Unity College is praising the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation for its generous gift helping boost student success at America’s Environmental College.
The Bangor Savings Bank Foundation awarded Unity College $50,000 to help complete the Collaborative Learning Center — a key piece of the college’s strategy to promote student success, particularly in the first two years of their residential experience.
College and bank officials cut the ribbon on the Collaborative Learning Center and Unity 3 residence hall — the school’s third and fourth new buildings in the last four years — at a public ceremony Sept. 23.
“Bangor Savings Bank has been a tremendous partner for the college as we continue to invest in student success and the residential experience here in Maine,” said Unity College Chief Fundraising Officer Erica Hutchinson. “The Collaborative Learning Center will help improve Unity College student graduation and retention rates, especially for first-generation students, low-income students, and students who come to Unity from all over the country.”
The Collaborative Learning Center contains two new classrooms — one with 24 seats and the other with 48 — and houses Unity College’s newly expanded student support program.
“We are pleased to help fund the construction of a new student success center,” said Carol Colson, Senior Vice President, Director of Marketing & Community Relations at Bangor Savings Bank. “This project meets The Foundation’s goals to support projects that will make our communities more prosperous, more livable, and more vibrant.”
“As we continue to transform our campus to bring the highest quality learning opportunities to our growing residential student body, we’re also adding value to the Unity College degree for our more than 4,000 alumni, not to mention dollars to the Maine economy,” Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury said. “The residential campus is the cornerstone of our unique place-based sustainability science education, and our new Collaborative Learning Center is going to help us continue to help make turn Maine from Vacationland into Educationland.”
The opening of Unity 3 and the Collaborative Learning Center represents the culmination of $20 million in student-facing campus improvements since 2012. The expansion has supported more than 200 construction jobs at one of the fastest growing private four-year liberal arts colleges in Maine. In the 2015-16 academic year alone, Unity College invested over $9 million in local vendors.
Projects over the last three years have included two $4.4 million fossil-fuel-free residence halls that opened in 2013 and 2014; a $1.1 million cafeteria expansion, completed in 2014; and, this year, renovations to an academic wing of the Student Activities Center, construction of a new outdoor deck and dining area, and the repurposing of two signature energy-efficient buildings into classroom and student life space.
Unity College welcomed 705 students this 2016-17 academic year, shattering its previous enrollment record of 638 students from Fall 2015 — a 10.5 percent year-over-year increase. Out-of-state Unity College students paid $10.1 million in tuition, fees, room and board in 2013-14, $10.6 million in 2014-15, and $13.1 million in 2015-16, and are projected to spend more than $13.2 million this academic year.