Convinced of the intrinsic value of the Colby experience, determined to make the institution even better, and committed to expanding access to ever-stronger students regardless of their ability to pay, Colby kicked off Reaching the World: A Campaign for Colby, its most ambitious capital campaign ever, on October 22, 2005, with a weekend of campus events and festivities culminating in a dinner and dance in the Harold Alfond Athletic Center Saturday night. Kickoff events in Boston on January 20 and New York on January 26 will follow.
Co-chairing the new campaign are two members of the Board of Trustees, Larry Pugh '56 and Bob Diamond '73. At the top of the list of campaign priorities is ensuring that Colby remains a school of opportunity—one that can help any student who meets the admissions standards afford the cost of attending. "We need to strengthen our resources for need-based financial aid," said President William Adams. "We need to up Colby's commitment to equity and diversity."
Addressing Colby's commitment to excellence, Adams said that resources sought in this campaign will allow the College to sustain and expand its tradition of curricular innovation. While the faculty-student bond remains a hallmark of the Colby experience, Adams said, "Teaching and learning have changed, and the requirements for facilities have changed." Student research offices and small-group work spaces are needed to foster Colby's broad use of project-based learning and research across the disciplines.
A major goal of the campaign is increasing Colby's endowment by $115 million (visit Endowment for details). Adams said that changes in the world and changes in American higher education require that colleges like Colby "are continually raising funds for endowment and facilities." Despite substantial gains in the size of its endowment over the last decade, Colby was recently solicited to submit a grant proposal as an "under-endowed" institution because its endowment still lags behind many of its peers.
Many alumni and alumnae will be involved in the campaign by way of their Alumni Fund gifts, which count toward the campaign total. Nancy Weiland '65, a trustee and vice-chair of the campaign, said that meeting higher Annual Fund goals is critical to the overall success of the campaign. Individual Annual Fund gifts are important to Colby's reputation, she said, because "they are used as an index of how attached and loyal alumni are to the College." For that reason it is important for this campaign to re-engage non-givers and people who have contributed only sporadically. "Colby needs them," she said.
Michael Sinkus, president and CEO of the firm Marts & Lundy, an advisor to the campaign, said Colby's initiative stands out among hundreds of campaigns underway at various colleges and universities because of how strongly rooted it is in the College's strategic plan. "At Colby it's not just, 'give us money—we know what to do with it,'" Sinkus said. He characterized Colby's upcoming campaign as an extension of the highly detailed plan for growth in programs, facilities, and the endowment adopted by the Board of Trustees in 2002.
Richard Ammons, vice president for college relations and Colby's chief development officer, stressed the need to communicate the College's mission and priorities to prospective donors, who are under pressure to support a widening range of philanthropic causes. As alumni and other friends of the College decide among competing requests for their support, Ammons imagines the key questions will be: "What will it do for students?" "what will those students do for the world when they graduate?" and "what is the best way to ensure my money is going to make the world better?" While benefactors can address problems around AIDS or homelessness by supporting clinics and shelters, he said, support for Colby is a more elemental approach—one that gets to the root of those and many other social problems by developing scientists and economists and leaders who can have a fundamental and broad impact on a wide range of social challenges.
Evidence of the Reaching the World campaign's early success is apparent already. See Early Fruits of the Campaign.