The senior administrator, attorney, poet, and instructor who helped Unity College to become the first institution in the United States to have sustainability science as its focus will soon see her first book-length manuscript in print.

Moon Pie Press and Maine Poetry Central have announced Michele Leavitt the winner of the 2013 Michael Macklin First Book Award competition. Her chapbook, The Glass Transition, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2010.

Her poems and prose have appeared in periodicals including So to Speak, The Journal, Mezzo Cammin, Passager, The Lyric, and Platte Valley Review.  Publication of her winning manuscript Back East is set for October 2013, and Maine Poetry Central will assist the author in coordinating a series of readings throughout New England.

“Michele Leavitt uses the finite resources of poetry—rhythm, form, word choice, sound—to create infinite effects,” noted Baron Wormser, the judge of the pool of finalists.  “Her touch is light but reverberant. She has been around numerous blocks and is not only sadder and wiser, but more present to the tragicomedy of transience. This is the real thing—intelligence and feeling working together in genuine concert.”

Leavitt currently serves as an Adjunct Instructor in Unity College’s Center for Environmental Arts and Humanities.  She also serves as a Special Assistant for College Outreach in the Development department.

A transformative figure at the College, Leavitt has previously served in several high-profile interim roles as the College developed its sustainability science focus, a factor in its growing national profile and large incoming class.  She served as Interim Vice President for Advancement and Interim Director of Admissions, among other senior leadership roles that drew from her wide array of skills.

“The entire Unity College community is elated with this latest achievement by Michele Leavitt,” noted Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, Senior Vice President for External Affairs.  “Michele embodies the essence of this institution’s environmental mission and values.  Her positive impact on this community is incalculable.  She is an artist of significance and a role model for Unity College students.”

In recent years Unity College has gained national attention for a variety of achievements including: its focus on sustainability science, the leading-edge of 21st century ecological problem solving and the vanguard in the fight for the mitigation of global climate change; its ground-breaking “green” innovations such as the award-winning TerraHaus, the first student residence on a college or university campus built to the Passive House standard, the most energy efficient building standard in the world; and for being the first college in the United States to divest from investments in fossil fuels, igniting a growing national movement in higher education. Unity College has repeatedly received superior placement in the Washington Monthly magazine annual college rankings, including being named among the top baccalaureate colleges in 2013.

Unity College is a private college in rural Maine that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity College graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013