RECENT GROWTH AT COLBY


The prosperity of a college is, rightly or wrongly, judged largely by the size of its student body. This is due doubtless to the tendency of the times towards huge aggregations of capital, vast industrial establishments and the like. Many people look upon the college as a sort of business enterprise where dividends depend upon the annual output in graduates. Still, it must be admitted that so far as the growth of a college is normal and healthy it may be taken as an index of the prosperity of the institution. The almost startling growth of Colby within the last five years is too well known to need amplification for its own sake; but there are certain aspects in which it can be studied to advantage.

A Healthy Growth
President Roberts was elected to his present office at the close of the college year of 1902-1908. The registration for that year was 239, of whom 111 were men and 128 were women. The freshman class numbered 37 men and 49 women. These figures are not materially different from those of the preceding three years.
The following year marked the beginning of the present growth. In a total registration of 283 the men numbered 150, and the women 133. Of the freshman class 72 were men and 61 were women.
In 1909-1910 the growth showed a healthy increase, but the proportions were slightly different. Out of 298 students 171 were men and 127 women. In other words the number of men had increased by 60, while the number of women had decreased by 1. Right here it may be remarked that the development of the Women's Division is limited by the accommodations, hence the small growth of that department. Of the freshman class in 1909-1910, 83 were men and 37 women.
The third year of the present administration saw the tide still rising. The catalogue for 1910-1911 gives a total registration of 358, of whom 215 were men and 143 women. There were 95 men in the freshman class and 51 women. The number of men in 1910-1911 nearly equalled the total registration for 1907-1908, while the number of women shows an increase of 15.
The present college year sees Colby pass into the 400-student class, with a total registration 406: 260 men and 146 women. Thus within four years the student body has grown from 239 to 406, an increase of 167, or almost exactly 70 per cent.

Other Aspects of the Growth
The large increase in the number of students is naturally the most striking feature of Colby's development, but it is hardly the most significant. There are other advances to be considered. In 1907-1908 the faculty consisted of seventeen persons. For the present year it numbers twenty-five. That means almost 50 percent. of increase. This growth may be, perhaps, looked upon as a mere corollary to the student increase; but it is more than that. It marks a broadening of the curriculum, as a comparison of catalogues for the two years will show. It reflects a fixed purpose to strengthen the teaching staff so that the courses offered shall be more modern, more efficient, more worthy of the institution. The same purpose is manifest in the increased equipment of the scientific laboratories, on which large sums have been expended, so that at the present time the resources are ample for the work offered. In short, the material condition of the college plant was never so good as at the present time. These improvements have been made quietly, with no blare of advertising trumpets as is so often the case with certain institutions. They are none the less important, however.

Meaning of the Advance
While several reasons for the increase in the number of students might suggest themselves, they may well be summed up in a single statement: Trustees, faculty, students and Alumni are working together in a harmonious effort to broaden and deepen the work of the college. After years of apathy, Colby has at last waked to a realization of its opportunities and possibilities, and has resolved to take its proper place among the colleges of New England. The work has just begun. The steps already taken serve to reveal the needs for the immediate future. The present opportunity is a call upon the enthusiasm and devotion of Colby men everywhere. It is for them to make possible the realization of the ideal Colby.



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