COA announces new dean of institutional advancement



Shawn Keeley
PHOTO COURTESY OF COA

BAR HARBOR — College of the Atlantic has named a new dean of institutional advancement. 

Over the past 20 years, Shawn Keeley has worked at the intersection of philanthropy and sustainability, helping organizations advance their missions through fundraising and strategic investments. Taking on this role at COA, he said, feels like coming back home. 

“COA had a profound impact on me as a student and while many aspects of the college have evolved with the times, the foundations of interdisciplinary education centered on the study of human ecology remain the same,” Keeley said. “It’s inspiring to be an active part of this learning community again, and to take a leadership role in writing its next chapter.” 

Keeley brings a wealth of experience and skill to his new role, and will greatly enhance the college’s leadership team, said COA President Darron Collins ’92. 

“We are so excited to have Shawn join COA as our dean of institutional advancement,” Collins said. “He has a deep understanding of fundraising and the aims of a human-ecological education, and an even deeper connection with the college and our sustainability-oriented mission.” 

Keeley, who started in his role in April, said that diving back into the life of the college and learning about student and faculty projects has been rewarding and exciting. 

“My role is to help secure the resources necessary for the college to fulfill its mission and deepen its impact in the world. That includes investments in the academic aspects of the college that allow students to study a wide range of disciplines and apply that learning to some of the biggest challenges of our times. I can think of no place I’d rather be putting my energy into right now,” he said. 

Keeley has served in several similar roles since graduating from COA in 2000. As the manager of private philanthropy at the Institute for Sustainable Communities in Vermont, he raised funds for international development projects focused on urban and industrial sustainability primarily in Southeast Asia. At the Green Mountain Club, also in Vermont, he was the director of development, helping to preserve, protect, and maintain Vermont’s Long Trail and conserved lands. Most recently, as the senior development officer at Friends of Acadia, he secured resources for a wide range of programs and initiatives to benefit Acadia National Park and surrounding communities.  

Keeley lives in Bar Harbor with his wife Sarah, who is also a COA graduate, and their two kids, Noah and Aliyah.  

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