Vote of Confidence



Three decades after the last vote was cast, a group of campaign hands stood up to be counted.

The campaign, the 1980 Democratic primary race for the 1st District Congressional seat in Maine, pitted Professor Sandy Maisel (government) against a roster of better-known Democrats. Maisel lost, but some of his campaign staff, including a corps of members of the Colby Class of 1978, still feel like winners from the experience.

“It was a really exciting way to spend senior year at Colby,” said Susan Kenyon ’78 P’12, a retired attorney. “From it we found what have become thirty-year friendships.”

Last winter five alumni who had volunteered for Maisel’s campaign decided to do something to recognize what Maisel had done for them and other Colby students. Dan Hoefle ’78 and Doug Kaplan ’78 first kicked the idea around during a ride to Sugarloaf.

“I said, ‘It’s fine to have all these tributes after someone has died,’” said Hoefle, a New Hampshire attorney. “‘But what about when he’s alive?’”

Kaplan said members of the group had turned 50 and decided their gesture shouldn’t wait. “It was something we wanted to do together,” he said.
After further discussion, five former Maisel campaign volunteers—Hoefle, Kaplan, Kenyon (with her husband, Rick Abrams ’78), Alan Donnenfeld ’78, and Jeff Shribman ’78—decided to establish a fund in Maisel’s name. Their $100,000 donation was to be matched by trustee William Goldfarb ’68 (efforts are underway by the group to increase the endowment) and revealed to Maisel, with the funds to be applied to a Goldfarb Center program at his discretion.

Maisel directed the money to establish the Sandy Maisel Goldfarb Center Student Research and Internship Fund. It will give students with financial need the chance to do internships related to the mission of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, which Maisel currently directs.

The fund was unveiled to Maisel, with whom the ex-campaigners have remained close, at a dinner during Family Homecoming Weekend in 2008. Their voluble former professor was surprised and visibly moved, they said. “He was totally speechless,” Kenyon said, “which is a rare occurrence.”

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Philanthropy for Colby comes in many shapes and sizes. For some it is distinguished by a monetary donation; for others it is the gift of time. But for all of those who give, the inspiration comes from the satisfaction and joy of enhancing the lives of students and faculty and making initiatives possible.

This is the final year of Reaching the World: A Campaign for Colby. The time is right to begin sharing with you a variety of personal stories that demonstrate the many ways in which the campaign is already changing Colby students, faculty, alumni, and the world.

In the coming months we will present a series of vignettes via e-mail and online that will highlight ways the campaign is making an education available to deserving students who otherwise could not afford it, funding world-class faculty and facilities to sustain a rich and vibrant environment for learning, and creating opportunities for Colby students to give back in their own ways around the world.

We hope that you will enjoy these uplifting stories of inspiration, initiative, and impact as everyone involved in the Reaching the World Campaign works together to achieve its crucial goal.

As Henry David Thoreau said, “Philanthropy is almost the only virtue which is sufficiently appreciated by mankind.”
—Richard Ammons, vice president for college relations

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