In June, Unity College received a game-changing gift of Sky Lodge, a historic sporting camp and sixteen other buildings sitting on more than 150 acres in the Moose River Valley that will help the College expand its real-world learning experiences for students. On Friday, Sept. 7, hundreds of Unity College students, faculty and staff, elected officials, and community members will get to explore the site for the first time since it became a Unity College property. All are invited, as the College and Moose River Valley community will celebrate Unity College: Sky Lodge with a ribbon cutting.
“This is a momentous occasion for all of us here at Unity College. We’re looking forward to working very closely with the Moose River Valley community and getting to know residents and officials from the area even better at this event on September 7,” said Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, President of Unity College. “Sky Lodge is an incredibly generous gift from Elaine and John Couri, and I cannot thank them enough. Where other schools learn from models within a classroom, Unity College: Sky Lodge offers our students a chance to conduct field research or actually run a sustainable business. It will be an invaluable experience for students as they enter the workforce or pursue an advanced degree.”
The ribbon-cutting event will feature tours of the lodge; a look inside the historic train and car museums, a barbecue, and a festival including popcorn, maple cotton candy, and ice cream; kite flying; lawn games; guided trail walks; bike rides; student presentations; and music from Ted Bither and The Boys Country Band.
Sen. Angus King visited the lodge with college officials in June after delivering the commencement address at Forest Hills High School.
“When it comes to learning a new industry, there’s no teacher quite like experience,” said Sen. King. “The addition of Sky Lodge to Unity College’s tourism and recreation curriculum will give our young people the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to the real world by practicing hospitality management, building trails, studying the ecosystem and learning about Maine’s place as an international tourism destination. And as someone who has stayed at Sky Lodge, I can attest firsthand to its importance to the region. I want to express my gratitude to John and Elaine Couri for investing in our young people – these students are Maine’s future, and their success is vital for communities across our state.”
“Sky Lodge is such an exciting, unique opportunity for Unity College,” said House Majority Leader Erin Herbig, D-Belfast. “The partnerships that Unity College develops in Waldo County and now in the Moose River Valley benefit its students while also making our communities stronger and our state’s economic future brighter.”
“Sky Lodge is going to greatly expand a student’s ability to make learning experiential as the epitome of Maine’s outdoor classroom,” said Jordan Baker (‘20), President of Unity College’s Student Government Association. “It has the potential to offer wonderful opportunities to students looking to live and work in that environment while attending and even after graduating from Unity College.”
Built in 1929 as a sporting getaway for an executive from Port Chester, New York, and then purchased and renamed “Sky Lodge” by two former WWII airmen in the 1940s, the main lodge has been lovingly restored over the past decade to its original state. Other amenities on the more than 150 acres include a conference center, contemporary cabins for rental, a swimming pool, an antique auto museum, a model railroad museum, and ski trails. Outdoor activities nearby include hiking, golfing, biking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hunting, whitewater rafting, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and more.
The ribbon-cutting event begins at 11 a.m. Friday, September 7, and members of the media are invited to attend.