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Colby is a coeducational, residential undergraduate liberal arts college that confers the bachelor of arts degree. Chartered in 1813, Colby is the 12th-oldest independent liberal arts college in the nation. In 1871 it became the first previously all-male college in New England to admit women. Before World War II trustees voted to move the College from its original site in downtown Waterville to the 714-acre Mayflower Hill campus, where more than 60 buildings have been constructed since 1937. In 2004 Colby completed the Colby Green, a new campus district created to accommodate academic and administrative buildings.
The Colby experience is characterized by intellectual challenge, active community life, and connections to the world. Academics are the core of Colby, and excellence in undergraduate education is the College's central mission. Colby combines academic challenge with a rich student life that offers countless opportunities to participate in and to lead organizations as well as venues for volunteer work and civic engagement. Students choose from some 500 courses in 53 major fields and have wide flexibility in designing independent study programs, electing special majors, and participating in internships and exchange programs.
Colby values understanding of and concern for others, diversity of thought and culture, open access to campus groups and organizations, and personal and academic honesty. Members of the College community bear a special responsibility, in all of their words and actions, to honor and protect the rights and feelings of others.
Today Colby's 1,800 students, evenly divided between men and women, come from virtually every state and more than 65 foreign countries. In 2005 Colby was presented the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization, recognizing its emphasis on study abroad programs, the international diversity of the student body and faculty, and the ways global issues permeate the curriculum. The College is a leader in environmental awareness and has won environmental awards for its commitment to sustainable practices on campus, including an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Merit Award and two Maine Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence.
Alumni, now numbering more than 23,700, are represented in 74 foreign countries, all 50 states, and in the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Alumni remain engaged with the College through alumni programs, affinity groups, and a directory and related services online, all offered by the Office of Alumni Relations.