Acadia Senior College

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Board of Directors

* Michael Hastings, President
* Candy Emlen, Vice President
* Jim Vekasi, Treasurer
* Dixie Hathaway, Secretary
Rick Bernstein
Art Blank
Richard Cohen
Lisa Crockett
Patsy Fogarty
Cynthia Livingston
Dan McKay
Ellie Pancoe
Steve Powell
* Jack Russell
Kathleen Slack
Mary Vekasi
* Executive Committee Members
2024-2025 Board Meeting Schedule
July 19, 2024
October 18, 2024
January 17, 2025
March 7, 2025, Executive Committee Meeting
April 18, 2025
May 16, 2025 (budget review)
June 4, 2025 (following Annual General Meeting)

2024-2025 Board Members

Rick Bernstein  Rick earned a BA degree in psychology from Boston University and a Master’s degree in health services administration from Arizona State University, followed by an administrative residency and post-graduate fellowship at St. Anthony Medical Center in Columbus, OH.  After a 36 year career, including 18 years as CEO of his own consulting firm, he retired to MDI along with his wife, Heather, in 2021.  Rick is on the board of directors for Community Health & Counseling Services, volunteers with the Jesup Library, and sponsors Pay it Forward initiatives with the YWCA of MDI and with other community organizations.  You can often find Rick on the beautiful trails of MDI.

Art Blank – Art lives in Bar Harbor with his wife Debi. He served as President/CEO of MDI Hospital since 1999 until his retirement at the end of 2020. Prior to accepting this role, he served for nearly two years as president of the MDI Community Health Plan, and director of Physician Practices for the Mount Desert Island Regional Health Care Corporation. Throughout his career he advocated for development of rural health systems and universal access to care. Prior to moving to MDI, Art worked as a senior consultant for Northland Health Group, and as executive director of Northeast MSO in Bangor, ME. Art is currently Chair of the MDI YMCA Board of Directors, Vice Chair of the Board of Healthy Acadia and is a member of the MDI Rotary. He has served as Chair of the Board of the Maine Hospital Association and Chair of the Good Will-Hinckley Home Association. Art has a BA in business administration from Boston University. He and Debi enjoy travel, spending time with children and grandchildren, and spending time outdoors. 

Richard Cohen – Richard grew up in New Jersey, earned a BA from Princeton and an LLB from Yale, practiced law, and rose to become a judge on the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division. He and his family have been coming to MDI since 1978 and he and his wife Pamela retired here in 2017. Richard has taught several courses for ASC. His ongoing passions include basset hounds, wooden boats, music, baking bread, and studying our national history.

Lisa Crockett – After one year of college, Lisa moved to NYC and began a five-year stint at the Museum of Modern Art. She began her Antarctic path in 1980, working in a support capacity, and later as a scientist at McMurdo Station. During graduate training at the University of Maine with Dr. Bruce Sidell, she studied metabolic cold adaptation in Antarctic fishes while working at Palmer Station (1986-1991), where she met her husband, the oceanographer Pat Hassett. Lisa became a faculty member at Ohio University and taught biological chemistry, animal physiology, and the physiological ecology of climate change. During their years in Athens (Ohio), Lisa and Pat worked for more than 20 summers as investigators at the MDI Biological Lab. Between 2011-2017, Lisa co-led an international team in Antarctica to work on the physiological and biochemical underpinnings of thermal tolerance in Antarctic fishes. Now retired, Lisa has continued recent work funded by the National Science Foundation to explore the value of a digital hub for an Antarctic biorepository to enable more researchers access to valuable Antarctic specimens. She and Pat taught their first class at Acadia Senior College (Antarctica: Exploration, Governance, Natural History, and Challenges) in the winter term of 2024.

Candy Emlen (Vice President) – Candy was Director of Marketing & Sales for a small commuter airline in Pennsylvania before moving to Mount Desert Island in 1983. She and her husband Jay operated Mount Desert Travel for three years. In 1989 Candy began working for the Southwest Harbor Public Library as the Children's Librarian and in 2002 she was promoted to Director. She retired in 2018 but continues to volunteer for the Library.

Patsy Fogarty – Patsy has a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Columbia University and had a long career in human services, originally in psychosocial counseling and then in executive positions for United Way. After retirement, she served on the board of the Darien Council for Aging and on the board of SoundWaters, an environmental education organization, both based in Connecticut. She and her husband Ed moved to MDI in 2006 where she became active in her church and on the board of the Southwest Harbor Public Library, which she eventually chaired until becoming chairman of the Maine Seacoast Mission. More recently she has been active with the Westside Food Pantry, the Library, the Mission, and the board of her Wellesley class, of which she is co-chair.

Michael Hastings (President) – Mike is a native of Morrill, Maine, near Belfast. He is a graduate of Tilton School (NH) and Bowdoin College (ME). He worked on the staff of two U.S. Senators from Maine, managed development programs in Africa, and administered research programs on environmentally-sustainable aquaculture. Prior to his retirement in 2017, he was Director of Sponsored Programs for the University of Maine and a Cooperating Faculty Member in the Maine Business School. In addition to serving on ASC's board, he is also a member of Jesup Memorial Library's Board of Directors.

Dixie Hathaway (Secretary) – Dixie grew up in Missoula, Montana, and has lived in Iowa City, Baton Rouge, and Ithaca, New York, where she completed her law degree at Cornell. Dixie retired from her work as legislative counsel for the Comptroller of New York State, and before that for the New York City Comptroller. Her work primarily involved drafting and advocating for bills dealing with New York's pension systems, local government functions, and State Finance law. She regularly walks and hikes in Acadia National Park, and volunteers with the Bar Harbor Historical Society, Serendipity (BH Food Pantry), and the Wild Gardens of Acadia.

Cynthia Livingston – Cynthia's professional background has been primarily in organizational development and human resources management for both profit and non-profit organizations. With a partner, she founded a consulting practice called Cambio International, a management consulting practice with a focus on intercultural and change management. She has served on the executive boards of the Schoodic Institute and the Abbe Museum, has been a business coach for SCORE and was a member of the American Planning Board of Humanity in Action (HIA). She lives in Mount Desert with her husband Hank Schmelzer.

Dan McKay – Dan practiced law for over 40 years at the Maine law firm of Eaton Peabody and served for 17 years as its managing partner. He concentrated his practice on the representation of business entities and financial institutions in a variety of transactional matters and served as general outside corporate counsel to clients of all sizes in a variety of business sectors. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Maine Seacoast Mission, and is a member of the board of directors of the Heron Foundation, a private foundation with national reach and a mission to empower positive change in underserved rural communities. He also serves as chairman of the Town of Mount Desert Economic Development. Dan lives in Northeast Harbor with his wife Nancy.

Ellie Pancoe – Ellie is a New Englander born and bred. She has a BA in comparative literature from Mount Holyoke College and earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Maine. She was a therapist with MDI Hospital's Behavioral Health Center and later settled into a very satisfying private practice. She contiues her professional commitments by serving on the board of Acadia Hospital. Now retired, you can find Ellie in her quilting studio, or behind her camera somewhere in the Park. She has co-taught a course on Football for Women for ASC, and has taken numerous classes.

Steve Powell – Steve received a BA from Greensboro College in North Carolina, and developed a passion for opera at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC while living in northern New Jersey. He moved to MDI in 1982 to create an antiquarian crime-mystery-detective book business which garnered a worldwide clientele and eventually led to a brick & mortar store in Hulls Cove in 2009. He has been active with the MDI Rotary Club, worked with the Bar Harbor Food Pantry, and taught many courses for ASC on books adapted for cinema and the history of American Cinema.

Jack Russell – Jack was born and raised on Mount Desert Island, attending school here through his freshman year in high school. He later attended Phillips Exeter, Marlboro College, Brown University, and the Union Graduate School at Antioch. He was active in the civil rights and anti-war movements in the 1960s and moved to Detroit in 1971 where he became an expert on the American auto industry and was staff to the Detroit City Council and the Michigan Senate. Since then Jack has continued to direct his energies to a half-century as a community organizer, policy analyst, organizational leader, and single-shingle consultant. Since returning to MDI in 2006, he has worked on conservation, written on national and local politics and regional history, and in 2016 was co-chair of Acadia Centennial Task Force. Jack has offered several ASC courses on Acadian and Island history, Walden, and Moby Dick, and offered several Food for Thought and Coffee Clash presentations.

Kathleen Slack – Kathleen retired from teaching at Mount Desert Island High School in June 2018 after teaching Family and Consumer Science for 29 years in Maine, Ohio, and New Jersey. She was born in Dover, NH, and grew up in Lynn, MA. She was educated in Catholic schools and graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is a member of the Conservation Commission for the town of Southwest Harbor and serves on the Women’s History Month Committee at the Southwest Harbor Library. She has also served on the ASC Racial Justice Committee.

Jim Vekasi (Treasurer) – Jim moved to MDI in 1991 to work in Acadia National Park and it has become home. Since retirement in 2011, he has been active in Acadia Senior College, Southwest Harbor Public Library, and Wendell Gilley Museum. His Civil Engineering practice in the private sector, Peace Corps, and National Park Service took him to Michigan, the Kingdom of Tonga, Colorado, Montana, and Maine culminating with twenty years managing the construction and maintenance program in Acadia National Park. He is an avid bird carver and plays mandolin and sings as often as possible with various folks including the bands Leavin’ Tulsa and Big Moose.

Mary Vekasi – Mary grew up in Michigan, earned a degree in elementary education from Central Michigan University, and taught all over the globe from Michigan, to the Kingdom of Tonga (with the Peace Corps), to Montana, to Maine, and retired in 2008. Since then she has been active with ASC in both teaching and learning.