Unity College President Melik Peter Khoury is shown outside Raymond Hall at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester in 2021. The school announced Monday that it has changed its name to Unity Environmental University. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald file

Unity College announced this week that it’s undergoing a “name augmentation” and the school is now called Unity Environmental University.

The school said in a news release Monday that the change reflects its “evolution into a multifaceted university.” As part of the rebranding effort the school has adopted a vision statement that asserts it is “recognized as the thought leader in global ecological, economic and societal solutions.”

The new name was approved by the state Department of Education and the New England Commission of Higher Education, the release said. The college said its new name will be phased in over the next several months, with signs and campus materials being altered through the early part of 2024.

For the last several years the school, founded in 1965, has worked to extend its reach beyond its campus in the Waldo County town of Unity. The school, which maintains a 225-acre campus in Unity, is now headquartered at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the financial consequences of it were still unclear, the college announced layoffs of 15% of its staff and considered the sale of some property, while saying it was embracing a “hybrid” model of its education programming.

The New Gloucester campus is aimed at creating a skilled workforce for careers that are expected to be plentiful in the next few decades, such as solar technicians and outdoor recreation specialists.


Unity President Melik Peter Khoury said in 2021 that the goal was to provide courses for those who are seeking special skills but not necessarily a four-year bachelor’s degree.

The university has built a distance learning program, which it relied on heavily to get it through the pandemic when students were learning remotely.

Khoury said at the time that the choice of New Gloucester for its southern Maine campus was carefully considered.

Administrators wanted a site that was easily accessible to Maine’s population center, so students from Portland, Lewiston/Auburn and New Hampshire could easily commute, he said. It’s also aimed at attracting those for whom a four-year residential college may offer too much — or carry too high a price tag and time commitment.

There are now more than 5,000 full-time students enrolled across all its programs, Unity spokesman Joe Hegarty said Tuesday.

The news release issued this week said the name change reflects an institution “that offers associate, baccalaureate, master’s degree programs, micro-credentials (and) noncredit courses.”

“We are thrilled to take this important step forward in our evolution as an institution dedicated to preparing students for careers in sustainability, environmental science and conservation,” Khoury said in the release. “This name better reflects who we are today as a multi-faceted institution that is committed to creating a better, more equitable world for future generations.”

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