The 12th-oldest independent liberal arts college in the nation and one of the most selective, Colby offers an academic program rooted in the deep exploration of ideas, enriched by partnerships with world-class faculty scholars, and deliberately and thoughtfully connected to the world.
Founded in 1813, Colby has a deep and defining history of inclusiveness. In 1833 students formed the nation’s first college-based anti-slavery society. Colby alumnus Elijah Parish Lovejoy, Class of 1826, became known as the nation’s first martyr to freedom of the press when he was killed, in 1837, for publishing abolitionist editorials. In the fall of 1871, Colby was the first all-male college in New England to accept women students and several buildings on campus are named for early female graduates.
The academic experience is built around students and professors working in tandem, pushing intellectual boundaries, testing hypotheses, and creating new approaches and solutions to complex scenarios. Research opportunities across the curriculum provide an ideal setting for student-faculty mentorships and often result in coauthoring peer-reviewed articles or presenting research together at conferences.
The Colby campus and its location in Waterville, Maine, support intense interaction among students and professors and provide unparalleled research opportunities. Undergraduates enjoy easy access to world-class research institutions through partnerships with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, The Jackson Laboratory, and Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. Ongoing study of the Belgrade Lakes provides students additional research experiences within minutes of campus.
At Colby a diversity of cultures and perspectives enriches the educational experience in and out of classrooms, and academic and residential life provide opportunities to share views and experiences across cultures. Colby is an inclusive community characterized by mutual respect and open communication, and it is actively committed to attracting and retaining faculty, staff, and students with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
Exceptional facilities, including state-of-the-art academic buildings and labs and the finest college art museum in the country, enrich the academic program. The Colby museum is an integral resource for the College, with more than 100 courses across the curriculum using it as a place for teaching and learning in 2017-18.
Colby connections extend beyond Mayflower Hill to all parts of the world. About two-thirds of students study abroad, choosing from 200 programs in more than 60 countries. A robust, global community of alumni and parents—plus partnerships with companies, nonprofits, and international institutions—offer students opportunities for internships, civic engagement, and research. A new residential complex in downtown Waterville further supports local civic engagement partnerships and opportunities.
New programs and initiatives foster networking and bolster students’ experiential opportunities. Colby’s innovative DavisConnects program supports internships, research, and global experiences, transforming the liberal arts model with experiential learning that informs students’ intellectual pursuits and encourages connections that put students at a distinct advantage as they enter the workforce and throughout their lives.
The College remains committed to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated need and to its policy of replacing loans in financial aid awards with grants. Each year Colby awards more than $30 million in grant funding.
Academic calendars, maintained online, list official schedules for Colby’s academic terms.