The first college in the United States to adopt sustainability science as its unifying focus has been named among the nation’s most distinctive.

Unity College, known as America’s Environmental College, has been honored as a College of Distinction for the 2013-2014 school year. The College of Distinction designation is given to select schools to honor their excellence in student-focused higher education. Unity College was found to excel in all Four Distinctions and will receive a personal profile on the Colleges of Distinction™ website.

Colleges of Distinction™ is a web-based guide for high school juniors and seniors seeking a school that is nationally recognized and highly recommended by professionals in the field of education. Colleges and universities are nominated for participation by high school counselors, and then evaluated using qualitative and quantitative research. Schools selected must excel in the following four areas: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes. The colleges and universities are not ranked and instead are members of a consortium of other equally impressive schools.

“We focus on colleges that are the best places to learn, grow and succeed,” said Tyson Schritter, executive editor of Colleges of Distinction. “Schools designated as ‘Colleges of Distinction’ create well-rounded graduates and are among the very best in the country.”

To view Unity College’s profile or to find more information about the online guide visit

Unity’s focus on sustainability science, the leading-edge of trans-disciplinary (collaborative) environmental problem solving, ensures that graduates have a flexible, broad set of skills that employers find immediately valuable.

A key aspect of Unity’s hands-on approach to environmental education is to ensure that students develop a catalog of real world skills.  These skills are immediately applicable to the growing green jobs market and most pressing environmental problems of the 21st century, including the mitigation of global climate change.

“When a Unity College graduate strides across the stage at commencement to accept his or her diploma, that individual is prepared for their fifth job after graduation, not just their first,” noted Stephen Mulkey, President.  “Graduates are committed to a life in service to the natural world.  They have also pursued many community-oriented projects as part of their undergraduate work, since community service is a core value at the College.  Unity graduates are well prepared for their careers from day one.  Because they received a science-based education rooted in the liberal arts, graduates are positioned to become environmental leaders who address every conceivable sustainability challenge facing humanity.”

Service is a critically important part of the Unity College experience.

Being named a College of Distinction has been characterized by members of the College community as a reflection of the daily efforts of many.

“This is a distinct and appropriate honor for Unity College because the focus of Colleges of Distinction is not on fame or endowment, but on which colleges are the best places to learn, grow, and succeed,” said Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, Senior Vice President for External Affairs.  “Our community of wise environmental stewards, scholars, teachers and learners is infused with a commitment to personal growth.  As such, members of this community are focused on sustainability science as a means to ensure a prosperous, sustainable future.  At Unity College, providing students with a superior outcomes-based, broad experiential education takes on heightened importance because graduates will provide the knowledge, insights, creativity, and solutions necessary to ensure that our natural resources will support humanity in perpetuity.

In recent years Unity College has gained national attention for a variety of achievements including its focus on sustainability science; 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 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.

About Colleges of Distinction
Colleges of Distinction is a website dedicated to honoring schools nationwide for their excellence in student-focused higher education. offers dynamic college profiles and easy-to-use search tools for students, parents, and counselors. The website includes tips from high school guidance counselors, essays from college students, presidents and other members of campus communities. Schools are selected based on college counselor recommendations and research, and evaluated on excellence in the Four Distinctions: student engagement, quality of teaching, vibrancy of the college community and success of graduates.

Thursday, July 25, 2013