsibility,” said Mulkey. “Climate change is one of the gravest challenges we’ve faced and we have an ethical imperative to provide a 21st century approach to sustainability science and to include this in our curriculum.

“A gift like this allows us to adapt to the latest developments in sustainability science and sustainability studies, and to continually hone our curriculum,” said Mulkey.  “The annual draw from this gift will allow us to move forward strategically to prepare our students for the challenges and opportunities brought on by climate change and resource depletion.”

Mulkey, how has been on the job in Unity about six weeks, said a gift of this magnitude speaks highly to the work of everyone at Unity College. “It is a clear signal of the value of their efforts and the importance of the education Unity College provides,” he said.

Unity College, which bills itself as “America’s environmental college, was founded in 1965 on 225 wooded acres of farmland overlooking Unity Pond. It has about 500 students and 60 faculty. Majors include adventure education leadership, aquaculture and fisheries, wildlife care and education, conservation law enforcement, ecology, environmental policy and law, forestry, landscape horticulture, marine biology and sustainable design and technology.  

Beth Staples — 861-9252
[email protected]